How to tell if it is Mold or Efflorescence?

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How to tell if it is Mold or Efflorescence?

Mold has become an issue that homeowners have become more aware of, and is of concern seeing as it can impact the value of your home and your health. If you are trying to sell your home, it can prevent a sale from going through. However, if you are lucky you may be confusing mold for efflorescence. There are some key differences between mold and efflorescence.


Efflorescence is considered a residue, it is the migration of a salt to the surface of a porous material, where it forms a coating. The essential process involves the dissolving of an internally held salt in water, or occasionally in another solvent. The water, with the salt now held in solution, migrates to the surface, then evaporates, leaving a coating of the salt. However, contrary to mold, it will not spread or grow and is not a fungus. It generally looks like white deposits, but can vary depending on what type of material it is coming through. Normally, efflorescence is not harmful to your health. If it is appearing in your home, it could mean that there is a bigger water issue, which could lead to issues with mold or the structure in the future.

Is it Mold or Efflorescence?

If you notice the white residue on other materials other than concrete or other types of masonry, then it more than likely is mold. If the area of concern is greater than 10 square feet, then you need to contact a licensed mold remediation professional. You need to make sure that the moisture issue is resolved and taken care of, otherwise the mold is bound to return.
If you are unsure if it is mold or efflorescence, then spray it with a little water and wipe it off with a rag. If it is gone, then it is more than likely efflorescence, which is good. If you are still in question or just want to make sure, then contact a mold expert and they can send someone out to evaluate the area of concern or test for mold.

What do I do if it’s Mold?

If you have mold in your basement, it generally means you have an issue that is severe enough where you should have a professional evaluate it for you. Even it if were a small area that you tried to clean yourself, you would need to make sure to wear the proper protection and make sure that it does not spread to other areas of your home. In addition, if you do not correct the moisture issue then the mold will continue to come back. Therefore, it is best to contact a mold professional, Comprehensive Mold Management would be happy to come out and evaluate your mold or moisture problems. If it is efflorescence you can clean it yourself, but you want to keep an eye on it to make sure it is not the root of a larger issue which can lead to mold.