Does Mold Die in Freezing Temperatures?

Real Estate Agent with Kims Properties

Molds are fungal microorganisms that flourish in the presence of moisture and decay. Mold fungi feed on dead organic matter and sometimes living organisms. Mold reproduces through spores which are dispersed by air currents. Although we know how mold comes about, do we know anything about how to get rid of it? Like does mold die in freezing temperatures? Freezing temperatures can cause mold spores to hibernate, but it doesn’t kill them. Immediately when temperatures rise after a winter spell, the spores will reactivate and grow into mold.

Even when the indoor and outdoor temperatures drop, the availability of food and moisture can sustain the dormant spores through to the next warm season. There might not be germination under freezing conditions, but the spores will weather the stormy winter and thrive and reproduce when the sun shines.

Does Mold Die in Freezing Temperatures? - Prevention Tips from Pros

Requirements of Mold Growth
Temperature is just one of the requirements for mold growth. The other two include starch from organic materials and dampness. The only way mold can die is when all these three factors are controlled.

Mold species grow at room temperatures. For that reason, you will always find these fungal intruders thriving in basements, kitchens, and bathrooms. When temperatures drop down to freezing levels, these microorganisms press pause on life, to be resuscitated again when temperatures get warmer. Molds even grow faster when the temperatures levels rise beyond room temperatures. It is therefore not possible to destroy molds by controlling your room temperature.

Like warm temperatures, humidity is required for the growth and survival of molds. When there is the right amount of moisture and dampness, dormant molds can spring back to life and start producing more spores. This is especially prevalent when there has been water damage to your floors such as laminate, hardwood, carpet. Mold grows well at relative humidity levels of about 70% percent. It is therefore essential to maintain these levels at below 65% in your home.

Mold depends on organic materials for nutrients. Paper, wood and cotton lines are high-risk candidates for mold growth. But leather, adhesives, and hair are not immune either. Mold can also exist in unlikely surfaces such as plastic and metal. It is not feasible to remove mold by eliminating these materials.

Stop Mold Growth the Right Way
The most effective way to stop mold growth is to take moisture out of the equation. By doing this, you deny the spores a chance at germination, eradicating the menace at the roots. Ensure that the humidity levels are kept low, and avoid organic materials in damp areas in the attics, sinks, and basements. Quickly spot and rectify leaky roofs, leaky pipes, and poor drainage.

You can also stop mold growth by increasing ventilation in your home. Open the windows and doors and let the fans run. Optimal ventilation helps to keep the interiors dry, reducing the chance of spores dispersal and germination.

Also, note that mold is not necessarily white - it could be brown like dirt or assume the color of paper surfaces. In the early stages, mold resembles filaments in cobwebs, which then grow into a fluffy white appearance as it matures. It is soft, slimy and damp. Dormant mold appears in the form of dry and powdery deposit on materials. Both active and inactive molds have a musty smell. It can also come in a black form that is highly toxic to humans.

Bottom Line
So, does mold die in freezing temperatures? Mold does not die in freezing temperatures. Instead, it becomes dormant to spring back to life when temperatures rise again. You can only destroy mold growth by maintaining a dry surface.

Comments (21)

Bob Ratliff
Robert Ratliff Realty - San Antonio, TX
"Sold with Bob"

The word "mold" in real estate is run as fast as you can in most cases, but mold can be remedied as you mentioned treat mold quickly to eliminate the spores spreading. Good to know mold does not die in freezing temps but takes a nap... thanks for sharing.


Dec 07, 2018 08:16 AM
Charlie Dresen
Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty - Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro

Great information Kim Anderson and working in Colorado where it's often cold, this kind of knowledge is ket. Thanks for sharing. 

Dec 07, 2018 08:27 AM
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Thanks for sharing this information, Kim Anderson. Here in the 'Northeast" humidity is a problem most of the time and therefore mold does well. Knowing you can't 'freeze it away' is helpful!


Dec 07, 2018 08:42 AM
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Mold can be a hot-button issue here but is most often remediated to everyone's satisfaction. 

Interesting to know that mold survives our frigid winters . . .

Dec 07, 2018 09:44 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

There forms of life that co-exist as we do and separately too...We as stewards determine what will or wont profit us and act accordingly. Mold must go. Same with virus, bacteria and invasive/intruder dynamics (parasites). It goes on & on

Dec 07, 2018 10:28 AM
Bob Jakowinicz
National Realty Centers Livonia--Bob Jakowinicz - Livonia, MI
Michigan Real Estate Agent-- MI Real Adventures

Nice informative post, nice job.  Gives us a good idea of what to do around the house to set the conditions right so mold does not grow.

Dec 07, 2018 10:30 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

It would be nice if freezing temps would kill dreaded mold lurking in homes across the country. Remediation is the only way to ensure it's demise.

Dec 07, 2018 12:16 PM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

This is valuable information for homeowners and real estate related professionals.

Dec 07, 2018 09:28 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

MOLD!  its evil.... unless its in beer or cheese!  this is a great post.. I knew the answer but I loved your delivery! 

Dec 07, 2018 11:44 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

This is an interesting post on mold and how to get rid of it (or not). I can usually smell it before we even get in the house. In fact, I was out for a run one day and I ran past a foreclosed home; the driveway might have been about 50 feet or so long and I was on the road and said, "Hmm, that house has mold". 

Dec 08, 2018 03:03 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

This is a question lots of people wonder about and thanks for the myth busting that helps all home owners, every real estate professional Kim Anderson !

Dec 08, 2018 03:34 AM
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Great information on a very important subject of mold.

Mold does not die in freezing temperatures. Instead, it becomes dormant to spring back to life when temperatures rise again. You can only destroy mold growth by maintaining a dry surface. 

Dec 08, 2018 04:11 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Does bleach kill mold - or make it spread? I've heard both.

Dec 08, 2018 10:28 AM
Janice Zaltman
United Realty Group - Boca Raton, FL
South Florida Residential Real Estate

Mold seems to be everywhere in Florida. It's important to limit its ability to grow. Low humidity does not exist here. Thinks it s great to ventilate the home when the air becomes cooler. Many people never open their windows here. 

Dec 09, 2018 08:14 PM
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Excellent information, thanks for your post. 

Dec 10, 2018 06:51 AM
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Great in depth look at mold and how it will stay dormant even in the cold.  Here in Florida mold is a big issue and many don't know about keeping temperature and humidity down to prevent growth.

Thank You!

Dec 10, 2018 12:48 PM
Mari Velasquez
Olympus Executive Realty - Orlando, FL
Real Estate Agent serving central Florida!

I had some customers that had mold in their rental and went through a lot of health problems.  Mold is dangerous, thanks for sharing this information.

Dec 12, 2018 11:12 AM
Joshua Lother
Gwen Fowler Real Estate - West Union, SC
Real estate pro serving the Golder Corner

Thanks for sharing. It's always humid down south, so mold always comes up, especially in older properties that haven't been maintained well. 

Dec 13, 2018 05:49 PM
Robin Wells
WellSwept Chimneys - Victoria Harbour, ON
Giving Peace Of Mind One Chimney At A Time

Thanks for post.  Always good to have information.  And yes most are afraid of mold(s).  Reality is the spores are everywhere, inside and out.  They are everywhere and yes some are very bad, some not so much.  But good to know how what they need to grow and how to have them tested and eliminated.  

Mar 10, 2019 06:15 PM

Interesting read... and so true! Remediation may get rid of mold but what keeps it from coming back? Mold started to grow because of moisture, warmth, food and oxygen. There is little to "control" since we (as humans) live off of the same things! We need to stay warm in the winter, we need oxygen, we need food... The only controllable factor here is moisture. We produce the moisture from perspiring, showering, cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc... that doesn't include pet water bowls, wet towels, plants and aquariums. We are releasing the moisture which is creating the perfect storm for mold to re-occur again even after a remediation. The only way to prevent mold or eliminate is with an in-wall dehumidifier that removes the moisture and lowers the relative humidity inside the home below 60%. Mold cannot grow without moisture. Check it out! It's hands free, tankless and tamper proof. Does the work for you while you enjoy life... AND it works! A simple solution to a big problem.

Nov 19, 2019 07:39 AM