Mold is every homeowner or landlord’s worst nightmare. Once it sets in, mold can spread quickly and ruin walls and structures if you fail to deal with it immediately. On top of that, it can cause and exacerbate respiratory illnesses and make your house smell musty.

If you want to save yourself lots of expensive renovation work getting rid of it in your house, it is vital to spot the signs of it early, so that restoration companies like can get to work right away. This handy guide will help to explain what mold is and how to spot it.

What Is It?

Mold is a type of fungus that grows out of spores in the air. Unlike plants, it doesn’t get its energy from the sun (sunlight, in fact, limits its growth), which is why mold often thrives in cold, dark places like the basement or at the back of cupboards. Mold will eat any decaying material, which is why you’ll see it on spoiled food.

Why Does It Grow in Houses?

One key to its growth is moisture; it feeds on a combination of oxygen, moisture, and organic materials. Additionally, mold will grow any place that spores can land and find a comfortable temperature, which inevitably means that houses can be a breeding ground for mold. It can grow in any damp place in your home.

All the conditions that enable mold to grow in a house, apart from moisture, are always present—oxygen, warmth, food sources like drywall and wood—which is why keeping an eye out for moisture and mold is so crucial.

Signs You Might Have Mold


Given how mold relies on moisture to grow, its growth will likely be notable first by a damp or musty smell. While there are many different scents that it can produce, you should investigate any new and unusual smells in the house. Even if you cannot see any, the presence of a damp odor should be suspicion enough.

Visible Spores

Saying that ‘being able to see mold’ is a sign of mold may seem a bit obvious, but it can be quite easy to miss. People will often mistake it for dirt or overlook the small amount of mold growing in the corner.

Luckily, there’s a test you can carry out to determine if what you see is mold. You dip a swab into bleach, which you should dilute at a ratio of about 16 parts water and 1 part bleach. Then, dab the swab on the suspected area. If the spot lightens after dabbing, then more than likely, it is mold.

You can visually identify visible forms, known as mildew. They start as tiny black spots that will eventually grow into a much larger group. This form is often prevalent in showers and on damp walls.


Condensation happens when warm air rises and then can no longer hold water vapor—the gaseous form of water. This condensation forms on surfaces as small droplets of water.

High or higher levels than usual of condensation can indicate you have too much moisture, and thus, likely a mold problem. It could be growing on or around the surfaces where there is a build-up of condensation.

Also, if you don’t already have a problem, high levels of condensation could lead to one. Either the consistent presence of moisture in certain areas causes mold to build up, or the condensation means your home is very humid—the perfect climate for it to grow.


It pays to check your home periodically, being alert to odor, possible spores, and areas of excessive condensation. By identifying and tackling the problem early, you can save yourself stress and money, while protecting your health in the long run.