I just earned my mold prevention certificate and in doing so, I learned a lot about mold. More than I wanted to know. Mold is a disgusting voracious eater that damages and eventually destroys what it lives on.
Let's look at what mold is, where it grows and how to prevent it, especially on a boat or other seasonal recreational vehicle. Please note: The information in this article is from the training I received and is tweaked/condensed to fit this shorter blog post.
What is mold?
Mold is fungi that grow in the form of multicellular strands known as hyphae. Mold grows on many surfaces but is only visible to the human eye when it forms a large colony, called mycelium.
But it all starts with tiny single spores.
Fiberglass, vinyl, canvas, and rubber are common areas where boat owners see mold occur.
Believe it or not, suntan lotion or sunscreen is one of the things that mold can live on! When you put on lotion and then touch a boat seat or sit on one, you are giving any mold spore a perfect diet!
The primary cause of mold growth is generally, excess moisture. All mold starts with tiny spores. They land on the surface of your boat, find a nice moist atmosphere and begin to form a new mold colony by duplicating spores.
You can never kill mold for good by using a mold removal product. All you are doing is killing surface mold and cleaning it off the surface. The key to getting rid of them (and mold) for good is prevention.
For the sake of this discussion, mold and mildew are the same. Mildew is actually mold, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They say, "Mildew refers to certain kinds of mold or fungus. The term mildew is often used generically to refer to mold growth, usually with a flat growth habit."
To grow, mold needs three basic things:
Mold grows best between 77° F and 86° F and especially if the air is humid. Although most mold cannot grow at temperatures below 40° F, some do. Most like damp, humid conditions, however.
This makes boats--especially during the summer months--a perfect feeding ground for mold and mildew.
How does mold destroy the surface it grows on?
According to the training I received during the certification course, "Mold digests the carbon on the surface it is growing on and by that, it dissipates the material tiny little bit by bit. Mold has digestive enzymes and those enzymes, along with the bleach-based products you keep using to take off the mold, end up destroying the material in particular, your boat seats.
Sure, it might take a while to ruin your boat seats, your patio furniture, and other surfaces that mold likes to grow on, but why let it? Replacing boat seats and patio furniture can be very costly.
Bleach may kill the surface mold, but wouldn't it be better to use a much safer product and prevent mold from taking hold in the first place?
If the mold is already on your surfaces, get rid of it. You can use a bleach-based product, but just remember to take all the precautions that bleach use requires. Additionally, please realize that bleach can damage and discolor your surfaces.
Making memories on the lake is a dream for many. Don't ruin your day with the untimely finding of mold growing on your boat seats, life jackets, and more!
We have Certified Mold Prevention Specialists (I am one of them!) that can come to the marina, storage facility, or your home to apply our mold elimination products.
Since our products are water-based, they are much safer than bleach. With the process we use, you can prevent mold and mildew from starting at all! We can also keep mold from reappearing for up to 90 days at a stretch!
We also have our 2-step process to protect all parts of your home, office, church, and everywhere not just from mold and mildew, but other allergens, bacteria, microbes, and other gross stuff!
Questions? We have answers!
If you have further questions or want to know how we can help you with a mold problem, contact us, and an agent near you will be happy to assist you.