Can Mold Survive Extreme Temperatures?
Different mold types can survive in extremely cold and hot conditions. In general, hot temperatures are better suited to killing mold, but you’ll end up frying your whole house down with the extreme heat. It’s not realistic or necessary. The most effective prevention strategy for mold is to keep an eye out for moisture levels and do what you can to keep them down.
Moisture and damp conditions provide the ideal temperature for mold to spread.
Understanding How Mold Grows
Mold grows by producing small spores. These spores are often very small compared to pollen grains and seeds. This allows them to easily circulate the world with the action of wind and water. They can also ‘hitch’ a ride on clothes or furs. So humans and pets are ideal methods of circulation for mold.
It’s worth mentioning that mold spores are more resilient than normal mold growth. Mold spores only start growing once they find a suitable combination of moisture, food, temperature, and oxygen.
Unlike plants that use photosynthesis to extract energy, molds rely on organic matter to harness energy. As such, mold latches onto substances that it can easily absorb and digest using digestive enzymes. This process provides a source of ‘food’ for mold.
Using Heat Treatment to Kill Mold
As mentioned earlier, mold cannot grow in extreme temperatures, but it can definitely survive them. Anything below 40°F will arrest mold growth in your area, but they will live to see another day. In fact, mold can grow best in temperatures between 75° F and 85° F.
Here are a few ways you can use heat for mold removal in the Tri-Cities area:
A simple dryer can help you kill mold on a smaller scale. This strategy works best if the mold growth has a smaller presence in your house, such as growth on toys, clothes, and similar things. You can place these items in the dryer to get rid of the mold.
Set the dryer at its highest setting (only if your clothing can tolerate them), and let your clothes dry for a good 20 to 25 minutes. Next, apply disinfecting detergent to the item to get rid of any dead mold leftovers.
Use the Oven
You can use the oven to apply extremely high temperatures to kill even the toughest of mold spores. This technique works best on surfaces like wood, metal, and glass.
Start the oven at low temperatures and place your affected items on a baking tray. Let the heat do its trick for about 20 minutes, and you should have a mold-free item in no time.
Large Scale Heaters
Getting rid of mold once it has spread to the walls, floors, and roofs is easier said than done. For one, you can’t toss the entire floor into an oven. However, your HVAC system or a portable heater can be useful.
You can increase the overall temperature in your house with an HVAC unit to reduce the chances of mold growth. However, a much better option is to use a portable heater to try and kill the mold. A hairdryer also works (but it’s not going to be very effective against larger surfaces).
Place the heater at its highest setting and face the object or mold affected by the heat.
Applying Extreme Cold to Mold
Cold weather on its own will not kill mold. Instead, the mold spores will become dormant until the temperature rises so they can multiply and grow.
This is why applying cold on its own won’t solve your mold problems. The key to removing mold from your home is to prevent the buildup of moisture levels and control humidity.
However, if you insist on using extreme colds to remove mold from objects, there is a way.
- Wrap the moldy object in a plastic bag (to isolate the mold from the freezer).
- Make sure the freezer’s temperature is below zero degrees.
- Insert the plastic bag in the freezer and allow it to sit there for a few days.
- Take out the plastic bag from the freezer. Disinfect the contents with a detergent. You can also use white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the mold. Scrub the mold and let the contents dry.
It’s not possible or advisable to bring the entire home’s temperature below zero degrees – for obvious reasons. While you’re killing off mold spores, but you’re also affecting your own health and safety in the process. Not to mention the fact that achieving sub-zero temperatures with HVAC units is cost-prohibitive.
Preventing Mold Growth
Finally, it’s better to try to prevent the growth of mold. There are a few simple things you can do:
- Allow air to circulate and get rid of mold inside the house
- Get a dehumidifier and place them in moist areas of the room such as the basement to extract from the air and keep the ambient moisture low
- Add mold-preventing additive to your wall’s paint to prevent them from becoming safe havens for mold
It’s important to get rid of mold as soon as you’ve found it growing in your home. Mold can grow rapidly when the conditions are right – whether it’s extremely hot or extremely cold – you need a good prevention strategy to address mold. Get in touch with 911 Restoration of the Tri-Cities for mold remediation services.