Torula mold is a yeast that has practical uses but can also be pathogenic. One the one hand, this common mold, in its inactive form, can be a flavor enhancer, a starter culture in the production of certain cheeses, and, when dissolved in water, can organically control olive flies in California and Europe.
But, as mentioned, it is also a harmful mold that grows on an array of surfaces. Torula can be found on wood, paper, and straw baskets, as well as on ceiling tiles and drywall. Outside, you might see torula mold growing on grass, dead stems, and in soil.
What Does Torula Mold Look Like?
Often you may see it shaped in an arrowhead fashion. It’s generally gray, though as it ages this mold transforms into white and brown. Its dry spores can easily get swept up into the wind, enhancing the mold’s allergenic properties.
Can Torula Mold Cause Health Problems?
People who are prone to allergies may be most adversely affected by torula mold. In general, this mold is no different than many other types of mold that can cause itchy eyes, a runny nose, wheezing, coughing, or asthma.
Torula mold can also cause a serious infection that advances slowly and affects the sinuses and possibly a person’s face. This occurs when nasal passages are blocked with a thick, dark mucus that is centered in the sinuses. The infection can be cleared up with antifungal medication and surgery if necessary. Luckily, this health issue is rare.
What If I Find Torula Mold In My Home?
If you find small amounts of torula mold on nonporous surfaces, you can get rid of it with a HEPA-filtered vacuum followed by wiping up the surface with a rag or cloth that has been dampened with a household cleaner. Unfortunately, this mold may be harder to wipe away on trickier surfaces such as a wicker or jute. If you see it on these types of items, you may need to throw them away.
Follow the same steps above if you see torula mold on wood. However, if the mold has penetrated deeper into the surface of wood flooring, as one example, you may need to have it replaced.
Interestingly, this type of mold can grow on paper and book pages. If you see it located on these surfaces, dry the pages by laying them out in the sun, which will kill the mold. Once they’re dry, use a HEPA-filtered vacuum to collect the mold dust on the paper. Try to do this work outside so that spores don’t get spread indoors. If you have truly valuable books, you may want to consider contacting a professional conservator.
Mold on ceiling tiles is a trickier business and may require the services of a remediation expert. Unfortunately, since this surface is absorbent, they will need to be removed and replaced if they become moldy. You’ll know they’re laden with mold if you see stained water damage with a black center. If you do decide to replace ceiling tiles yourself, be sure to stay protected by wearing gloves, goggles, and a mask or respirator.
How Can I Prevent and Remove Mold Indoors?
You may want to tackle the mold issue at first by requesting a free home inspection from a mold specialist. This person can tell you if you have a mold problem in your home and what you can do about if it turns out you do. This expert will give you tips on how to remove mold and won’t charge you for the advice.
Staying on top of potential mold issues, and making sure mold doesn’t recur, means repairing any household leaks at once; properly venting bathrooms and the kitchen; and keeping indoor humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. Remember, it’s all about moisture in the home when it comes to mold. Therefore, it might not hurt to invest in a dehumidifier and an air filter, and you’ll want to run the air conditioner during super-humid months.