Molds are fungi that grow indoors or outdoors. They grow in warm and damp conditions, such as in compost piles or wooded areas outside or in basements or showers inside. Molds reproduce by making spores, kind of like seeds, that do not begin to grow until conditions are warm and moist. The spores can exist in all conditions though.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend routine sampling for molds. The danger of mold has to do more with the person than the type of mold. Some people sensitive to molds will have wheezing, stuffy noses, or eye and skin irritation when mold is in the house. People, who are more sensitive, such as those with serious allergies or chronic lung conditions, can have severe reactions. If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold it is, remove it.

How to Prevent Mold

Mold and its spores can be cleaned off of hard surfaces with soap and water or a weak bleach solution (1 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water). After cleaning where mold has been, or to stop it from becoming a problem in your home follow these important guidelines:
  • Keep humidity levels between 40-60% by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier during humid months.
  • Put exhaust fans in showers and cooking areas.
  • Make sure all leaks are fixed and seal any cracks in wet basements.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
  • Do not carpet bathrooms or basements.

Additional Information

The Center for Disease Control’s mold website provides information on mold and health, an inventory of state indoor air quality programs, advice on assessment, cleanup efforts, and prevention of mold growth, and links to resources. Click here for more information.

This guide from the EPA provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth. For more information, click here. 

For more information, visit the North Carolina Health and Human Services website.