How To Find And Identify Black Mold In Your Camper
As RV owners, we must always be on alert for budding problems inside the vehicle. Water damage and moisture buildup are serious issues that can lead to structural damage and mold growth. One of the nastiest types of mold is black mold (also known as Stachybotrys chartarum). If you want to fight it, you’ll have to know how to identify black mold in your RV.
Any type of mold, fungus, or bacteria growth is bad when it has invaded your living space. Black mold is particularly hard to get rid of, and it’s harmful to your health. There are ways to identify, treat, and prevent it, but you should always be on the lookout for problems that develop within your RV.
Black mold can take root in the walls, fabric, and wooden elements of your RV, so keep an eye on all of these areas. Anywhere moisture builds up is also at risk. Let’s talk about some ways to identify black mold as well as ways to get rid of it.
How to identify black mold
First of all, it’s important to know how to identify black mold when you see it. In most cases, this growth will be pretty obvious if you can visually spot it. True to its name, the mold is a blackish color or sometimes it’s very dark green.
By the time the mold becomes visible, the problem has taken root. There are some early warning signs you can watch out for that will alert you to the presence of mold before you see it. First of all, take note of the humidity level in your RV. If it often feels damp or humid, you’re at risk for developing mold problems.
In many cases, you can smell black mold before you see it. It leaves a musty, earthy odor behind, especially after rainfall or buildups of humidity. You should be able to identify this as it appears. Follow your nose to see if you can pinpoint areas where the smell is strongest.
Discoloration is another tell-tale sign that will help you know how to identify black mold. As the mold spreads, you may notice stains on the walls as well as black spots. Bulges, bumps, and peeling paint are additional signs of mold or water damage (source). This discoloration can occur on hard and soft surfaces alike, so keep an eye on your padded furniture as well.
Finally, you may start to notice problems based on your body’s reaction. It’s not healthy to be around black mold, and if you travel in an RV, you’ll be in close proximity to it. If you or other passengers start to develop mysterious symptoms like coughing, wheezing, rashes, itchy skin, irritated eyes, or other allergic reactions, you may have a black mold infestation on your hands.
You must be vigilant to catch this problem before it becomes severe! Black mold can grow at a rate of 1 square inch per day, so it can infest large parts of the RV before you see it (source).
Why is black mold dangerous?
We all know that mold is gross and unsightly, but there’s more to it than that. It can actually be dangerous to your health if you’re exposed to black mold for long periods of time.
Healthline.com states that some of the symptoms of black mold exposure include:
- Stuffy nose
- Irritated eyes
- Rash on skin
- Sore throat
- Asthma attacks
- Fungal lung infections
Children and seniors are particularly vulnerable to these problems, although anyone can experience them if the mold is present. Black mold also produces airborne mycotoxins, which are dangerous if eaten (source). They can contaminate food or previously clean surfaces, so no part of your RV is safe once black mold sets in. This is why it’s crucial to know how to identify black mold.
On another note, black mold can also reduce the resale value of your RV. If you plan to sell it in the future, you’ll need to ensure that it’s mold-free and structurally sound.
How to remove black mold
Now let’s talk about some strategies for removing black mold. There are some DIY solutions, although this problem is often so serious that you need to call in mold experts.
First of all, look for the warning signs discussed above. If you know how to identify black mold, you’ll have a head start on treating it. If you spot black mold growing on your furniture or inside your mattress, you may need to throw these items out. There are treatments you can try, but if the infestation is deep enough, it’s not worth it to save these items.
However, solid surfaces like cabinets, walls, and floors can be treated for black mold. For a more thorough breakdown of this process, read our post: The Best Way To Deal With Black Mold Removal In RV Campers. In summary, this post talks about cleaning products you can use to treat black mold, as well as ways to properly ventilate your RV.
Some of the best cleaning products to use are:
- Tea tree oil
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda
- Distilled ethanol
- Grapefruit seed extract
- RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray
- Concrobium Mold Control Household Cleaners
You’ll usually want to dilute these products with some water and spray them onto the moldy area. Let them sit for 30 minutes (unless the instructions say otherwise), then scrub the area with a sponge and additional cleaner. Let it dry, then check for mold again. If there’s still some visible, repeat this process as many times as necessary.
Once again, black mold is difficult to fully get rid of on your own, especially if it has spread over a wide area. Call in professional help if it keeps coming back.
Best practices to prevent black mold
Although it’s good to know how to identify black mold, it’s best if you never have to deal with it at all. There are some preventative tactics you can use to ensure that black mold never takes hold of your RV.
Moisture is the main cause of black mold infestations. RVs that are overly damp and humid are breeding grounds for fungus and bacteria. You can prevent mold by running dehumidifiers and using vents when you shower or cook. Keep an eye out for leaking pipes, seepage, or other sources of standing water in your RV.
Regularly cleaning your RV can also help prevent black mold. Sometimes people can bring spores inside on their clothes or hands. Wash your laundry at high temperatures and use chemical cleaners to wipe down surfaces that could attract bacteria and mold.
Don’t ignore mold, even at the early stages. Keep a close eye on your shower because this is where most infestations start. Attack it aggressively at the first sign of discoloration or odor.
Black mold can be difficult to spot and treat, but you’ll solve most problems before they start if you keep your RV clean and dry. Hopefully, this article was helpful to you in your fight against mold in your RV!
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.