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Can Mold Grow on Metal?

When you think about mold, you probably think about a dark splotchy substance that adheres to drywall, or wood. However, there seems to be a misconception among some people about when and where mold is able to grow…

Some people are under the misconception that mold is incapable of growing on surfaces such as metal. The truth is that mold is capable of growing in a large number of places so long as the right conditions are in place.

Here we will learn more about what mold needs to grow and whether or not mold can grow and thrive on metal. Let's begin.

What Does Mold Need to Grow?

There are two things and only two things that mold needs to thrive, survive, and grow. Those two things are moisture and nutrients. Without those two things, mold cannot survive or spread.

Does Mold Grow On Metal?

If you want to know whether or not mold grows on metal, the short answer is yes—however, other factors at play need to be considered when discussing mold growth on metal.

You need to understand that just because mold grows on metal, that does not mean that the mold is eating away at the metal like it would on other surfaces such as wood, carpet, or drywall. Mold is not corrosive enough to be able to penetrate most metal surfaces, particularly steel.

Factors That Affect Mold Growth on Metal


As previously said, mold requires moisture in order to be able to grow. One of the most common sources of moisture that mold needs that can be found on metal is humidity. 

Humidity leads to high levels of condensation buildup. Condensation is enough moisture to cause mold growth to develop. Metal is particularly prone to condensation build-up as temperatures fluctuate.


It needs to be understood that cold temperatures do not kill mold. Cold temperatures can only slow or stop its growth. However, it thrives in higher temperatures. Temperatures in excess of 140 degrees can kill mold, but below that mold growth can accelerate.

Exposure to Organic Materials

Once its atmospheric needs are met, the mold must have a source of nutrients. The best source of nutrients for mold is any organic material. This is why mold grows on wood, dead vegetation, or other organic materials.

If the organic material is porous, then that is more beneficial for the mold because it allows it to penetrate further into the material.

How to Prevent Mold Growth on Metal

Avoid Humidity

One of the first things you can do to prevent mold growth on metal is to control the humidity of the mold’s surroundings. There are two ways to do this. The first thing you can do is ensure there is good airflow.

Good ventilation and airflow dry out the environment and rob mold of the moisture it needs.

Clean and Dry Metal Regularly

Mold cannot eat metal. However, it can eat any grime or residue that is on top of the metal. For this reason, it is a good idea for you to make a point of regularly cleaning and drying any metal that you are concerned about.

Doing this regular maintenance goes a long way toward preventing future mold growth on metal.

Use Protective Coating

If you really want to prevent mold growth on metal, one of the best things you can do is purchase a commercially available coating designed specifically to give the metal a protective coating. A protective coating is like a suit of armor for your metal. It locks moisture out alongside mold growth.

There are numerous different coatings on the market, so shopping around is a good idea.

How to Remove Mold From Metal Surfaces

Use Natural Cleaning Solutions

One of the first things you can do to get rid of mold on metal surfaces is to thoroughly clean the surface. You can use natural cleaning solutions that discourage mold growth, such as diluted essential oils. You can even use a mixture of white vinegar and water

A simple cleaning solution is so effective because the mold on metal is strictly surface mold. Because mold can only grow on metal, and not eat it, a simple cleaning will suffice.

Use Chemical Cleaners

If you want to really be sure to eradicate the mold on your metal, then you want to use chemical cleaners that are designed to kill mold.

Many of these types of mold cleaning solutions include mold growth preventative coatings, meaning that you do not have to worry about mold rearing its ugly head any time soon.


Mold is not exactly a threat to metal. While it can certainly grow all over it, it cannot actually do any damage.

However, that does not mean that you should not attempt to get rid of mold when you find it on metal. Remember that mold can spread, so if there is mold on a metal surface in or around your home, it is only a matter of time before mold spreads to the remainder of your home.


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