The Ugly Reality of DIY Roof Repairs

Roof repairs are expensive and can be risky. Even a small mistake can cause water stains across ceilings and walls or allow moisture to rot sheathing and framing.

Some leaks will show themselves as marks on walls or ceilings, but the more serious kind of leak is one that works away quietly for years before causing major damage. The best way to prevent this is to work with Augustine’s professional roofing experts.

The Cost

A well-maintained roof is vital to your home’s comfort, resale value, and safety. But homeowners are often lured by the promise of cost savings when considering DIY projects instead of professional help.

While some repairs are certainly doable on your own, the truth is that it’s more expensive to take on a larger roofing project yourself than you might expect. For example, replacing a roof will require specialized tools and materials that you may not have lying around at home. Moreover, the time required for the job will likely exceed your expectations. Professionals can typically install a roof in a few days, while you might spend weeks or more completing the task on your own.

Another factor to consider is the costs of repairing or replacing damaged components as a result of your DIY efforts. For instance, leaks or structural damage caused by an improperly repaired roof will likely require extensive repair and replacement efforts. Similarly, improper attic ventilation and insulation will result in high energy bills and can worsen health issues like allergies or asthma.

Moreover, if you attempt to perform a roof repair that is not within your skill set, it could result in serious injuries or damages to property or people. Such incidents can lead to legal and insurance issues, which is far from the desired outcome of a DIY roof repair.

One of the most common mistakes DIY homeowners make is attempting to tackle a project that they are ill-fitted for. This can lead to a host of problems, including significant water leaks and voiding of active warranties.

Lastly, when it comes to DIY roofing projects, the quality of the materials used is crucial. You might be able to save some money by using lower-quality roofing materials, but these materials are more likely to experience damage or wear and tear quickly. In contrast, high-quality roofing materials are more durable and will last longer.

The bottom line is that when it comes to roofing, DIY projects can be dangerous and costly. For this reason, it is always wise to leave any major roofing work to the professionals, especially in order to maintain a safe and functional roof for years to come.

The Time

Many homeowners want to do DIY home projects to save money and feel a sense of accomplishment. However, some projects are best left to the professionals – like roof repairs. DIY roofing is a dangerous and time-consuming process that could result in costly mistakes, injuries, and even further damage to your home.

Roofing is a specialized skill that requires years of experience and knowledge to perform properly. Without this expertise, amateurs are likely to make a wide range of mistakes that can lead to severe roof damage and expensive repair bills down the line.

In addition to the cost of materials and tools, DIY roofing can also be very time-consuming. Depending on the complexity of your roof, you may spend days or weeks trying to complete the repairs. This extra time spent on the project will add up and potentially offset any initial savings you were hoping to achieve.

The biggest cost associated with DIY roof repairs is the potential for serious injury. Climbing onto a slanted roof can be dangerous, especially if you don’t have the proper safety equipment and training. Falling off the roof can cause a variety of injuries, from broken bones to paralysis. The cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation can easily exceed any initial savings from DIY roofing.

Homeowners should also consider the risk that they will void any manufacturer warranties or insurance coverage by performing their own repairs. Some manufacturers require that their shingles be installed by licensed contractors in order to qualify for warranty coverage. Likewise, several insurance companies will decline to cover a home that has undergone substantial renovations without prior evaluation and inspection.

The Risk

When a home maintenance issue arises, it is always tempting to take the DIY route. After all, most people are not professional home repair contractors, and there is a certain sense of pride that comes with taking on a task yourself rather than hiring someone to do it. However, there are some things that should always be left to the experts, and roof repairs are one of them.

Taking on roof repairs without the proper training and equipment can be very dangerous, especially for those who aren’t used to working on roofs. Those who are not properly equipped may suffer from severe injuries such as broken bones or head trauma. In addition, improper roof repairs can lead to further damage and expensive repairs down the road.

A common mistake homeowners make when trying to do DIY roof repairs is not properly assessing the extent of the problem. What seems like a small leak or missing shingle could actually be indicative of a much larger problem, such as rotting decking or mold growth. A professional can ensure that all underlying issues are addressed along with the repairs to prevent further problems down the road.

Another thing that many homeowners fail to consider when taking on DIY roof repairs is that they may void any warranties or insurance coverage associated with their home. Typically, roofing materials require professional installation in order to qualify for warranty coverage. If a homeowner attempts to do their own repairs, they may be putting their insurance and the value of their home at risk.

Finally, taking on DIY roof repairs can also be very hazardous to the health of a home’s occupants. Many people don’t realize that a leaky or damaged roof can cause mold, insect infestations, water damage, and energy inefficiencies. If a person becomes sick or injured due to working on their roof, they may be facing costly medical bills and even potential lawsuits.

If you are thinking about tackling a roof repair project on your own, be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully. There are many reasons why you should leave it to the professionals instead of making a costly mistake that could end up costing you more in the long run.

The Damage

Many people try to save money by taking on DIY projects around the house. From planting a garden to updating patio furniture, many homeowners enjoy the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with being able to do things on their own. However, there are some home improvement tasks that are best left to the professionals. One of these is roof repairs.

Roofing is a highly specialized skill that requires a deep understanding of proper nailing techniques, equipment usage, and the intricacies of various roof structures. Without this knowledge, even the most well-intentioned homeowner can do more damage than good. Often, these mistakes can lead to leaks or other more severe structural damage, which can be costly to fix.

There are also times when an inexperienced homeowner will further damage the roof during the repair process. Walking on the shingles can cause them to tear and lose granules, nailing into a roof flashing may puncture it, or simply placing a nail in the wrong place can exacerbate existing problems like leaks or wood damage. Lastly, some insurance policies require that roofing work be done by licensed professional roofers. Trying to do the job yourself will void these warranties, potentially costing you more money in the long run.

A poor quality roof is not only expensive to repair, but it can also decrease your home’s value and lead to more frequent repair needs. A professional will use high-quality materials that will last longer and help protect your home from future damage and prevent the need for costly repairs.

In this day and age of online tutorials, it can be tempting to assume that you know more than the professionals. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. DIYers tend to choose the cheapest materials, thinking that a “shingle is a shingle.” However, these low-quality materials will wear down faster and lead to more frequent repairs.

If you’re looking to save time and money, skip the DIY approach and leave your roof repairs to the professionals at dayton roofers. They’ll ensure your roof is secure and able to withstand the elements, keeping your home safe and sound for years to come.

8 Foods That Attract Pests to Your Home

Whether they’re spilled juice on the counter or a rotting banana in the fruit bowl, foods left out in the open can attract pests. To help keep them at bay, store food properly and clean up spills and crumbs immediately.

A full trash can is an all-you-can-eat buffet for pests, so make sure you take it out often and don’t let it overflow.

1. Sugar

Sugar attracts a variety of unwanted pests to your home. Pests like flies, cockroaches and rodents are naturally drawn to sweet foods. Cockroaches, in particular, are scavengers that are attracted to anything that gives off a strong smell. This makes overripe fruit and vegetables as well as the contents of your pantry a magnet for these unwelcome guests.

Similarly, fruity or sugary drinks like soda and juice are appealing to pests. If you have an open bottle of these beverages on your counter or in the fridge, they will quickly turn into a breeding ground for fruit flies and wasps.

Peanut butter is another food that entices a variety of household pests. It’s an easy meal for ants and rats to grab on their way through the house, offering them a boost of energy as they munch away. Even the smallest spill or crumbs can provide a veritable feast for pests, so always wipe your countertops and tables clean after every use. If you store your peanut butter in a jar, make sure it’s somewhere that can’t be reached by pests.

2. Alcohol

Cockroaches are particularly fond of beer, as well as coffee (which they use for energy) and sugary juice. Even small spills of these drinks can attract them to your home, so you should always clean up any liquid messes quickly.

Alcohol and other sweet beverages also lure flying pests such as fruit flies, wasps, and bees. These insects have strong scent receptors, so they can track food from a long distance. If you’re going to enjoy a glass of wine or beer outside, be sure to store it in a bug-free location.

Rubbing alcohol is an excellent germicide and can eliminate a wide range of household pests. It’s especially effective against yellow jackets, which release a toxic defensive secretion that can irritate your skin and eyes. You can spray rubbing alcohol around the house to kill soft body pests such as spiders, centipedes, and ants. Just make sure to clear clutter before spraying, as these pests love to hide in out-of-the-way places such as along skirting boards.

3. Peanut Butter

Everyone loves their peanut butter sandwiches or granola bars, but these foods are also a huge attraction to pests. The protein in these foods provides the perfect meal for rodents like mice and rats. The sugar found in these treats gives them the fuel they need to survive and reproduce.

The same can be said for other types of nut butters and any other type of food that has a high-protein content. These are often used as bait when treating for wild rodent infestations or as treats that pet owners give their pets.

Any crumbs that are left on counters or tables will attract pests, including ants and cockroaches. Make sure to always clean up your countertops and table after every meal to prevent these pests from crawling into your home. In addition, it is important to properly store all of these foods in a glass or plastic container that is airtight. Make sure to also dispose of all expired products to avoid pests from entering your kitchen.

4. Cereals

Rodents and other pests love cereal, especially peanut butter-flavored varieties. They also enjoy other nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pecans. The best way to avoid pests like these is to store food items in tightly closed containers. Even the smallest food crumbs on counters and pantries can attract rodents and other pests looking for an easy meal. In addition, wildlife dumpster dives for left over food and garbage.

Cereal is an especially attractive food for pantry pests, such as granary and rice weevils, Indian meal moths and the cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne). These insects infest and contaminate packaged foods and animal/plant-based products, including grains, dried fruits, nuts, pet foods, spices, cocoa, candy, dried flowers and potpourri. They produce unpleasant odors and stains, as well as transmit toxic substances that contaminate food materials for humans and other animals.

Cape Coral pest control suggests keeping them stored properly and clean up spills immediately in order to prevent pest infestations of pantry items. Store bulk items in sealed, tightly closed containers and never mix old and new lots of food products. Moisture favors the development of these pests, while dryness discourages them.

5. Fruit

While fresh fruit is a healthy addition to your diet, it can also lure pests like flies, wasps, and beetles into your home. They are drawn to any sugary drink spills or rotting fruits that might be in your kitchen.

If you enjoy feeding wild birds in your yard, make sure to keep bird seed away from your house. Rats and mice love to eat these seeds, especially when they are left out or in open bags. The resulting mess and odor are a major attraction to rodents and other unwelcome guests, and can lead to severe infestations in your home.

It’s hard to avoid crumbs and spilled food in your kitchen, but you can take steps to prevent pests from making themselves at home in your home. Make sure to clean up any food crumbs promptly, and keep garbage bins inside and outside tightly sealed to prevent attracting rodents. Also, always double bag pet food and trash to prevent rodents from raiding your bins and gaining access to your home.

6. Soda

A can of soda or a glass of fruity juice attracts more than just flies and wasps. Sugary drinks also draw in ants and cockroaches. Spilled soda and food crumbs provide a veritable feast for these pests, drawing them into your home where they can breed, nest, and cause further damage.

It’s best to store food in airtight containers and keep it up off the ground. This will help to prevent pests from gaining access to your favorite foods and snacks.

It’s also a good idea to only eat in one area of the house, such as at the kitchen table, so you can limit where food waste accumulates and create more entry points for pests. You should also regularly clean the areas where you eat, such as sweeping up crumbs and cleaning under and behind appliances. Doing so can reduce the amount of food waste in these areas, which can then discourage roaches and other pests from making their way into your home.

7. Overripe Fruit and Vegetables

Overripe produce is a natural magnet for pests. The rotting food attracts flies, ants, and even beetles and weevils to your home. In addition, any spilled liquids and crumbs provide a perfect hiding place for these pests. Keeping your kitchen clean, clearing out the sink drain, and taking out the trash regularly will help keep pests away from your food.

If you are unable to use up all of your fruits and vegetables before they spoil, try baking them into something delicious. Banana bread, smoothies, and fruit jam are excellent options for preserving overripe foods.

You can also make your own homemade ice cream using overripe bananas. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It is also important to properly store your food to discourage pests from entering your home. For example, flour beetles like to live in packets of flour and will chew holes in the package. Keeping your food in glass storage jars will help to deter these scavengers.

8. Leftover Food

Many people make the mistake of leaving food crumbs on their counters or failing to clean out containers after every use. When this happens, flies, ants and other pests are just waiting to find an open invitation to your home.

Spilled soda, juice, coffee and other liquids can also be a welcome sign to pests. Make sure to wipe down your counters after every meal, and use airtight storage containers for any foods that don’t keep well, such as flour and cereal.

Another common problem is piling up trash, both indoor and outdoor bins. Overflowing or leaking containers offer a tasty dinner for rodents, foxes, raccoons and other unwanted pests. Ensure that rubbish is double bagged and that both your indoor and outdoor bins have a secure lid that shuts tightly. This will significantly reduce your risk of a pest infestation.

Can Mold Grow in Alcohol?

Whether there are strange masses floating in one’s bottle of whiskey or if a sanitation professional wishes to know their cleaning chemicals more closely – it is quite a common question to wonder whether alcohol can act as a breeding ground for cultures of mold.

The particular answer to whether mold can grow in alcohol depends on the particular concentration strength of the alcohol, how it was stored, and whether any other additives have made their way into the alcohol’s mixture.

Fortunately, most forms of alcohol cannot grow mold due to the simple fact that it is inhospitable to most forms of life – especially to that of mold and similar fungal bodies. 

However, this is not always the case, especially in drinking liquors that have extra ingredients added to it that dilute its relative concentration strength, and as such it is good for one to be cautious if they suspect mold is growing in their beverage.

Why do Food Products Grow Mold?

mold on food

Mold is a type of microorganism specifically belonging to the fungi branch of microbial life, with a particular preference for growing in wet or otherwise moisture rich environments such as food or beverages.

Mold will usually grow on the surface of food or drinks by way of said food products becoming contaminated with mold spores, microscopic cells produced by larger colonies of mold that are responsible for spreading the specific lineage of the mold’s species.

This type of fungi is especially common in food and drinks due to the conditions that must be met in order for the mold spores to propagate properly – that being the presence of moisture, a nutritive source, heat and proper air flow; all of which may be found in certain alcoholic beverages and similar fluids.

At What Percentage Can Alcohol Grow Mold?

As previously mentioned at the beginning of this article, most forms of alcohol cannot grow mold due to its concentration strength making the propagation and survival of most life forms impossible once submersed in said alcohol.

This becomes less true the lower the concentration strength of the alcohol is, a characteristic that is generally achievable by the dilution of the otherwise pure alcohol with water, adulterants, excipients or additional food purpose ingredients that alter the sensory characteristics of the alcohol.

Generally, the percentage strength per unit volume of 17% is the absolute maximum possible concentration that mold or other microbial life may survive in an ethanol alcohol solution – though even this particular concentration is rather hostile to mold, and will require specific conditions be met in order to host life in any form.

Can Mold Grow in Beer?

Whether or not alcohol can grow in a can or bottle of beer will depend on two factors; that being the particular alcohol concentration percentage of the beer and the method in which it was stored.

Typically, most common store-bought beers will clock in at around 5-6% alcohol by volume, placing it significantly lower than disinfectant grade alcohol or other alcoholic beverages that are not susceptible to the growth of microbiological life such as mold.

This can equate to the majority of beers being at risk of developing mold cultures, especially if stored in a warm environment and exposed to the open air.

However, the majority if not all commercially produced beer brands hold their products to stringent quality standards and as such if the packaging of the beer and the conditions it is stored in are ideal, it is quite unlikely that any sort of mold will grow in the beer.

Can Mold Grow in Spirits and Liquors?

can mold grow in spirits

One standard unit of spirits or liquor in the United States is measured at 1.5 ounces of 40% ABV – significantly higher than the ceiling of 17% percentage strength per unit of volume required to eliminate any risk of growing mold cultures or other microbial life.

As such, unless the spirit or liquor has been incorporated into a cocktail or other mixed beverage that lowers the total alcohol concentration of the drink itself, it is unlikely that any sort of microbial life can develop in the alcoholic fluid.

This is all the more so if the spirit or liquor has been kept preserved in the proper manner, such as in an air-tight container away from direct sunlight and other factors that may denature or otherwise weaken the strength and function of the alcohol itself.

Can Mold Grow in Wine?

Unlike spirits and liquors, wine generally has a significant amount of sugar present in its ingredients, and as such is far more susceptible to growing mold and similar fungal cultures than other kinds of alcoholic beverages.

The majority of standard wines possess an alcohol by volume percentage of about 12%, which is sufficiently high enough to ward off the presence of most species of mold, but will not always guarantee that no mold at all can develop.

This is especially applicable if the correct conditions for the development and growth of mold cultures is met, with the wine being left out in the open in a warm room being the worst possible way of storing it for the purposes of avoiding microbial life.

Wine’s ability to grow mold is secondary to the fact that it can expire, however, and as such one must calculate for both factors so as to retain the quality and edibility of the wine if they are not consuming it immediately.

Can Rubbing Alcohol Grow Mold?

Most forms of rubbing alcohol (be it isopropyl, ethanol, or a mixture) are significantly more concentrated in terms of alcohol concentration than alcoholic beverages and as such are not only incapable of developing mold cultures but can also be used to kill mold on other surfaces.

This is especially noticeable in a medical or otherwise sterile setting that requires a quick acting and efficient disinfecting compound that itself does not expire or can otherwise be compromised by the presence of microbial life.

Is Cloudy Liquor a Sign of Mold?

Generally, liquor that is cloudy or has “floaties” present in its fluid are not host to a mold culture – especially if the liquor has been stored in an appropriate manner and is of a rather high alcohol by volume concentration.

This is especially applicable in whiskey, brandy or similar brown alcohols with a rather high presence of certain compounds that are a consequence of improper storage, an improper distillation process or simple ingredient additives.


  • Rogawansamy S, Gaskin S, Taylor M, Pisaniello D. An evaluation of antifungal agents for the treatment of fungal contamination in indoor air environments. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jun 2;12(6):6319-32. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120606319. PMID: 26042369; PMCID: PMC4483703.
  • Korukluoglu, M., Sahan, Y. & Yigit, A. The fungicidal efficacy of various commercial disinfectants used in the food industry. Ann. Microbiol. 56, 325 (2006). 

Does Alcohol Kill Fungi?

One of the most common uses for alcohol in its more pure forms is that of a germicide and sterility agent, with certain types and percentages of alcohol being deemed appropriate for the purposes of killing certain types of microbial life in the correct setting.

Among these types of microbes specifically targeted through the use of alcohol is that of fungi – eukaryotic microorganisms that may take the form of mold, yeast or mushrooms, depending on the particular species.

Fungi can and is regularly killed or otherwise rendered inert through the use of alcohol, especially in hospital or clinical settings wherein sterilization is of utmost importance. 

However, not all types of alcohol are created equal, and stringent standards of quality apply when using alcohol to disinfect and sterilize an area.

What Sort of Alcohol Can Kill Microbes?

Depending on what type of microbe is to be killed as well as the surface that is being disinfected, the particular formulation and percentage concentration of alcohol that is required will also change.

More easily accessible formulations of alcohol such as 60-80% isopropanol rubbing alcohol for the purposes of skin disinfection are the most commonly used – especially for killing any microscopic fungi that may be present on the individual’s skin.

When specifically disinfecting surfaces that contain significant populations of fungal spores or fungal colonies, it is best to utilize non-ethanol formulated alcohol at a moderate to high concentration percentage, as ethanol alcohol has been shown to not completely kill certain types of fungal species.

This is especially applicable in a clinical setting wherein even a small volume of fungal spores or fungal colonies present on medical implements can lead to fatal cases of infection.

How Does Alcohol Kill Microbes?

The particular mechanism of alcohol that is responsible for its wide reaching and effective ability to kill microbes is that of its protein denaturing effect.

When denaturation takes place between alcohol and a microbial life form, the alcohol affects any protein compounds present in the microbe’s cellular structure – essentially destroying the cell wall’s capacity to retain its shape and thereby rupturing and exposing the contents of the microbe’s cells.

The time it takes to do this and whether or not the alcohol is sufficiently powerful enough to pierce the structure of the microbe’s body will depend on a variety of factors such as what formulation of alcohol is being used as well as what type of microbial life is undergoing the denaturing.

In the case of fungi, yeasts are generally found to be far more susceptible to alcohol induced protein denaturation than other types of fungi – primarily due to the thickness and molecular complexity of the protein based structures encompassing said other types of fungi. 

Is it Hard to Kill Fungi with Alcohol?

It is actually quite easy to disinfect a surface contaminated with fungal life forms – so long as the proper tools are utilized for a sufficient enough period of time.

Though ethanol alcohol at a percentage over 50% is enough to kill some types of fungi, it is the use of 70% isopropyl alcohol that is most often recommended for the purposes of truly removing most traces of fungi and other microbes from a surface.

This is due to the fact that ethanol is more geared towards killing viruses enveloped in a protective protein layer, a form of microbial life several steps removed from that of fungus and therefore making isopropyl alcohol the more effective tool in killing the aforementioned life form.

Does Alcohol Kill All Fungi?

Though alcohol is an extremely effective disinfecting agent in regards to its germicidal and fungicidal abilities, it is not entirely foolproof, and either due to random chance or a certain type of fungal species with a particularly thick envelopment – it is possible for fungal species to survive alcohol disinfection.

This is more applicable if the sort of alcohol that was used is either of too high or too low a concentration, both of which will not act sufficiently enough in the manner of protein denaturation to wipe out every fungal spore and fungal colony of a surface.

What Percentage Alcohol Kills Fungi?

70 percent isopropyl alcohol
Editorial Credit: MikeEdwards /

Bright Future Recovery outlines that alcohol is usually diluted to a percentage below 100% with either water or a similarly neutral compound for the purposes of improving its microbe killing abilities or preventing skin irritation, if external skin usage is the purpose of the alcohol based product.

The particular percentage recommended by most reliable sources is that of 70% isopropyl alcohol, especially in regards to the killing of fungal spores and other types of fungal life.

This is due to the fact that any percentage of isopropyl alcohol that is too concentrated may result in the alcohol failing to fully penetrate the cell wall’s protein structures, only damaging the fungal cell wall instead of fully rupturing and destroying it.

By addition of this characteristic of 70% concentrated isopropyl alcohol, the addition of water as a diluent compound will also allow the alcohol to denature enzymatic proteins alongside the normal denaturing ability of alcohol in concerns to structural proteins.

Can Alcohol Kill Fungal Infections on the Skin?

Though alcohol is normally used as a disinfecting agent on non-biological surfaces such as tables or equipment, it is possible for isopropyl alcohol of the correct percentage concentration to be used in order to kill skin level fungal infections.

Much like if one were disinfecting a surface that was not skin, it is best to make use of isopropyl alcohol that is at a 70% concentration strength with the other 30% primarily being water so as to avoid any allergenic or adverse effects.

To do so, one simply needs to apply the alcohol directly to the area with a fungal infection, leaving the alcohol to dry or soak for a short period of time so as to kill any fungal colonies that it comes into contact with.

This, of course, will only be effective if the fungal infection is only at the surface, and deeper infections will not be affected or touched by the use of topical alcohol application.


  • Widmer A, Frei R. 2011. Decontamination, Disinfection, and Sterilization, p 143-173. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch11
  • Ribeiro MM, Neumann VA, Padoveze MC, Graziano KU. Efficacy and effectiveness of alcohol in the disinfection of semi-critical materials: a systematic review. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem. 2015 Jul-Aug;23(4):741-52. doi: 10.1590/0104-1169.0266.2611. PMID: 26444178; PMCID: PMC4623738.
  • LOEWENTHAL K. The Antifungal Effect of 70% Ethyl Alcohol: A Laboratory Study. Arch Dermatol. 1961;83(5):803–805. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580110091014

Are All Black Mold Species Toxic: Color Explained

Many homeowners, especially in the US, have been indoctrinated that black mold is dangerous as it decreases air quality and can be potentially toxic. This belief has been exacerbated by years of media portrayal and marketing.

Academic studies provide insufficient data supporting that black mold species pose any critical threat to human health. With countless species of mold exhibiting a dark or black pigmentation, one genus in particular has accumulated negative perception – Stachybotrys. Two species under that genus, S. chartarum and S. chlorohalonata, are colloquially called “black mold” in the United States. While these species do produce mycotoxins, insufficient evidence supports the association of this mold to poor health.

This article will briefly discuss molds, black molds, mycotoxins, and what the color of the species indicates.

Mold Explained

mold colony

Molds are a group of fungi, not unlike the common mushroom, that are capable of growing in almost any surface – as long as the surface achieves all the necessary conditions. They are multicellular organisms which distinguish them from bacteria. Molds also grow as filamentous colonies, unlike other fungal groups that exclusively grow as yeasts.

While the growth of mold on a wall is distinctly visible, fungi are present everywhere. Fungi produce spores, microscopic cells that are capable of lying dormant until the necessary conditions are met for the spore to grow. Being ubiquitous, spores are found in drinking water and in the air. On average, studies reveal that every breath of air contains between 1-10 spores – which means a person can inhale between 20,000-200,000 spores every day.

While fungal spores are especially prevalent in the environment, they pose little threat to humans in particular as the human body is not the ideal environment for fungi to grow in. Like any organism, mold requires water, food, and oxygen to thrive.

Because of the living conditions required by mold, they are most often found growing on moist or damp wooden surfaces such as wallboards, ceiling tiles, and cardboard. Granted, as long as there is organic matter for them to consume and the other pre-requisites are met, mold can grow (e.g., dust found on concrete).

Like most fungi, molds are highly morphologically diverse. This means that molds can be of any size and shape. While some species are restricted to certain morphological characteristics, some species can have a wide array of morphological features depending on their environment. One of these morphological features that will be expounded on is color.

Not all molds produce relatively toxic compounds that can lead to serious health issues. However, molds constitutively contribute foreign materials in the air (e.g., spores, hyphae, etc.) that can cause allergic reactions and respiratory irritations.

Molds have been commonly attributed to damp building-related illnesses (DBRI) (also known as sick building syndrome). These include a wide array of respiratory, immunological, and neurological symptoms that are commonly associated with a specific building. While inadequate cleaning methods are the primary culprit of DBRI, the occurrence of mold is a subsequent factor.

Black Mold

In the United States, the name black mold is often used to refer to two specific species of mold: Stachybotrys chartarum (previously Stachybotrys atra) and Stachybotrys chlorohalonata. However, these are by all means not the only species of mold that can exhibit a dark or black pigmentation.

Other genera such as Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Nigraspora all include multiple species that can produce colonies exhibiting dark or black pigmentation. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that while molds can pose as a health hazard to people with weaker immune systems and children prone to developing asthma, color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be.

Concern for Stachybotrys species arose from numerous studies. A 1998 paper published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine studied the incidence of acute pulmonary hemorrhage in infants with respect to fungal exposure. With an emphasis on S. chartarum, the study found that five out of the ten infants with acute pulmonary hemorrhage lived in homes with viable S. chartarum spores in the air.

A 2003 paper published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews discussed that the concern for Stachybotrys (emphasized with S. chartarum) has been brought up by numerous studies associating the fungus with serious illness. However, the review concludes that most of these studies suffer from methodological flaws and inconsistencies, thus making their findings inconclusive.

While being regarded by the general public as a serious health hazard, the most common symptoms caused by black mold contamination include dizziness, nasal congestion, flu-like symptoms, sore throat, chronic coughing, and skin rashes. The more extreme symptoms that have presented in special cases include asthma attacks and lung complications.



Mycotoxins refer to the naturally occurring compounds fungi produce that have toxic properties. These mycotoxins are often secondary metabolites, which means that fungi produce them as a result of their metabolic activities, but they are not necessarily needed for survival.

Oftentimes, mycotoxins are more of a concern in agriculture. Specific fungal genera such as Fusarium and Alternaria grow on agricultural crops and stores. These are problematic because contaminated agricultural products are then unsafe to consume, conferring economic loss to the farmers.

Stachybotrys species have been found to produce certain mycotoxins, specifically macrocyclic trichothecene mycotoxins. However, these are especially uncommon. Even warned as the dangerous kind of black mold, not all kinds of S. chartarum produces these mycotoxins. As of now, there are only two types, or chemotypes, of S. chartarum that produce mycotoxins. One has been found to produce highly toxic macrocyclic trichothecene mycotoxins while the other chemotype produces less toxic atranones and simple trichothecenes but not macrocyclic trichothecenes.

Even when some fungi have been known to produce deadly mycotoxins that would cause food to be unsafe to eat, these fungi exhibit different cases depending on the environment. A 2005 review published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology reports that fungi such as Penicillium and Aspergillus are major contaminants of food and feed products. However, the same fungi were observed to produce different sets of mycotoxins when isolated from damp buildings.

While there are reports of toxic mold causing serious or rare health issues such as pulmonary hemorrhages or even memory loss, the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) agree that these reports are rare and the studies linking molds to these health issues have been insufficient.

A 2010 review published in the Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene called upon the assessment of industrial hygienists to inspect both residential and commercial buildings for molds and mycotoxins. The review and the assessments confirm that while there are reports of high levels of mold capable of conferring poor health and hazardous health issues, the average levels of mold in mold-contaminated buildings were insufficient to induce health issues as reported in some literature.

Final Thoughts

By all means, studies unanimously agree that mold can produce foreign materials that can lower the quality of indoor air – possibly triggering respiratory irritation and allergic responses.

The worst-case scenario would be for immunosuppressed individuals as fungal infections are commonplace and potentially life-threatening. But for the majority of the population with adequate immune systems, mold is not a critical situation. For overall safety, it is still recommended as the best course of action to remove any mold that has been detected to prevent it from spreading and growing into a more probable health hazard.


How to Be More Vascular: Process Explained

Vascularity, as it is commonly used in fitness, refers to the visibility of blood vessels on the skin. It does not have any actual benefits, but it increases the aesthetic appeal of bodybuilders and is a sign of muscularity and low body fat percentage. Improving vascularity requires hard work and a good understanding of anatomic processes that lead to the increased size of blood vessels. 

Combining cardiovascular exercise and strength training along with a healthy diet, sufficient water intake, and intake of additional supplements will improve the body’s overall vascularity.

This article will discuss the factors that affect vascularity and explain the processes involved in increasing vascularity. It will also give pointers to apply the understanding of these factors on workout and diet routines to improve vascularity. 

Factors Affecting Vascularity

Body Fat Percentage

body fat percentage examples

Body fat percentage affects vascularity as subcutaneous fat, or the layer of fat under the skin, can hide the superficial veins. An overweight individual can have a harder time developing vascularity due to the thick layer of subcutaneous fat preventing the superficial vein from manifesting onto the skin, even as heart rate rises through exercise. 

Maintaining a good muscle-to-fat ratio can help in reducing the amount of subcutaneous fat as well as push the superficial vein to the surface of the skin. A combination of strength training and cardiovascular exercise can help achieve optimal muscle-to-fat ratio.

The ideal body fat percentage for vascularity is around 8%. This body fat percentage will manifest vascularity around the body, even when the blood vessels are in a relaxed state. It is also a good standard to follow for displaying competition-level vascularity. 

People with 10-12% body fat percentage can also have good vascularity, especially after a workout. At this body fat percentage, the cephalic vein, or the prominent bicep vein, can manifest after a workout too.

Moreover, people who have 15%+ body fat percentage need to combine strength training, cardio, and diet changes to lower their body fat percentage in order to have visible vascularity.

Women also have to engage in these exercises and lifestyle habits to achieve vascularity because they naturally have less muscle and more fat than men. 

Muscle Mass

Along with body fat percentage, muscle mass, or the overall weight of the muscles in the body, also affects vascularity. Bigger muscles help in pushing the superficial vein to the surface of the skin, which becomes more prominent with less subcutaneous fat. 

Blood vessels become dilated through vasodilation, or expansion of the blood vessels, when working out. It also remains dilated for a certain period of time after working out. Repeated vasodilation can cause the blood vessels to remain dilated even as the blood vessels revert to a rested state. 

To showcase optimal vascularity, it is best to take photos of the body at around 15-20 minutes after a workout. This takes advantage of the remaining vasodilation, especially for people who are still working on their muscle-to-fat ratio. For more permanent vascularity, however, alternating between mass building and fat burning routines can help improve vascularity. 

Water Retention

Water retention refers to the process of absorbing water into the cells. High water retention can lead to puffiness of the subcutaneous layer of the skin which can hinder vascularity.

Water retention occurs as an adaptation to low water levels in the body. High sodium concentration in the body can also cause water retention because sodium brings water with it as it is absorbed into the cells.

High stress levels or high concentration of the cortisol hormone can also cause water retention along with high aldosterone hormone levels. Aldosterone is responsible for maintaining a balance between sodium and potassium in the body.

Some of the symptoms of water retention include bloatedness, swollen legs, puffiness, and stiff joints. It can also cause weight fluctuations, which is a great concern for bodybuilders and professional athletes.

Ways to Improve Vascularity


An ideal diet for improving vascularity is comprised of a macro-nutrient balance of high protein, low carbs, and high fat. 

Protein helps in building muscle mass and can be obtained from both animal and plant sources. A high-protein diet is usually composed of foods like meat, egg, beans, nuts, and seafood. 

Carbohydrate consumption for greater mass gain and fat loss should be composed of complex carbohydrates found in sweet potatoes and brown rice. Simple carbohydrates in pasta and white rice can cause accumulation of subcutaneous and visceral fat which can hinder vascularity. 

Fat will act as the balancing mechanism between protein and carbohydrates to ensure a gradual caloric deficit to facilitate steady mass gain and weight loss. Intake of healthy fat found in fruits like avocado and coconut. Nuts like macadamia and walnuts also have high healthy fat content.

An overweight individual should aim to reduce 0.5 to 1.5 pounds of excess weight per week until he/she achieves a good muscle-to-fat ratio at an ideal weight. This can be achieved through a caloric deficit of 300-500 calories from your recommended caloric intake per day.  


daily water intake

Lowering water retention requires the balancing of sodium and potassium in the body. Sodium can cause water retention while potassium can flush the water out from the cells. The Institute of Medicine recommends a maximum of 2300mg of sodium and 4700mg of potassium per day.

Drinking plenty of water can prevent water retention in cells. The recommended water intake is 3/4 gallon to 1 gallon of water per day for adults, with an addition of 1 to 1.5 liters per hour of workout. This can also be combined with a low-carb diet to greatly improve vascularity.

Certain hydration routines can also help in lowering water retention on specific days. Professional athletes and bodybuilders perform these routines in preparation for upcoming competitions or events.

An example hydration routine involves a loading phase of 4-5 days where the person drinks over 5 liters of water per day. Then, for the next two days, he/she will cut back on water intake or barely drink any water. On the day of the event, the person can drink wine to further reduce water retention

Diuretics can also help expel water and sodium from the body. Natural diuretics include coffee, celery, eggplant, and onion. However, water is usually taken with caffeine which counters its effects as a diuretic.

Supplements for Increasing Vasodilation

Vasodilation is the process of expanding the blood vessels. Nitric Oxide (NO) is the primary hormone that facilitates vasodilation in the body. As a vasodilator, it increases blood flow into the muscles for faster transportation of oxygen. The endothelial cells produce nitric oxide during physical training.

Certain supplements function as NO precursors to increase the production of NO in the body. They help promote vasodilation and improve vascularity. Glycerol and L-citrulline are known NO precursors as well as agmatine and ornithine.

Thermogenic products such as caffeine and ginger can also increase vascularity by increasing the heat produced in the body. This widens the blood vessels and raises basal metabolic rate.


Cardiovascular exercise and other aerobic activities promote fat loss by helping achieve a daily caloric deficit and reducing body fat percentage. These are essential factors for improving vascularity. 

Cardio can also increase blood pressure as the heart pumps more blood into the various parts of the body. This promotes cell swelling and expands the blood vessels.

While this can increase capillary density or size of the blood vessels, it can also produce smaller blood vessels which can also improve vascularity. 

“Pump” Workout Routines

arm pump

Pump workout routines, which facilitate metabolite accumulation and cell swelling, can help increase metabolic stress on the muscles. Greater metabolic stress stimulates the production of nitric oxide in the body which increases muscle endurance over time. Pump workouts are usually characterized by high repetition at reduced weights with short rests in between each set.

A nine-month vascular program, moreover, can provide the best workout structure to achieve optimal vascularity. These vascular programs are composed of three phases namely: strength and hypertrophy phase, fat loss phase, and shredding phase. Each of these phases lasts three months and works on building muscle mass and fat loss.

Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFRT)

Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFRT) aims to increase vascularity in specific parts of the body. Blood Flow Restriction increases the size of the blood vessels by partially restricting blood flow back to the heart and pooling blood in blood vessels in specific parts of the body. 

The common pump routine performed with BFRT includes four sets of leg extensions, tricep dips, and bicep curls with 10-15 repetitions and 30 seconds of rest in between sets.

Circulatory restriction methods can increase muscle size and vascularity. However, these circulatory inhibiting methods can be detrimental and dangerous if performed excessively. 

Final Thoughts

The various requirements on body fat, muscle mass, water retention, and diet make improving vascularity a great challenge, especially for those who do not possess the genetics for vascularity. More importantly, improving vascularity takes time as it often comes as the final touch in a well-defined muscular physique. 


Is Time Under Tension a Myth? An Analysis

Time under Tension (TUT) is a widely used time-based metric that prioritizes increasing the duration of repetitions and sets rather than weight lifted. This method was popularized in the 90s and was widely accepted and adopted as opposed to progressive overload. However, critics were quick to refute TUT and some even label it as a “myth.”

Time under tension is a fitness principle and is not a myth. It is a timing-based metric used with other fitness principles like progressive overload, metabolic fatigue, and cell swelling to enable adequate muscle growth.

Time under tension provides a good alternative to traditional methods of training. However, it is important to learn and discern the proper ways to use time under tension and how to incorporate it properly into an existing fitness program.

What is Time Under Tension?

Time Under Tension refers to the amount of time it takes to complete a repetition and/or set. For repetitions, people measure TUT with ratios like 3:1:1 or 5:1:5. These three numbers represent the number of seconds used to execute the three phases of the repetition. Sometimes, a fourth number is added to the ratio to represent the amount of time in seconds to rest before performing another repitition.

Repetitions of any exercise consist of three parts: eccentric phase, isometric phase, and concentric phase.

The eccentric phase is where the muscles become shorter and the muscle fibers are squeezed together. To illustrate, in a bench press this is where the barbell comes in contact with the chest.

The isometric phase is the transition between the eccentric and the concentric phase.

The concentric phase is where the muscles elongate. In a bench press this is when the arms are elongated as the person lifts the barbell away from their body.

types of muscle contractions

TUT ranges from 20 to 70 seconds. The common standards for strength, muscle mass, and endurance are 20 seconds, 40-70 seconds, and 70 seconds or more, respectively. People often use TUT as an alternative to counting repetitions in a set. In its heyday, this method of training led to the methodical timing of lifts.

People believe that increasing TUT will lead to a greater increase in muscle mass. Thus, instead of the conventional repetition counting, people began to alter the amount of time in seconds they devote to each phase of the workout. A 3:1:1 repetition will increase strength, while a 5:1:5 repetition is best for reaching muscle hypertrophy.

Scientific studies also support the TUT claim, stating that it helps in increasing protein synthesis essential for muscle growth. There is a popular belief that the eccentric phase of the repetition produces greater micro-trauma to the muscles than the concentric phase, leading to more muscle growth. This led people to double the time devoted to the eccentric phase of the repetition (hence 3:1:1 and 5:1:5).

TUT also altered the isometric phase of the workout, stating that pausing for one second before transitioning between the eccentric and concentric phase removes the potential for momentum and forces the muscle to execute the exercise. Resting for one second in between the eccentric and concentric phase also mentally activates the muscles and helps engage more muscle fibers.

Is it Better to Lift Slowly to Increase TUT?

The TUT fitness philosophy comes from the understanding that lactic acid build-up is a good indicator of muscle growth. Lactic acid build-up occurs when the muscles are worked beyond their normal capacity, and a burning sensation begins in the muscles during the lift. The TUT prescribes that people must slow down their lifts to activate the lactic acid build-up better in the muscles.

The TUT method activates Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and with greater intensity than traditional rep-counting workouts. It also has longer muscle recovery time than traditional workouts, which further convinced people on the effectiveness of the TUT method for building muscle.

Several benefits of TUT include the ability to focus on form to help prevent joint injuries. The slow, albeit controlled movement that’s associated with TUT also promotes more purposeful movements and greater mind-body connection. This subsequently leads to better breathing, better body alignment and posture, and greater muscle control.

Slower lifts also create greater tension in the eccentric phase of the lift. According to the TUT training philosophy, slower lift result in more tension in the muscles and allows you to reach hypertrophy faster with less effort.

The Process of Muscle Growth

muscle contraction

The most accepted explanation for the muscle growth process includes only three mechanisms: progressive overload, metabolic fatigue/stress, and muscle damage or cell swelling.

Most fitness experts would subscribe to the principle of progressive overload which aims to overwork the muscles towards metabolic fatigue to deplete its energy and signal anabolic growth for muscle gain through recovery from muscle damage. In this process, three crucial variables contribute to muscle development: frequency, intensity, and volume.

Frequency indicates the number of repetitions in a set; Intensity represents the amount of weight; Volume represents the total volume of weight lifted during the entire set.

Training volume, which is the combined values of weight x repetitions x sets, is one of the most important variables to assess the effectiveness of a routine. Volumes that do not reach beyond the capacity of the muscles do not effectively engender muscle growth.

Another important factor for muscle growth is mechanical tension. This represents the amount of stress the muscles experience during each repetition. A common adage among traditional fitness experts is that muscles do not know repetitions or cannot experience time; they only experience external stress or pressure. Thus, in terms of traditional fitness training, mechanical tension is a more important factor than time under tension for muscle growth.

Time Under Tension vs Progressive Overload

TUT is not a myth, but the foundations of its claims on muscle growth are contested widely in the fitness world. Training using time under tension is important for muscle growth, but it ignores other factors of muscle growth like mechanical tension and progressive overload. The TUT method relies solely on applying pressure to the muscle for longer duration without considering progressively overloading the muscles and applying optimal mechanical tension.

One of the primary basis for the perceived success of TUT is the longer and more painful DOMS, but traditional fitness experts say that people should never use pain as an indicator of workout success or failure. Truth be told, there is no scientific explanation for why DOMS occur. However most people subscribe to the beliefs above that micro-tears in the muscles result in Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

The flawed foundation of the TUT method is also exposed in scientific research as some have shown negligible improvement in strength and size in using TUT as compared with traditional methods. Other studies also show that faster paced training is more effective because of the higher peak force and training volume. There are also established scientific literature on the positive relationship between hypertrophy and training volume, while there are none for lifting tempo and muscle development.

Contrary to TUT, the best method to achieve higher training volume is through progressive overload coupled with explosive repetitions. This method takes advantage of the inverse relationship between the amount of tension and the amount of time for the lift. This means that people can only lift heavier weights for a shorter period of time before reaching muscle fatigue. Thus, people use explosive reps to stave muscle fatigue longer and perform more lifts using heavier weight.

The main flaw in TUT is its focus on lift tempo and lack of consideration for progressive overloading. The method prescribed in TUT of lifting slower reduces the total amount of training volume per set because lifting slower will force the individual to scale down on the weight in order to adhere to time per set/rep. Therefore, despite inducing DOMS, the total “work” being done by the muscle is reduced.

Final Thoughts

The main goal of TUT is to work the muscles longer by altering the timing of lifts. In terms of promoting muscle growth, progressive overload is the most widely accepted and time-tested method.


Which Household Mold Species are Dangerous?

Mold spores are around you at all times. There are also potentially hundreds of thousands of mold species to exist. Some species of mold are harmless, while others are capable of producing pathogens and mycotoxins.

Molds are typically classified based on their health effects on humans. Molds can be allergenic, pathogenic, and toxigenic. Allergenic molds cause problems in people who have allergies to certain species of mold. Where-as pathogenic molds can cause infections in humans, even in good health. Toxic molds actively produce chemical poisons with the intentions of harming other organisms.

Some mold species pose little to no harm to otherwise healthy people, while some produce mycotoxins that are unsafe to humans. It’s important to have a better understanding of the aforementioned classifications as apposed to a specific species of mold (there are hundreds of thousands).

How Molds are Classified

As noted above, molds are typically classified based on their likeness to cause adverse health symptoms in humans. Molds are either allergenic, pathogenic, or toxigenic. Just the same, dust can also be closely connected to the occurrence of allergic reactions. This comparison between dust and mold will surely clear things out for you.

allergic reaction boy


Molds that are classified as allergenic are apt to affect people who have allergies or are predisposed to asthmatic symptoms.

People who are allergic to a specific mold species can experience severe reaction when they come into contact with it (via inhalation, ingestion, or dermal contact). When the body comes into contact with the mold it has an inflammatory response in the upper respiratory tract.

It’s estimated that 20 to 30 percent of the population is susceptible to mold-based allergic reactions. However, most healthy people are unaffected by small amounts of exposure.


Our bodies’ immune system is able to fight off pathogens, however, pathogenic molds are referred to as opportunistic. Meaning, they tend to target people who have compromised immune systems like the elderly, infants, and people who take immunosuppressants.


Unlike the other two mold species, molds that are toxigenic actively work to produce harmful chemicals called mycotoxins. The purpose of these chemicals is to intentionally harm other organisms.

Both mature mold growth and mold spores can contain mycotoxins. As a result you can become exposed to it via inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact.

Dangerous Types of Mold

brick wall monochrome mold

As noted above, mold classifications typically help to outline which species have a likeness to cause harm to humans and be deemed “more dangerous.” However the following species are mentioned more than others in regards to their overall level of danger in humans.

Stachybotrys chartarum aka ‘Black Mold’

Stachybotrys chartarum aka “Black Mold” or “Toxic Black Mold” is one of the most recognized indoor molds. Stachybotrys chartarum takes on a greenish-black appearance.

This mold species is hydrophilic and requires high water content and low levels of nitrogen. It usually grows as a result of prolonged moisture exposure: water-damage, leaks, flooding, etc.

Black mold is also toxigenic and produces mycotoxins which are harmful when inhaled and ingested.


Another potentially harmful mold species frequently found in damp and water-damaged areas is Chaetomium. Many homeowners mistake Chaetomium for toxic black mold due to their striking similarities.

Chaetomium mold colonies grow rapidly, are cottony, and are usually white initially. The spores they release are bigger and heavier than the spores of many other mold species, so they’re less likely to become air-borne, except in cases where the mold has dried out and is disturbed.

Chaetomium molds are among the many molds that cause infections (pathogenic), especially to individuals with weakened immune systems. Causing skin and nail infections, internal lesions, cerebral infections, asthma, and allergic reactions.


It’s estimated that there are nearly 200 species of Aspergillus mold. This species of mold typically grows in warm climates when elevated levels of moisture are present.

Aspergillus usually has a velvety or powdery texture and their colonies can take on many colors depending on the species. The mold is commonly found in heating and air conditioning systems.

Symptoms of aspergillus exposure include allergic reactions as well as chronic sinusitis.


There are an estimated 250 species of Alternaria. This type of mold is one of the most common and is ubiquitous in nature.

At the start of growth, the surface of Alternaria colonies are greyish white, but darken and turn greenish-black or yellowish-brown with a pale-colored border when matured. Alternaria is highly airborne and grows rapidly.

Alternaria is known to cause asthmatic symptoms like coughing, wheezing, headache. High levels of Alternaria exposure is also associated with esophageal cancer.

asthmatic boy bed


There are roughly 300 species of Fusarium. This species of mold requires wet conditions in order to grow and is commonly found in humidifiers. However, most species of Fusarium are not found indoors.

The color of the Fusarium colonies varies from tan, white, and cinnamon to salmon, red-violet, pink, purple, or yellow, with texture ranging from flat-looking to hairy.

Fusarium infection can cause serious health problems including dermal reactions, asthma, and pulmonary problems like emphysema and pneumonia.


Penicillium is one of the most common fungi in the world and grows both indoors and outdoors. Like most species of mold, they tend to grow in colonies that range in color: including white, bluish-green, pink, and yellow, with a powdery texture.

When indoors, penicillium is most commonly associated with the spoilage of food-stuffs.

Where Toxic Household Mold Species Are Found

Mold thrives and spreads easily in warm, damp, and humid places, which explains why indoor molds frequently grow in areas with high water content and low ventilation like bathrooms, showers, and basements.

Toxic molds are also incredibly resilient, which means they can grow in practically all common building materials. They can grow well in wood and wooden surfaces as well as paper and paper products such as wallpaper, drywall, and cardboard. They can thrive in fabrics like carpets and upholstery and can also be found in other building products, including paint and insulation.

Most health problems associated with exposure to molds arise with long-term exposure and high levels of concentration.

Dust vs Mold: What’s the Difference?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is said to be up to five time worse than outdoors. Both dust and mold have a negative impact on IAQ. While dust isn’t mold, mold actively uses dust as a vehicle for transmission and a nutrient source.

Mold is part of the fungi kingdom and are referred to as Hyphomycetes. Molds are eukaryotic micro-organisms that reproduce asexually (primarily) via spores. Unlike mold, dust is not an organism. Dust is comprised of organic and inorganic particle matter like dirt, pollen, dead skin cells, pet dander, and lint.

Both dust and mold are airborne pollutants that contribute to poor air quality. Apart from one being a living organism, they have distinct differences that are important to understand.

What is Mold?

Mold is part of the fungi kingdom. It’s a non-scientific term used for many types and species of fungi. Fungi comprise a large number of organisms and roughly 300,000 species. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines fungus as “types of plants that have no leaves, flowers, or roots.”

In nature, molds are referred to as decomposers as they work to break down dead, organic materials like plants, trees, and various other detritus. In order for mold to grow and germinate, it needs an organic, carbon-containing nutrient source, like dust.

Regardless of mold species, most if not all indoor molds reproduce via spores. Spores exist all around us and can lay dormant for years. Once mold finds itself in the ideal conditions for germination, it will start to grow.

Ideal conditions for growth include moisture (water source), food source, and oxygen. Some molds also thrive in various ambient temperatures as well as lighting.

mold wall building

What is Dust?

In laymen terms, dust is a collection of tiny airborne particle matter. These particulates contain both organic and inorganic materials like dead skin cells, hair, bacteria, dead bugs, insect excrement, pollen, pet dander, food particles, etc.

The dust found in your house will depend on your environment. It’s also commonly believed that dust is primarily made of human skin, this is not true. Dust is primarily comprised of soot and airborne particles like pollen that are tracked inside.

How to Tell the Difference Between Mold and Dust

While mold test kits do exist, they can be expensive. Most people also want to be able to visually differentiate the two. However, you can use all your senses as means of evaluation.

Molds can grow in a variety of colors and are usually easily distinguishable. However, at their onset, it can be hard to see the difference between mold and dust. Mold also doesn’t wipe clean and germinate on whatever surface/nutrient source it’s on. Usually a damp cloth, if you’re able to wipe the surface clean, it’s likely not mold.

Besides being able to visually distinguish mold from dust, you can also smell the difference. Water Mold Fire (WMF) explains that mold has a distinct musty smell. It’s often compared to wet socks or rotten wood. Dust on the other hand will smell earthy, like dirt.

Gravity has more of an impact on dust than it does on mold. Gravity will pull dust to the top of a surface, rather than the bottom of it. If you find something growing on the bottom of a surface, it’s likely mold.

You can manufacture your own test with diluted bleach (1-part bleach, 16 parts water) and a cotton swab. Upon application of the swab, if you notice the spot quickly lightens (1-2 minutes) you can assume its mold. If it doesn’t change color, it’s likely dust or dirt.

Note: While bleach can kill some mold, the purpose of the test is to remove the color from the mold.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

The EPA notes that indoor air quality is 2 to 5 times worse than outdoors. This is especially problematic as Americans spend 90% of their time indoors.

Osha goes on to say that the most common causes of IAQ related issues are poor ventilation, lack of maintenance for heating and HVAC systems, and humidity.

woman sitting dusty air


By opening windows and doors, you allow the space to fill with fresh air and the potentially harmful air to leave the space. As low as humidity levels are maintained, the potentiality for the mold spores to germinate is minimal.

You can also make use of air purifiers to help filter indoor air. Air purifiers make use of filters like HEPA or High Efficiency Particulate Air filters. These filters are used to help remove dust as well as mold spores from the air.

HEPA filters are capable of filtering particles as small as 0.03 microns. Dust particles are between 2.5 to 10 microns and mold spores are sized between 1 to 30 microns.

These types of filters can also be integrated into air conditioning systems and furnaces. Typically, an HVAC and vents will use MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rated filters. A MERV rating of eight results in 70 to 85% of particles 3 to 10 microns in size being filtered.

MERV values range from 1 to 16. Essentially the higher the value, the more efficient the filter is.

These filters for both the furnace and air conditioning systems should be changed regularly. As they become pollutant laden, they lose their efficiency and can do more harm than good. It’s best to change air filters every 30 to 60 days depending on external factors.

Humidity and Moisture

Mold only grows in the presence of moisture. Higher humidity levels result warm air condensing on cold surfaces like plumbing and walls. Over time this process of condensation results in moisture/water build-up that mold uses to germinate.

The EPA details that indoor humidity levels should be kept below 60% and within the range of 30-50%.

In order to combat humidity and moisture build-up you can use a dehumidifier to remove water vapor from the air.

You can also work to insulate plumbing with closed-cell foam and duct-work with fiberglass to combat heat transfer and condensation. You should also ensure appliances like dryers are ventilated/exhausted properly.

Are Bulldogs Hypoallergenic? Things Allergic Families Can Do

Getting a bulldog when you have loved ones that suffer from allergic reactions to animals is probably not a good idea. Hypoallergenic dogs might work for you and while bulldogs are family-friendly, cute and loyal, they aren’t going to do your family’s allergies any good.

If a bulldog is what you have really set your eyes on, you can go for crossbreeds. Many of those who have allergies to animals have found it easier to handle bulldog cross breeds. The purebred ones are known for their high-allergen production, making them less than ideal for people who are a bit on the sensitive side.

People are often drawn to the cuteness factor of bulldogs. This makes it more tragic when one cannot even interact with them because of allergies.  However, for most people that have animal allergies, the reaction is going to be the same no matter the breed. There are allergy medications though that may help keep things in check. Going for dogs that are known to be low-allergen might also help.

sleepy indoors bulldog

Animal Allergies — Understanding the Causes

When allergies to animals first came into light, people believed that the long-haired breed could be the problem which led more people to go for the shorter or no hair breed. You can only imagine the surprise of their life when they found out that even the short-haired or even the no-haired nature of their pets didn’t stop the allergy symptoms at all.

There are various breeds that may cause allergies because of shedding. While hair-shedding does have an effect on allergies, it’s not really the only factor that could trigger the symptoms. Facial pain, rashes, sneezing and coughing can also be triggered with the things that are attached to the actual loose hair. This could include mucus, urine, dead skin cells and saliva. Cats and dogs have certain proteins and various fluids in their skin. Majority of the allergic reactions are usually caused by these proteins.

Allergens in Bulldogs

Most of the people that would want to have a bulldog as a pet are attracted with their sagging skin and their usually grumpy expression and droopy face. As it turns out, these same attributes make them some of the worst pets an allergic person could ever have.

woman holding bulldog

The cute little folds that bulldogs have require some thorough every day cleaning in between to reduce the possibility of them developing skin problems and infections. This particular grooming need will only cause pet owners to get exposed to the dog’s allergens. Unfortunately, it shouldn’t be skipped since this is crucial to keep them in the best health.

The breed isn’t known for heavily shedding. Unfortunately, they shed all the time. For the allergic pet owner, this means he will be getting no break at all when the pet won’t shed and would be essentially allergen-free. Their short hair is also a disadvantage to the allergic pet owner too. Their hair size means they can get stuck in every nook and cranny so, getting rid of them is next to impossible. They can even float in the air so you’re never really free from any dander that could trigger your allergies.

If you have a bad case of animal allergy, it is best to give up on your dream of ever becoming a bulldog owner. Consider other breeds instead, the hypo-allergenic ones. You may not have the same dog with the same look and personality as a bulldog but you could at least enjoy their company minus the constant coughing and sneezing.