Wednesday, May 18, 2022

How To Get Rid Of Mold Growing On Soil

Despite Its Alarming Appearance Fuligo Septica Is Harmless Not Only To Your Plant But Also To You And Your Pets

Using Soil : How Do I Get Rid of Mold in Soil?

Again, it shows up when the soil is damp, and theres plenty of humid, stale air.

And thats that. Moldy soil can be unsightly and give us pause to believe the worst, but as weve discovered, this common plant problem rarely has dire effects. And now that you know how to prevent it, it can be a problem of the past.

If you dont want a dog, but rather youd like more houseplants, I suggest reading the following:

How To Get Rid Of Mold On The Plant Soil

1) It is critical to remove the contaminated topsoil as soon as possible.

2) Citric acid or lemon juice and water potting soil

3) Potting using a new mix of soil

4) Oven drying or direct sunshine is an effective method for disinfecting soil.

5) Use charcoal to provide an antifungal agent to your plant soil naturally

6) Fungicide should be sprayed on the houseplant and the soil.

7) To treat an infection, combinebaking soda with antifungal medicines.

8) Dust the moldy soil with a little bit of coal grind.

Knowing why mold forms and in the plant pot soil, getting rid of that too, and keeping it from coming back are vital to gardening.

Remove Other Nutrients Encouraging Crawl Space Mold And Mold On Dirt

Mold might also be growing apparently on dirt but actually on something that spilled or was left atop the dirt – which could mean other fungal species than the soil fungi we just cited.

In any case if there is only a small amount of mold – a few square feet – it’s reasonable for a homeowner to remove the visible mold and surface soil – just an inch or less.

There may be fungal components deeper in the soil, but we’re going to address that by drying out the area rather than digging up the whole house.

Our photo of white-colored mold on dirt , was contributed by a client whose crawl space contained Meruliporia sp. fungus on the dirt .

We did not process a sample to identify this white fungus in the lab.

It may be a different species from others in the crawl area, and its growth may have been related to items such as cardboard or wood left on the dirt floor, or due to a buried concrete block – notice the roughly rectangular pattern of the white mold growth at the center-right in the photo.

But before sampling what looks like “white mold” on dirt or on a masonry surface, take a look

at EFFLORESENCE & WHITE or BROWN DEPOSITS – very often the white crystalline looking substance in these locations is not itself mold, though it is a moisture indicator, meaning mold may be nearby.

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How Do I Fix It

Physically scoop out the Fungus including the immediate top soil and dispose of it. If you are sensitive to allergens or have breathing difficulties be sure to wear a mask for this. Next sprinkle a fine and even layer of ground Cinnamon over the top soil. Cinnamon contains a natural and very effective fungicide which will kill any remaining Fungus. Be sure to allow the top soil to properly dry out before watering again, and preferably only water from below eg. directly to the reservoir of a self watering planter. Once the Fungus has cleared up, there is no need to continue applying the ground Cinnamon to the soil. This will only kill other forms of beneficial fungus in your soil.

Cinnamon contains a naturally occurring fungicide

Put Down Plastic Over Dirt Floors

How To Get Rid Of White Mold On Seed Starting Soil

Install a 6-mil or heavier poly / plastic vapor barrier over the dirt surfaces and up walls about a foot ideally you’d seal or affix the plastic to the walls.

Plastic will break the natural “moisture pump” that occurs when wet soil is below a building:

moisture evaporating into the air above the soil actually acts as a pump to draw more soil-moisture upwards: the dirt under the building, fed by an outdoor moisture source or by indoor leaks, continues to pump moisture into the structure.

See FUNGICIDAL SPRAY & SEALANT USE GUIDE for more information.

Our photo shows a white moisture barrier over the soil of a crawl space where a significant mold reservoir has been removed from the wood surfaces above .

You’ll note the shiny appearance of the wood.

The mold remediation contractor who handled this job elected to seal the wood surfaces after the cleanup was complete.

While the long-term life of fungicides that may be included in some sanitizers and sealants varies, the fact that the wood surface is sealed retards its moisture uptake so that in our OPINION that alone would help retard future mold growth.

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Reader Question About Mold In Dirt Crawl Space

Hi I have attached a few pics of the mold growth on my dirt crawl space each pic is isolated and no further spread is seen anywhere else.

I was actually shocked to see this strange looking growth. I do keep the crawl vents open but there is no forced air movement at all. Please assist as to how to safely remove.

The house sustained a fire in may of 2014 and the ac system has been off since. There are fans running in house though.

The only power to crawl space is to the sump pumps that discharge any water to the outside via pipes which none of the pics of the mold spores / mushrooms are even close to the sump liners of perimeter pipe in perimeter ditch.

There is no black plastic liner on dirt floor and no floor joist insulation, I removed all several years back when I dug my perimeter ditch and sump pits with the plastic liners. Thanks for any guidance! – G.E. 9/8/2014

What’s The Best Way To Remove Mold From Plant Soil

Another way to dry Mother Earth to remove mold is to decompose the soil and leave it in the sun. However, since you will have to transplant the plant later, it is best to throw the soil away and cover it with fresh potting soil. One of the easiest ways to remove white mold from the top layer of soil is to do it.

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Option #: Baking Soda Or Vinegar

Baking soda, with its high pH level , is able to interfere with the growth of the yellow mold. A water solution of 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 liters of water that you can spray on top of the mold. The day after, you can remove it.

Vinegar, for the same reason of baking soda, damage the yellow mold due to its slightly different pH . However, given that vinegar is not that of a strong acid, it might be a good idea to apply in its pure form . Again apply once and then the day after it should be dead ready for removal.

As always, when removing, just be careful as some spore might have survived, and you do not want to spread them in your indoor garden .

Why Mold Grows On Potting Soil

Getting Rid of White Mold in Houseplant Soil

Houseplants thrive in soil with an ideal moisture content. Mold, too, flourishes in damp areas, making overwatered plants a perfect breeding ground. The common white mold that latches onto soil particles is a type of Saprophytic Fungus, which feeds on and breaks down organic material.

Those with green thumbs will be comforted by the fact that Saprophytic Fungus will not directly cause damage to houseplants. Rather, the mold is a telltale sign that the methods used to care for the potted plants are, to some degree, faulty.

Mold infests the soil of indoor plants for numerous reasons. Overwatering produces an idyllic environment for spores. A pot with poor drainage also encourages mold growth. Using previously contaminated soil leads to unsightly mold. Moist, decaying matter in soil gives spores ample sustenance.

Following are four techniques to remedy the unpleasant mold infestations in potted plants. These methods are readily accessible to owners of indoor houseplants. Gardeners will also benefit from a few tips to prevent the recurrence of mold growth on the surface of the plant soil.

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What Type Of Mold Is It

Does the mold on the surface of your potted plants soil look something like this:

If so, then this is almost certainly something called saprophytic fungi .

Saprophytic means: an organism which consumes decaying organic matter. When you see mold in your potted plants, this is essentially your plants going wow, this soil is LIT!

Saprophytic fungi are known as litter transformers. By eating dead organic material, they literally change the chemical composition of that material into something valuable for the soil.

Saprophytic microbes are therefore very important to composting, as they break down the organic material added to compost piles to turn it into rich soil. They essentially eat garbage and poop out gold.

Note: Not literal gold. Lol.

Compost fungi that result in mold are most often actinomycetes. Now, were not expecting you to remember that fancy word, but just know that these guys are naturally occurring in soil and that their presence is a GOOD THING.

Does Cinnamon Kill Mold In Soil

Yes, cinnamon has the potential to kill mold growing on plant soil. Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde which has natural anti-fungal properties.

Sprinkling a thin layer of cinnamon powder on potted plant soil can help kill any mold that might be growing on it. The cinnamon powder will not harm the plant.

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Adjust Your Watering Schedule

Your watering schedule can determine just how vulnerable your houseplant soil is to mold growth. It is all too easy to walk around with your watering can topping up all the houseplants at the same time.

Unfortunately, this is not the best watering schedule, as each plant will have different water requirements. Overwatering plants is the number one cause of mold growth in indoor plant soil and this is because a soggy growing medium encourages growth of mold and fungi.

Prompt attention is required when you realize that you have been overwatering your plants. When the houseplants soil is showing mold growth and you pay no attention, the damp can lead to serious damage such as root rot.

To prevent this from happening, only water your houseplants when the top layer of soil is dry. Do a touch test to check that the top of the soil is dry before watering. You can do this by pushing your finger into the soil. If the top two inches of soil is dry, you can safely water the plant.

This is a general rule of thumb and not the case for every plant, as some plants like their soil to dry out completely between watering. As such, it is best to do a bit of research into what your specific plants watering needs are.

Watering indoor plants is one of the most important aspects of houseplant care. Over watering and under watering are the cause of so many problems with houseplant care. Read my article which covers everything you need to become an expert at watering indoor plants.

Significance Of Indoor Soil Fungi

How To Get Rid Of Mold In Houseplant Soil

A broad range of fungal species among at least seven genera may be found growing on or in soil and because the interaction between soil and seed fungi has been studied widely in work on plant pathogens, they are studied worldwide.

However, texts that help identify soil fungi may be incomplete when it comes to mold on or in or beneath buildings.

Building conditions that produce mold growth may generate fungi that vary from how they may appear in the lab in a culture plate, and building mold, even mold on dirt in a crawl space may appear different from the same genera/species growing in nature, say in the woods.

And because mycologists so often study fungi prepared from cultures, in my experience, texts used as identification guides may present photographs of fungi that do not necessarily match what these same genera and species may look like when found in nature.

Here we provide photographs of fungi growing on soil in or beneath buildings.


This article does not address the much larger topic of the genera of soil fungi. For that topic see Tsuneo Watanabe, Pictorial Atlas of Soil and Seed Fungi, Morphologies of Cultured Fungi and Key to Species, Second Ed., CRC Press 2002, ISBN 0-8493-1118-7. .

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Remove The Soil Affected By White Mold

If you detect a superficial layer of mold on the top soil of a plant pot, you can remove the affected areas. We can do this with a trowel, i.e. the little spade commonly used in gardening.

  • Punch the trowel between 1 and 2 centimeters deep into the soil and remove that first layer affected by fungi.
  • Once removed, scoop out the rest of the soil with the shovel. Do so carefully so as not to damage the roots. This way you will be able to aerate the substrate and help it to get rid of excess retained moisture.
  • Let the plant air out for at least a day and fill your pot with a new layer of clean soil.
  • For some plants, it might be best to move the plant altogether. We detail how to do this in our article on repotting cacti.

    Kill Mold In Soil By Flushing The Soil With Antifungal Neem Oil

    Use a neem oil solution to flush the soil and kill off mold in the soil. Mix two teaspoons of neem oil, one teaspoon of dish soap, and half a gallon of water. Use to water your contaminated plant thoroughly. Wait until the soil dries before watering again. If necessary, flush with neem oil once a month to prevent fungus growth. Research shows that neem oil has antifungal activity.

    The benefit of neem oil is that it helps get rid of fungus gnats on houseplants as well as other insects.

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    Protect Houseplants With An Anti

    In some cases, the soil may need a helping hand for keeping mold and fungus at bay. If you live in a damp or cold area, it may seem difficult at first but even using a natural anti-fungal and adding it to the soil can greatly help with the situation.

    There are several nice natural anti-fungal options available. Some great ones include apple cider vinegar, cinnamon as well as baking soda. And rest assured, none of them will ever harm the houseplant providing you do not overuse them.

    You can try mixing these into the soil or even sprinkle them on the top surface of your houseplants soil. However, make sure not to overdo it as putting too much of it in can harm the soil. A couple of sprinkles or several spoons per houseplant is enough so make sure to keep these amounts in mind. Neem oil or SB Plant Invigorator is both perfect for killing molds and the video below although made for controlling pests with these products will show you how to use them.

    Reasons To Remove Mold

    White mold plant soil – how to get rid of mold in plant soil

    While in general, mold on plants is not dangerous to humans, some people that are sensitive to mold spores can have a reaction to the mold. For this reason alone, you want to make sure to keep mold growth under control. For some people, exposure to mold can become a life threatening situation.

    There is also an aesthetic reason behind removing the mold. It can just make your home look and smell dirty, even if it is otherwise spotless. Even if mold does not currently bother you, it could in the future, the more you are exposed to it.

    Eventually, mold can kill your plants by starving it of the nutrients it needs to survive, so you will definitely want to remove it.

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    Other Methods To Control White Mold

    Proper Watering

    Soggy soil invites problems like saprophytic fungi and may even lead to more serious problems such as root rot. A proper watering technique ensures that the plant will get the necessary amount of water it requires without leaving the soil is excessively wet conditions.

    You need to water your houseplants only when they truly need it. As a rule of thumb, you should water them in 6-inch pots whenever the soil is dry at the depth of 2 inches. As for the plants in smaller pots, they should be watered whenever the soil is dry at the depth of 1 inch.

    Keep adding water slowly and carefully until you notice it running out of the holes which are in the bottom of the pot. As for the excess water draining from the pot, you should discard it promptly.

    What To Do About Mold On Dirt Under A Building: 5 Steps

    Many readers have asked us what to do about mold found growing on crawl space dirt or on a dirt basement floor.

    I’ve often seen orange and yellow molds and yeasts growing on wet dirt in these areas. After the following summary we’ll offer more-detailed suggestions for dealing with mold on the dirt floor of a crawl space or basement.

  • REMOVE obvious heavy fungal or mold growth from the dirt surface
  • INSPECT for and clean off or remove mold from other surfaces in the same area
  • DRY OUT The dirt-floored area and stop the water or moisture sources
  • INSTALL a 6-mil or heavier poly / plastic vapor barrier over the dirt surfaces
  • CHECK for rot or insect damage in the area
  • Below we expand on those five steps for dealing with mold on dirt under buildings.

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