Mushrooms in my home
Many people like mushrooms and the variety and textures available are endless. That being said, from time to time we get calls that people have mushrooms are growing in their home. On a ceiling, out of a wall or floor. What is going on in the home that this is happening? We will dive into that a bit more and explain what conditions are needed for this to happen. One thing to know is that you do have an underlying problem and it is not going to be just as simple as getting rid of the mushrooms.
What is a mushroom? It is a variety of plant that grows in very specific conditions. Since it does not use chlorophyll to grow it actually does much better in darker environments. Even indirect light from a florescent lamp can do the trick. One key thing that they do need is moisture, a high humidity environment is always present. While too much water will kill them moist environments are ripe for growth. They tend to grow on decomposing materials such as trees, leaves, mulch, soil, compost wood. An ideal temperature for mushrooms is 70 degrees F but a wild mushroom with the right environment can grow in a range from 40 to 90 degrees F.
With that out of the way let us explore why that matters to you and your home. Do you have a basement, attic or crawl space? Do you have a bathroom that is used at all? Is there a toilet in your home that has water in it? You are halfway there to having the right environment for growth. Do you live in an area with humidity levels that are tracked by the local weatherman? Yikes you are getting closer. Does the interior of your home feel humid and sticky? Have you ever had a water leak that you cleaned up on your own? How is the pitch and grade of the water away from your home? Do you live in a flood zone or have had more rain than normal? Was there a flood on your street due to a pipe break or excessive rain? If you answered yes to any of these questions you could have the right environment for mushrooms in your home.
Let me first explain that if you see a mushroom in your home you have mold in the house somewhere. You also have water that is getting onto surfaces that you do not want it on. Should you see mushrooms you must immediately work on finding the water source. A slow drip pipe leak, a toilet whose seal has broken even just a little bit could be the reason. There are a number of reasons for the water intrusion. Just removing the mushroom will not alleviate the problem. Once you find the source of the water and stop it, you must assess the true damage. Follow the path from the water source to the mushroom.
Let us provide you with a real life example.
Toilet leak: Owner knew about the toilet leak: It dripped from the 2nd floor bathroom down into their dining room and into the basement. The owner initially elected to clean it up on their own. Wiping everything down and cleaning the walls and ceiling they thought were affected. The unfinished basement was nominal in their eyes and they threw some cat litter on the floor to absorb the water. Thinking all was fine they went about their lives. Days later the dining room ceiling had mushrooms growing from it. What the owners did not do was clean between the walls nor did they dry out the spaces between them. The contaminated water that was trapped between the walls provided a prime environment for the spores of the mushrooms to grow and spread out from the mold that had started to run along the wood beams. There was a great deal of work that needed to be done to open up the walls and decontaminate everything that the water had touched and spread to. Had a professional been called initially they could have opened smaller sections and reduced the damage. There is more to the story but the moral is just because you cannot see it does not mean it is not there.
There are steps you can take to reduce moisture in your home.
Keep bathrooms as dry as possible when done using it.
Wipe the inside of the shower down.
Keep all towels off the floor
Use mats at all major entrances and especially in shower and bathroom areas
Have a professional check all the pipes for leaks
Inspect the toilet for a proper seal.
Call a professional if you have a water intrusion in your home.
The most important part of seeing a mushroom in your home is knowing that you have something bigger going on. You have to accept this and know that it is not as easy as getting rid of the visible problem. Even if you call a professional it is important to trust what they are saying to you and not be solely driven by money there can be major consequences should you ignore or not properly treat a mold problem. Remember there are all sorts of tips and tricks online not all of them are accurate.
Bleach may work on the mushrooms in your home but they do not work on the mold. Where there is mushroom there is mold. Be sure you do your research and don’t try to tackle this problem on your own.