Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by Louise Carter
Sleeping in a bedroom with black mold growth can have severe health implications. Prolonged mold exposure is very harmful, so don’t sleep in a room with black mold for more than 1-2 nights.
Mold can make it difficult to fall asleep and aggravate issues like snoring, sleep inertia, and daytime sleepiness. The very young and elderly are more affected by mold exposure than healthy adults.
Sleeping in a moldy bedroom involves inhaling fungal spores, perhaps triggering an allergy or asthma attack. Prolonged mold exposure damages the lungs and delays cognitive development in children.
Mold can be removed from a bedroom wall with specialist cleaning materials or scrubbing distilled vinegar or bleach onto the mold and washing it away with warm, soapy water.
Cleaning black mold off a bedroom wall isn’t a permanent solution. The spores will return. After cleaning the wall and letting it dry, apply a trusted mold-resistant paint.
Mold-blocking paints prevent mold growth (they don’t kill it), hence why it must be removed.
Do Bedrooms Get Moldy?
Mold can arise anywhere in a home, especially in rooms with high moisture levels, like bathrooms and kitchens. Bedrooms can also have mold issues, which are even more problematic.
Mold is a fungus that relies on warmth and moisture to grow and flourish.
This means a bedroom with external walls may be at risk of mold growth, especially if the home has a dampness problem. Clothing, bedding, and pillows in a bedroom can also grow moldy.
Leaks and spills can cause mold in a bedroom. If you spot signs of mold growth, check to make sure you don’t have a leaky roof or water from pipes, windows, or radiators creating moisture that’s not drying.
Mold doesn’t rely on a direct water source to grow and multiply. If your sleeping space isn’t well-ventilated, it may become excessively humid. A dehumidifier can reduce the humidity.
What Mold is Found in the Bedroom?
The most common mold in a bedroom is black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum.) As the name suggests, this mold is usually black but can also look green.
Black mold has a reputation as the most dangerous fungi, although this isn’t technically the case. Black mold can adversely affect your health, but the same applies to all mold.
Aside from visually identifying mold growth, other warning signs include:
- A musty smell caused by Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOCs.)
- Condensation on mirrors and windows.
- Closets and walls that feel damp to the touch.
- Mildew is a white film that can be scraped off a surface and often precedes mold.
- Cracks in paint or peeling wallpaper.
Don’t ignore these warning signs of black mold because it harms humans and animals.
Can You Get Sick from Sleeping in a Moldy Bedroom?
The bedroom is the most dangerous part of any home to get black mold. If you get the recommended amount of sleep, you’ll breathe in mold spores for around 8 hours each night.
Anyone who sleeps in a moldy bedroom for a prolonged period may eventually grow sick. Breathing in mold spores for weeks, months, and years causes “mold sickness.”
Immunocompromised people, or those with pre-existing breathing difficulties like asthma or COPD, are most at risk of mold sickness. The very young and elderly will also succumb to mold poisoning sooner.
Regularly breathing in black mold spores impacts the airways and makes breathing increasingly difficult. Over time, mold sickness can damage internal organs, including irreparable lung damage.
Cognitive issues have also been linked to black mold inhalation. Physiology and Behavior explains how children who sleep in moldy bedrooms underperform at school.
What Are The Signs of Mold Sickness?
Breathing in mold spores can provoke an immediate allergic reaction or slowly and insidiously impact your health. Warning signs of mold sickness include the following:
- Stuffed or runny nose whenever you get into bed or wake up.
- Regular sneezing and coughing.
- Itchiness around the eyes, potentially leading to overactive tear ducts.
- Dry skin, no matter how much you moisturize and hydrate.
Many people initially confuse mold sickness with a common cold or chest infection.
If you take medication to resolve these everyday concerns and don’t see results, check the bedroom for signs of black mold. You may unwittingly be breathing in fungal spores.
How Much Mold Exposure Is Harmful?
The more mold in the room and the longer you’re exposed, the more serious the health implications.
A couple of spots of black mold here and there will need to be addressed before it worsens, but it won’t be as serious as a substantial patch of mold covering the entire wall.
As you spend 7-9 hours in a bedroom, you’ll become increasingly exposed to mold.
How Long Does it Take to Get Sick from Mold Exposure?
There is no hard-and-fast rule about how long mold exposure takes to make itself felt. The weaker your immune system, the sooner mold sickness will manifest.
In healthy adults, expect mold to start causing problems after several months of regular, uninterrupted exposure. Someone with a weak immune system may feel the impact within days.
Can Sleeping in a Room with Mold Kill You?
Nobody will fall asleep in a moldy bedroom and quietly pass away at night due to breathing in mold spores, but that doesn’t mean that black mold won’t eventually make you seriously unwell.
Prolonged sleeping in a moldy bedroom will damage the lungs so much that it becomes impossible to recover. Black mold may not be a direct killer but can contribute to a secondary cause.
Somebody who has a severe allergic reaction to black mold may need medical attention, especially if they find it impossible to breathe, and the same is also true of people with life-threatening asthma.
Is It Bad To Sleep in A Room with Mold for One Night?
A healthy adult with no pre-existing allergies or health conditions can likely spend the night in a moldy bedroom. However, this is best avoided if an alternative is available.
If you only notice mold immediately before bed, don’t try to clean it until morning. Ignore any side effects of mold (likeliest to be a foul smell), and tackle the issue upon waking.
Infants, the elderly, or anybody with a weak or unreliable immune system should never expose themselves to black mold, especially overnight. Find somewhere else to sleep.
How To Sleep in a Room with Mold
Avoid sleeping in a moldy room if you have a spare bedroom or a comfortable sofa. Environment International links black mold to insomnia and other sleep issues, like snoring and daytime fatigue.
If you must sleep in a room with black mold, improve airflow. If safe, open windows and extract as much moisture from the bedroom as possible. Consider using a tower fan to distribute air.
If you prefer to sleep with the door closed, open it until the mold concern has been addressed. This will allow more air to flow and prevent you from breathing in recycled, musty air.
Preventing Mold in A Bedroom
Avoid letting mold form in the first place. Ways to achieve this include:
- Keep the bedroom ventilated at all times.
- Don’t expose the bedroom to extreme changes in temperature.
- Allow external walls to breathe – don’t place closets or bookshelves against them.
- Clean water spillages and repair leaks within 48 hours.
- Don’t overfill closets, and keep clutter to a minimum.
- Close bathroom and kitchen doors to prevent steam from reaching the bedroom.
Check for signs of mold regularly. If you see any, take urgent action.
How to Get Rid of Mold in the Bedroom
Many stores sell black mold cleaning products. These can applied directly to the impacted area and washed away with soapy water. Alternatively, bleach or distilled vinegar can be effective.
Wear gloves and a face mask to avoid breathing in fungal spores when washing mold off walls or soft furnishings. The chemicals have a strong smell, so open the windows for ventilation.
Paint over the impacted area with mold- and damp-resistant paint, but only after cleaning a wall.
Don’t just cover black mold with paint or drywall. The mold will continue to grow behind this surface, and the lack of ventilation will make the problem more pronounced.
Is It Safe to Sleep in A Room After Cleaning Mold?
Don’t clean mold off a wall or another part of the bedroom at night.
The chemicals used to eradicate mold are just as dangerous when breathed in for several hours, so give them time to work and allow the smells and side effects to pass.
The best time to clean black mold is the early morning when you have no reason to use the bedroom. Open all the windows after cleaning to allow the smells to dissipate.
You’ll likely be free to use the bedroom within an hour of cleaning black mold. Scented candles or incense can mask any lingering chemical aromas.
Black mold adversely affects human health and the structural integrity of a property. Resolve black mold in the bedroom immediately to prevent your home from becoming unsafe.