What Does Mold Look Like In A Yerba Mate Gourd?
One of the most common questions we receive is whether a gourd has mold inside. It can be understandably freighting to see what could potentially be mold inside your yerba mate gourd.
In this article we'll go over how to spot mold versus the normal "curing" process of a gourd. If you haven't already, read our article on Taking Care of Your Yerba Mate Kit too.
What Is NOT Mold?
A dark green stain will appear on the inside of the cup the first time you use your mate gourd. This is completely normal. As you continue to use your gourd, the stain will spread and appear darker. After awhile, it may appear completely black on the inside.
Here's a few pictures of the inside of a mate gourd that's been used with NO mold.
What Does Mold Inside a Mate Gourd Look Like?
Admittedly, it can be a bit difficult to see whether it's mold or not. A definite way to determining whether you have mold inside your mate gourd is if you see fuzzy white or black spots. The fuzzy stuff is called Hypha. In the future we'll attach pictures here to help identify it. Feel free to reach out to us if you'd like your cup to be included here!
What If There's Mold?
You don't need to throw away your mate gourd. It's safe to clean and use again.
Don't worry. You are unlikely to die or get sick from it as long as your immune system is in good shape. It doesn't mean you should take the risk though. Clean it properly if you're unsure.
How Do I Get Mold Out of a Gourd?
Here's how to clean out your mate gourd if you suspect there's mold inside. Note that in the following pictures, no mold can be seen. It's only for demonstration purposes.
1. Boil water and let sit an hour or more.
Believe it or not, the inside of a gourd can handle extremely hot water. Don't be afraid to pour 100°C / 212°F degree water. Careful not to pour water on the outside of the gourd, especially if it's wrapped in leather as it may damage it. It's unlikely to crack but if you're afraid, don't go above 100°C / 212°F.
Do not use soap or anything else besides water as it may affect the taste of future use of the gourd. Using simply boiled water is enough to remove the mold.
2. Remove the water and scrape off the mold
Grab a spoon and scrap off with a butter knife or spoon. Rinse with room temperature water once you're done.
3. Pat dry with a paper towel
Pat dry it with a towel and leave the towel inside for an hour to absorb any remaining water. The paper towel will help remove any residue from the sides and bottom of your gourd.
4. Dry in direct sunlight
Let it sit outside or near a window with direct sunlight to dry. Be sure to turn your gourd if it's on a drying rack to finish.
Where Does The Mold Come From And How Do I Prevent It?
Moisture in the air or environment is the main cause for mold to appear inside a mate gourd. That's why it's important to always dry them after every use to avoid the growth of fungi.
While possible, it's uncommon to find mold inside other types of cups like ceramic, glass, or silicone cups.
If you're using the gourd daily, it's less likely to form mold as it's not giving enough time to form. This doesn't mean you shouldn't properly clean it after each use though.