Mold occurs naturally in our environment and actually floats around in the air, it can be found anywhere and it can grow on anything. It needs moisture to grow and an organic food source which can be dirt, food stuffs, drinks or anything that was once growing itself. Humidity levels should be kept between 30 and 60%. The more dampness and warmth the more the chance mold has of growing.
A dealer contacted us and wanted to know if the dark spots on a carpet were mold. The space the carpet had been installed in had suffered some mold issues and the concern for dark spots on the carpet was that it too had a mold issue. As we stated, mold can grow anywhere and on anything if it has a food source. And mold, there are thousands of types, can survive any type of environment or condition. Carpet, whether nylon, polyester or polypropylene, is basically plastic. It is not, in and of itself an organic food source. If it gets wet and it’s dirty, then you have a medium for mold to grow. Since the carpet had black spots on the face yarn and backing it was thought to be contaminated with black mold.
Black mold will have a very distinctive appearance. It can look like small colonies or clusters growing on a surface and when full blown can turn surfaces completely black. In this case the black on the carpet had a distinct pattern and linearity. It was fairly defined and less random, which mold would not be. It was on the surface and on the backing but on the backing it was more subtle and spread out. There were also signs of moisture in the form of water stains that could be easily distinguished on the carpet backing; indications something was spilled or someone tried to clean the dark areas. (photo depicting this included)
The evidence indicated the black marks on the carpet were not mold but a foreign contaminant introduced to the carpet surface. The dark, actually black marks looked like copier toner. In addition the carpet also had discoloration marks where it had turned yellow. (photo) This further indicates an oxidizing agent came in contact with the carpet bleaching out the blue dye component from this green colored carpet. It could be concluded from the evidence exhibited that the carpet was not afflicted with mold but had been influenced by someone having spilled or dropped something on it; actually more than one something. The culprit affecting this carpet was not mold.
Very often complaints for mold on carpet are actually something else. In schools there are often concerns for mold under pencil sharpeners. This would be shavings from the wood and the lead. In offices the black is often from copier toner having been spilled and in any number of places the dark spots may just be a residue from a spill or poorly attempted spot cleaning that soil is being attracted to. Most of the time mold is not the problem and if it is someone got an organic material on the carpet which allowed the mold to grow.
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