If you can see white marks on surfaces or materials in your home, then you might not be able to tell if the marks are signs of efflorescence or white mold. It's important to work out why the marks are there so that you can clean them up if necessary.
What are efflorescence and white mold? How can you tell the difference?
What Is Efflorescence?
Efflorescence is a type of salt deposit. It appears on the surface of some materials under certain environmental conditions.
For example, you might see white efflorescence marks on walls that have had some water or moisture enter. The water or moisture pushes salts through to the surface of the material. This efflorescence has a white and chalky appearance.
What Is White Mold?
Like any mold fungus, a white mold takes hold and thrives in wet, damp, or humid conditions. Once it takes hold of a surface, it reproduces by sending out spores to help it spread.
There isn't just one variety of white mold. Some molds are always white; others change color during their life cycle and might have a white phase.
How Can You Tell If You Have Efflorescence Or White Mold?
While efflorescence and white mold can look similar, they do have some differences. These differences will help you identify your white marks.
For example, efflorescence salts are crystalline. They will feel rough and grainy to the touch. They should break down easily when you put pressure on them. If you wet them, then they will dissolve.
On the other hand, white mold is smoother and slimier when you touch it. It can sometimes feel fuzzy or even hairy. It doesn't break down when you touch it and it is unaffected by water.
Typically, you only find efflorescence on non-organic surfaces such as bricks or concrete. This substance doesn't appear on organic materials like wood. However, white mold can grow on a wider range of additional surfaces including wood, carpets, fabrics, and even plants. Mold also grows and spreads; efflorescence doesn't grow.
If you now believe that you have white mold, or if you still aren't sure yet, then you need professional help. Contact a mold testing service company and ask them to take a look at your problem. They can test your mold to find out its exact variety. They can then give you advice on how to clean up the mold and prevent it from returning.