How Long Can Mold Spores Live?

If you’ve read about mold growth and the problems posed by its presence, then you should know about mold spores.

Spores are considered the seeds of these fungi and are microscopic. Due to their size, they’re released into the air and will readily grow on suitable surfaces where there’s moisture presence.

Do Mold Spores Die?

As mold spores get blown around or sit on surfaces, no growth occurs until when suitable conditions (moisture) are met. So, what happens when such suitable conditions are absent? Do spores die out?

This is where our discussion will be centered on. Here, we’ll seek to find out the lifespan of mold spores.

Viable and Non-Viable Mold Spores

When it comes to the duration or lifespan of mold spores, several aspects are looked at.

A mold spore that’s alive is considered viable, while one that’s dead is described as being non-viable. Now, these mold “seeds” being released are known to remain or stay viable for very long periods of time.

As a matter of fact, certain mold removal treatments such as the use of bleach and other products do not kill these spores. In other words, the spores are indestructible to certain removal techniques.

The durability of these microscopic seeds means they can live for extended periods of time.

Mold Life Cycle

To understand how long mold spores live, we’ll need to take a brief look at the lifecycle.

There are four basic stages involved namely; hyphae growth, spore production, spore dispersal, and spore growth or germination.

  • Hyphae Growth

Hyphae basically consist of multiple cellular strands that release digestive enzymes on organic materials or substrates they grow on.

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These digestive enzymes help with decomposition. The process of feeding on organic material leads to the formation of large colonies known as mycelium.

  • Spore Production

With the colony or mycelium fully developed, spores begin to form at the ends of hyphae cells. Here, the rate of spore formation is dependent on favorable growth conditions which include moisture and a good substrate.

  • Spore Dispersal

This is how mold spores end up in pretty much every location you can imagine.

Here, they’re released to further colonize other areas and will easily move in air as well as on water. When ideal conditions for growth aren’t met, mold spores won’t germinate and will remain dormant.

  • Spore Growth

Spore growth only begins to happen when the conditions are right.

Of course, such conditions include humid or moist surroundings. Not a lot of water is needed for mold spores to germinate. Humid or moist conditions alone are sufficient to result in robust mold growth and spread.

How Long Can Mold Spores Remain Alive?

As stated earlier, mold spores are better referred to as being either viable or non-viable. So what’s the difference?

When mold spores are termed viable, it means they’ll easily grow in the presence of moisture. They’re basically in the form of seeds that germinate in the presence of a suitable substrate and water.

On the other hand, non-viable seeds or spores result from dried mold. These fall off and remain dormant. However, the characteristic allergies they’re known to cause won’t cease.

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In other words, you’re likely to experience these allergies when exposed to either viable or non-viable spores.

In terms of the lifespan of mold spores, these can live for several years. Arid or unfavorable conditions will only make these mold spores dormant.

The dormancy period can last for extended periods of time until growth conditions get better.

The Ubiquitous Nature of Mold Spores

When it comes to mold spore presence, their lifespan should be the least of your worries. These are pretty much everywhere and will sprout when conditions like moisture and a suitable substrate are present.

Mold spores also float around the air as well as on water and millions of these are released every time.

Addressing Mold Issues the Proper Way

When dealing with mold problems, part of the treatment approaches includes scraping off these fungi from affected surfaces. Surfaces like tiles, glass, and plastics among others can be effectively cleaned.

For wood surfaces, cleaning presents a greater challenge due to the presence of tiny spores.

When cleaning mold, the spores fall into wood pores and remain there. These can stay there for as long as possible until water touches the wood surface which then results in growth or sprouting.

A more comprehensive way to resolve the problem will be to file the top surface of the wood.

Such filing helps clear out the mold spores hiding in wooden pores. Further treatment will require waterproofing the wood surface by spraying or painting it over.

Having treated affected areas, what remains is the need to address the moisture problem.

  • Mold Spores will Always be Around so Fix your Moisture Issues

As earlier stated, moisture is the primary cause of mold growth.

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Mold spores will be around for as long as possible. Your focus should be to prevent further moisture presence to keep other spores from germinating. You only need to look at your current moisture situation.

If this seems like a lot of work, consider calling for professional help.

A mold remediation technician may recommend installing a sump pump, buying a dehumidifier, and moisture-proofing your home among other possible measures.

Ways to Keep Mold Spores from Growing

With the long lifespan of mold spores confirmed, your best bet is to find ways to keep them from growing.

Of course, this will require preventive actions like the installation of exhaust fans in high humidity areas like kitchens and bathrooms, as well as opening up your space for increased ventilation.

Opening up will require the simple act of keeping your windows wide open during the day and shutting them when it rains. Get a sump pump installed in your basement and also invest in a dehumidifier. How is your dryer ductwork channeled?

Proper channeling of such ductwork helps with proper outdoor venting of moisture.

You may also want to get air purification systems installed on your property. These help to trap mold spores in the air. HEPA filters should be installed to help with air filtration.

Mold spores are known to be quite durable in the sense that they can stay several years in dormancy and still sprout when moisture is found.

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