There are four critical requirements for mold growtcritical requirements for mold growth:
- available mold spores
- available mold food
- appropriate temperatures
- considerable moisture.
Ranging in size from 3 to 40 microns (human hair is 100-150 microns), mold spores are ubiquitous – they are literally everywhere. There is no reasonable, reliable and cost-effective means of eliminating them from environments that humans inhabit. So, trying to control mold growth through the elimination of mold spores is not feasible.
If all three other requirements are met, almost any substance that contains carbon atoms (organic substance) will provide sufficient nutrients to support mold growth. Even the oil from your skin that is left when you touch an otherwise unsuitable surface, like stainless steel, or the soap residue left from a good cleaning will provide sufficient nutrients to support the growth of some molds. And many of the most common materials found in homes like wood, paper and organic fibers are among the most preferred of mold nutrients. Thus, eliminating mold food from your environment is a virtually impossible task.
Unfortunately, most molds grow very well at the same temperatures that humans prefer. In addition, anyone who has cleaned out their refrigerator quickly realizes that temperatures close to freezing are not cold enough to prevent mold growth and temperatures that are much warmer than humans prefer, like those of the tropics, will grow abundant quantities of mold. Therefore, it is not feasible to control mold growth in our home environment through the control of temperature.
Most molds requires the presence of considerable moisture for growth. Obviously, the word “considerable” is key here. The mycologists (fungi scientists) refer to “water activity” when describing the required conditions for mold growth.