How Does Mold Spread?

Black mold on walls and dehumidifier in room

Originally Published: July 20, 2022

Updated: June 6, 2023

The thought of mold in your home or business may be very disturbing. After all, mold spores can affect the overall health and safety of occupants. Once it is established, mold can be difficult and dangerous to remove.

But how does mold spread exactly? While there are many theories about how mold spreads, it needs three things to survive and grow: warmth, moisture, and a food source. If these elements are present, mold spreads and grows in the same way other fungi do, through airborne spores. 

Once mold is established, it continually releases more spores into the air in an attempt to colonize other areas of the structure. This method of spreading via the air is what makes mold especially dangerous to both humans and pets.

Mold spores easily travel on air currents and through air ducts, which increases the chance of interaction with occupants. When these airborne spores land on a surface in the right conditions, they begin to grow. Mold spores are constantly being released from the main colony to populate other areas, spreading quickly under the right conditions. For the health and safety of any occupants, it’s important to know what to look for when dealing with a mold situation. If an outbreak occurs, it’s important to look for circular-shaped spots that are black, dark green, or dark brown in color. Depending on the shape and color, some forms of mold are potentially more dangerous than others. Continue reading to learn more about how mold spreads and the best way to deal with it safely:


How Quickly Does Mold Spread?

Under the right conditions, mold can grow and reproduce quickly — in just 48–72 hours, it can cover a good size area. As these mold spores settle and multiply rapidly, they colonize and continue to reproduce. 

Here are the five factors that cause mold to grow:

  • Organic food sources
  • Time (at least 48–72 hours)
  • Lack of air movement
  • Temperature (68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit) 
  • Moisture

Keep in mind that when mold reproduces, new spores are released into the air, which  means they can travel to other areas of your home or business.

How to Prevent Mold from Spreading

Regular inspection will help identify water leaks, damage, and visible mold growth, particularly after a water damage event. A home or commercial property inspection will help you proactively correct any mold-friendly environments before they become a more serious problem.

The following water damage events create the ideal environment for mold to develop and spread:

  • Sewage backup
  • Plumbing or roof leaks
  • Sump pump failure
  • Overflows from sinks or bathtubs
  • Leaks from a water heater, dishwasher, or refrigerator
  • High humidity
  • Flooding

Related Topic: Think You Have Mold? Take These Steps Immediately

How to Get Rid of Mold Spores

Once mold is established, new mold spores are constantly released and travel through the air to colonize new areas. If they land in an area where conditions are ideal, they’ll develop a new colony and release more spores. Air filters and purifiers can help remove spores from the air and prevent the spread, but the best way to get rid of mold spores is to prevent them from developing in the first place.

You can prevent mold growth at your property by doing the following:

  • Maintaining optimal indoor humidity levels (between 30% and 50%) using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
  • Quickly fixing leaky roofs, windows, walls, or pipes.
  • Using professional water damage remediation and mold removal services, if needed.
  • Ensuring proper ventilation in the shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
  • Keeping air filters clean and considering installing an air purifier.
  • Having HVAC ductwork professionally cleaned and maintained.
  • Monitor potential problem spots like bathrooms, the laundry room, mechanical room, attic, and basement.
  • Replacing washing machine hoses with steel braided hoses.
  • Schedule yearly inspections of the roof, windows, walls, and pipes.

Stop the Spread of Mold Spores with Professional Remediation

If you discover mold or water damage, don’t delay. Immediately contact a professional remediation company like your local Rainbow Restoration®. Any wet, damp, or damaged materials can leave your home vulnerable to mold growth and create an unsafe environment for occupants.

If you believe your home or business has mold, contact Rainbow Restoration today! We offer both residential mold removal & remediation and commercial mold removal & remediation services that will safely eliminate mold from your property to create a healthier environment. Get started by requesting an appointment online, or give us a call at (855) 724-6269.