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Can Mold Grow In The Cold?

Can Mold Grow In The Cold

July 8, 2024

There is a common misconception about mold that it grows and thrives in warm, damp areas. In other words, where the atmosphere is hot and humid. But if that is the case, what’s the status of this fungus when the temperature drops?

The chilling answer might surprise you, so keep reading this blog to explore more about it and the right tips to keep your home safe, even in winter.

Mold In Cold Temperatures: What You Need To Know

⇒ Can Mold Grow In Cool Temperatures?

The short and surprising answer is Yes. Some mold varieties thrive in chiller temperatures, even near freezing. Some of the most common areas prone to them are basements, attics, refrigerators, freezers, and other spaces like windows.

⇒ What Types Of Mold Grow In Cold?

The mold species that make their presence known during the winter are typically different from those that arrive during the summer. Some of them are:

Types Of Mold Grow In Cold

♦ Alternaria

Alternaria is one of the most common fungi to thrive in cold. Appearing gray or black in color, this mold is often found in humid environments such as bathtubs, shower curtains, bath mats, or even on basement walls.

♦ Cladosporium

This mold survives in temperatures as low as 4 degrees Celsius (39.2° Fahrenheit). Species within this genus appear differently, but the most common ones to be found indoors are generally brown to blackish-brown or greenish-gray in color.

♦ Penicillium

Penicillium, on the other hand, is typically found year-round. Appearing in green or white in color, it grows best in humid environments and is typically found on damp building materials, carpets, beds, and upholstered furniture, just like other common indoor molds.

⇒ Factors That Lead To Mold Growth In Cold

Mold in cooler temperatures doesn’t just grow out of nowhere. Check out what are the number of factors that contribute to it in the first place.

♦ Moisture

Moisture is the primary factor responsible for mold growth in any environment, including the cold. In homes located in cold climates, condensation easily forms when the warm indoor air comes in contact with the cold outdoor air, forming small drops of liquid. This, in turn, creates the moisture that provides the ideal conditions for mold spores to settle and grow.

♦ Temperature Range

Some molds can grow, adapt, and thrive even at temperatures as low as 32°F (0°C). Even though cold-tolerant molds might not develop as quickly as they would in warmer climates, they can still spread assuming other requirements, such as moisture and food supplies, are met.

♦ Food Sources

Mold spores constantly float around in the air. When they land on a cold surface with a food source, like leftover food in a refrigerator, or spilled juice, they can germinate and start growing, provided the moisture is enough.

Although a refrigerator slows down spoilage, it doesn’t completely stop it, so when you leave food for extended periods, you actually provide enough sustenance for mold spores to land on it.

⇒ What Can You Do To Prevent It?

Whether it’s summer or winter, mold growth is inevitable. However, you can effectively prevent it by following these useful steps.

  • Maintain low indoor humidity, ideally below 60% through proper air circulation (especially in the kitchen or bathroom by placing exhaust fans) or using dehumidifiers.
  • Address leaky pipes, faucets, and roofs to keep moisture at bay and regularly check areas prone to condensation like windows, attics, and around HVAC systems.
  • Ensure the items are dry and clean, especially the ones that you store for the winter. Most importantly, make sure to avoid using damp fabrics, cardboard boxes, and other organic materials known for trapping moisture and ultimately providing a food source for mold.
  • Regularly clean wet surfaces in order to prevent mold growth in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room, as these are the spaces where mold spores get enough moisture to eventually settle.

Let’s Sum It Up!

The myth that mold can only grow in warm environments is debunked! While cold temperatures slow mold growth, it can still occur thanks to cold-tolerant mold varieties, condensation providing moisture, and mold simply becoming dormant, not dying.

Thus, to keep your home mold-free, control moisture, fix leaks, keep the refrigerator clean, and adopt smart storage strategies. These actions will help you create a cold environment that mold won’t find appealing.

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