Symptoms of Black Mold Poisoning

black mold on white wall

Recognizing the symptoms of black mold poisoning could potentially help avoid serious health problems for you and your family.

Toxic mold is one of the most common problems for homeowners today. There are many potential black mold symptoms that you could experience as a result of being around black mold. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to mold in your home.

Difficult to Detect

Detecting when black mold is present can be very difficult based solely on someone's symptoms. There are many different types of mold, and the only way to tell for sure which type of mold you have is to have it tested.

Everyone will react differently to being subjected to mold, which makes it even more difficult to detect. It may appear that one person has a cold or allergies, and others may not be affected at all, so you might not even think to test for it.

However, if you have experienced any symptoms for prolonged periods of time and there are no other explanations, black mold should be considered. Here are a few of the things to watch out for that could be caused by black mold poisoning.

1. Lack of Focus

man with head down in front of computer and papers

Black mold has the ability to negatively influence the processes of the brain. One of the most important processes is the ability to concentrate on something for an extended period of time. Black mold can make it very difficult to focus on things for longer than a few seconds. If you find yourself having trouble concentrating on things and staying on task, black mold could be the culprit.

2. Irregular Blood Pressure

Many people do not realize that blood pressure problems can actually be caused by black mold. Most do not consider black mold as a possible cause because stress, heredity, and many other things can cause blood pressure problems as well. If you monitor your blood pressure frequently and notice wild swings in readings, this could be caused by black mold.

3. Respiratory Problems

One of the most common symptoms of black mold poisoning is respiratory problems. These problems could come in any number of forms. Some people experience trouble breathing or catching their breath.

Other people continuously sneeze and have mucous discharge from the mold. In extremely severe cases, it has even caused bleeding in the lungs. The symptoms are often magnified by those that have asthma or another respiratory condition.

At first, you might think that you simply have allergies or a cold. However, if the symptoms persist and continue to get worse, black mold should definitely be considered.

4. Headaches

woman holding her temples

As a result of being near black mold, many people also experience regular headaches. Headaches are common enough among most people that they never consider the possibility of black mold causing them. However, if you have tried everything else and the headaches persist, you might want to have your house tested for mold.

5. Urinary Problems

Black mold can also cause urinary problems as well. You might find yourself with symptoms of a urinary tract infection. You might also have problems urinating. Some people urinate more frequently and feel thirsty all the time. All of these things could be attributed to black mold.

The symptoms of black mold exposure vary, so it is important to follow up with a healthcare provider if you have any symptoms that concern you.

6. Red Eyes

If you constantly find yourself with irritated, red eyes, black mold should be something to consider as the cause.

Eye irritation is an issue that should always be dealt with quickly, whether it is due to sickness or just allergies.

A simple mold test could help you eliminate one of the possible causes.

7. Skin Irritation

This problem has also been known to cause serious skin conditions to those that are frequently subjected to it. This could surface as a rash, hives, or other skin irritation.

8. Memory Loss

Memory loss is another possible side effect of being around black mold. While this is rare, it can happen in severe cases.

Therefore, if you find yourself experiencing memory loss frequently, you could be in the middle of a very bad black mold problem.

In this situation, it is very important you and your household get out and call a professional to examine your home immediately.

9. Dizziness

Vertigo and dizziness can also be linked to mold growth. Therefore, if you constantly find yourself dizzy, this could be why.

woman looking at mold under sink

Looking for Mold

If you suspect a mold problem, the first thing you need to do is investigate. Investigating is much cheaper than testing and may be able to tell you what you need to know.

If you see or smell mold, it is pointless to test for it; and your attention should go toward cleaning it up instead. Mold is really good at hiding. You have to look thoroughly. Some places you need to check are:

1. Backsides of drywall, wallpaper, or paneling

2. Top sides of ceiling tiles

3. Undersides of carpets and pads

4. Inside walls around pipes that are or produce condensation

5. Walls and floors behind furniture where condensation can form

6. Inside ductwork

7. In roof materials above ceiling tiles

Black Mold Test Kit

If you want to avoid the cost of hiring a mold inspection service and can not spot the mold another way, you can purchase a mold test kit. Companies like Quicktox and Mold Check sell do-it-yourself test kits. These kits offer the same methods (surface and air testing) that inspection services use.

They also provide the supplies to take samples of the suspected mold and test it for toxic strains like Stachybotrys & Aspergillus-Niger. The Quicktox kit allows for results of a surface sample after a few minutes. The Mold Check kit asks you to mail samples for laboratory identification.

mold test kit

What to Do About It

If you think you have black mold poisoning, see a doctor. You should treat it immediately.

You will also need to treat your home for mold. Every home has mold inside it, no matter how clean it is. Every time you go outside or open the windows, you encounter mold spores. Some spores are relatively harmless; others can be forms of toxic or black mold, also known as Stachybotrys.

To treat it and prevent it in the future, you should start by limiting moisture in your home. Mold cannot grow without water. If you eliminate the water source, you will eliminate the mold.

Black mold requires more water to grow than other types of mold. In a home environment, sources of this water can come from leaky roofs and gutters, sprinklers that spray onto the building, plumbing leaks, condensation, or water vapor. Water vapor is produced naturally anytime you cook, bathe, wash clothes, water plants, or even breathe.

One or more of these conditions could apply to any house, but not all of them will have a problem with mold. Houses should be inspected for mold if they smell moldy without a visible source or if there have been problems with flooding, leaks, excessive moisture, or water damage. Homes that are inadequately ventilated or insulated can also have trouble with mold.

Once you have stopped the source of the moisture, make sure you dry everything out before you begin cleaning. Using fans and dehumidifiers will usually help speed up the process. However, do not use fans if mold is visible because it can cause mold spores to spread.

Once things are dry, it is time to clean or dispose of any moldy materials. Make sure you wear protective material when you are doing any mold cleanup. This includes rubber gloves, eye goggles, a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and a medium- or high-efficiency filter dust mask.

Before leaving the contaminated area, remove your clothes and put them in a plastic bag to be laundered or discarded. Otherwise, you could spread mold spores throughout your home.

If the moldy items are porous, your only option is to dispose of them. Some examples of porous materials include plasterboard, insulation, plaster, carpet, carpet pads, ceiling tiles, paper products, and some wood. You only need to throw away the items if mold is visible. Make sure all items are bagged before being transported through the house.

gloved hand cleaning

Clean the Surfaces

If the material is non-porous or semi-porous, you may be able to clean them. Examples of non-porous or semi-porous items include glass, concrete, hard plastic, metal, and solid wood. Cleaning the item should start with a HEPA vacuum to remove as much contamination as possible. The standard household vacuum or shop vac will not work unless it has a high-quality HEPA filter installed on it.

If you can't get a HEPA vacuum, wipe the item off with a damp cloth. Rinse the cloth often and dispose of it when you are finished. After you have removed as much of the mold as possible using the vacuum or cloth, it is time to scrub.

All contaminated surfaces should be scrubbed with a stiff brush, hot water, and a non-ammonia soap or commercial cleaner. Use a wet/dry vacuum or sponge to collect any excess cleaning water. Rinse the item with clean water and dry everything as thoroughly and as quickly as possible.


You may want to follow up by disinfecting the surfaces to kill any remaining mold. Use a mixture of one-half cup bleach per one gallon of water and apply it to any surfaces where mold was growing. Allow the bleach water to air dry on the surface, but use a wet/dry vacuum or sponge to collect any run-off.

Use Chlorine Bleach

Using chlorine bleach is one way to help remove mold. However, it will not work in all situations and in all surfaces. You should only use chlorine bleach if the mold is growing on a non-porous surface. For example, if you have mold in your bathroom on a hard surface such as a bathtub or countertop.

If you have mold on wood, chlorine bleach will not work because properties in the bleach prevent it from going deep down into the wood and killing the roots of the mold. You can use bleach to disinfect the area after you remove the mold, but on porous surfaces, you should stay away from chlorine bleach.


One thing that will work on porous surfaces is detergent. One common ingredient in many laundry detergents is borax. Borax is great for penetrating deep into porous surfaces and eliminating mold and other materials.

Therefore, if you have mold on wood or another porous surface, this would be a great product to use. You can mix it with water and form a nice compound for removing mold quickly and efficiently. Scrub the area with this mixture and a scrubbing brush to remove the mold. Then you can disinfect it with chlorine bleach after.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

If you are looking for a natural way to eliminate mold for you, grapefruit seed extract may be the way to go. Take two cups of water and add 20 drops of the extract to it. Mix it up, and you have a very powerful mold remediation mixture. Take this mixture and scrub the mold with it, and it should eliminate the problem.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Many people keep vinegar and baking soda around the house for a variety of different reasons. When you combine these two things together, you come up with a great mixture for eliminating mold. First, take water and vinegar and mix them together in equal parts.

Then take two parts of baking soda and mix all of that together. This should make a paste that is pretty thick. Put it onto the surface with the mold and let it dry. Then take a scrub brush and scrub it off of the surface. Do this as many times as it takes to remove the mold from the surface.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Another common household item that can be used to remove mold is hydrogen peroxide. Mix one cup of warm water with 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide. Then scrub the surface of the mold with this mixture to remove it.

Stay Vigilant

After everything has been cleaned and dried, you will need to continue to watch for signs of moisture or new mold growth. If the mold returns and you are positive you do not have a moisture problem, you have a couple of options.

You can repeat the cleaning process with a stronger disinfecting solution or contact a professional cleaner to come in. However, getting rid of the contaminated material might be easier, cheaper, and more effective.

Mold will not cause major problems, provided you take action immediately. Most problems with mold are easy enough for people to fix themselves. Remember, the Environmental Protection Agency advises people to investigate before testing and clean mold contamination.

Only in rare circumstances will they recommend paying for these services. Do not be duped into purchasing an expensive and needless test. It is foolish to pay someone else to do a job that you are capable of doing yourself.


If you are concerned that there is black mold in your home, do not hesitate. Instead, act immediately. The effects of black mold poisoning can be quite serious, and it needs to be dealt with quickly.