What Does Black Mold Look Like | How to Identify It & How to Get Rid of It

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What does black mold look like? Many people want to know what toxic black mold looks like because they think it will be harmful to their health. Identifying black colored mold in your home does not mean that it will be harmful. There are many types of black colored mold that can be found in your home. In this article we will teach you how to identify toxic black mold from the other types. 

5 Easy Tips to Check for Mold

  1. Check in potential water leak areas (bathroom, shower, and under the sink)
  2. Check for mold in the basement
  3. Test for Mold – We suggest trying the Easy to use DIY Mold Test Kit
  4. Shine a flashlight in dark and damp spaces 
  5. Use your sense of smell (musty odors)

What Does Black Mold Look Like?

Black mold looks like a damp, slimy, soft, charcoal-like substance that is often found in basements, attics, cabinets, or small damp areas of the home. 

Instead of trying to explain what black mold looks like, we have included several pictures below to show you. If the mold in your home looks like this, then it is probably black mold.

Black Mold image on the corner of room wall
black mold under window
black mold on the windowsill, mold in the corner of the window
black mold on a white wall

If you see mold that looks like this in your home we suggest contacting a mold inspector. 

As you can see, the mold is often ‘black’ as described in the name, but can also look dark brown, dark green, or dark gray. The mold is usually shaped in smaller spore groupings as shown on the bottom right image. Also, toxic black mold often looks fuzzy or soft and is normally condensed into one isolated area. There may be several different isolated areas if the mold spores have had time to travel and are in warm or damp conditions.

How do you know if it's black mold?

Here are the 3 best ways to tell if black mold is growing in your home: 

  1. Use a flashlight to spot the source of mold
  2. Use your sense of smell
  3. Take notice of symptoms such as coughing, asthma, or skin reactions

Many times black mold will not be easy to find. In most cases the mold will be found the the corner of a room, in-between the walls, in a damp basement, in cabinets, or under a sink. If you do not have adequate light, then use a flashlight to find the mold.

All types of mold give of a damp and musty smell, but black mold is especially pungent. If you smell an odor that is very strong.

Is all mold that is black dangerous?

Mold InspectionThe answer is no. Just because mold is black or dark colored does not mean that it is dangerous. Some types of mold can appear to be toxic black mold, but may not actually be toxic. For example, some types of mold like Nigrospora have a black color but are not dangerous. Another type of mold that is black or dark colored but not dangerous is called Cladosporium. Both of these types of mold are often found in homes, but have no negative effects on people’s health. 

How dangerous is black mold in your house?

Although there are many types of mold found in your home that will not cause negative health effects, true toxic black mold can be dangerous. True black mold releases mycotoxins into the air in your home. These mycotoxins are attached to mold spores and will spread throughout the home. As the mold spores float through the air, they can be inhaled by people in the house. The threat of danger posed from black mold depends on the length of exposure. 

Can Black Mold Kill You?

Black mold can cause death in extreme cases. Extensive exposure to toxic mold can cause death in the following symptoms:

  • Rash
  • Coughing and Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Bleeding in the lungs and Nose
  • Loss of Mental Ability
  • Heart Damage and Blood Clotting
  • Internal and External Hemorrhaging

As you can see, toxic black mold can cause serious issues. The respiratory system is arguably the most vulnerable to black mold as toxins are inhaled through the lungs. These toxins subsequently enter the bloodstream and effect other areas of the body. 

It is important to be aware of black mold in your home. If you see or experience any signs of black mold, you should contact a mold inspector immediately. A mold inspector will be able to examine the mold to determine if it is actually toxic and your family is in danger. 

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