General Mold Removal
Mold comes in several different forms. Mold is basically categorized as toxic or non-toxic. Mold can also grow on different surfaces and infect porous surfaces too. In this section we will look at several ways to kill mold that is non-toxic and is considered surface mold only.
Bleach – does bleach kill mold?
Mold is a generic term for fungus. There are hundreds of fungus species, and yes, bleach can kill virtually every species you find indoors along with its spores.
Instructions: Mix one cup of bleach per gallon of water. You can use a sponge or spray bottle to apply the bleach. Letting the solution dry, without rinsing, will allow it to inhibit future mold growth. If the affected area is accessible to children or pets, then you may want to use a milder alternative or rinse the affected area. Bleach will also release harsh fumes, so make sure your work area has the proper ventilation before applying the solution and wear the appropriate safety equipment including respirator mask.
This cleaner has a low toxicity level and a high pH count. This makes borax an excellent low fume, natural mold killer. Borax can be purchased at your local market and is commonly used to clean toilets, but is also great for killing fungus.
Instructions: Mix one cup of borax with one gallon of water. If possible, vacuum the affected area using a HEPA type vacuum. Scrub the affected area with the solution, wipe off any excess solution when finished. Borax doesn’t emit harsh fumes, so ventilation is not that critical but it can be toxic, so consider rinsing the area if it’s accessible to people.
There’s a slight trade-off using vinegar, it’s natural and safe, but kills only 78 percent of mold species. Distilled vinegar is cheap, it’s non-toxic, there’s no fumes, and you don’t have to worry about exposure to pets or children.
Instructions: Use distilled vinegar at full strength. Spray the affected area and let dry. Wipe the area clean of any moisture; any smell will dissipate in a few hours. Since distilled vinegar is not 100 percent effective, you’ll need to keep an eye on the affected area for any future mold growth. You can also spray the area every week, until you are satisfied the mold is gone forever.
Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)
Hydrogen Peroxide is another natural alternative that is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Hydrogen peroxide is well known for its antiseptic properties for wounds and scars, but it is effective for killing mold too. Peroxide can discolor materials, so test a small area if there’s floors or fabric material involved in the cleanup.
Instructions: saturate the affected area by spraying the hydrogen peroxide directly on the mold (no dilution required). Let dry, then wipe area clean of residue. Mold can leave stains – peroxide can help reduce leftover mold stains.
What Kills Mold and Mildew?
People think of mold and mildew as two different things, but they have similar characteristics. They can both spawn spores, they love moist/warm areas, and they both can irritate allergies and respiratory problems in people. The good news is, you can use any of the solutions mentioned above to kill them.
What Kills Mold on Porous Surfaces?
Wood, drywall, grout, and carpets are surfaces susceptible to mold infestation. The remediation process for porous surfaces requires cleaning, killing, and prevention of spores spreading to other areas of your home. The first thing you always want to do is prevent the mold spores from spreading. For this you may use a HEPA vacuum for cleaning up any loose mold. Next, wipe off any surface mold as to expose areas of the porous material where mold has penetrated the surface.
You can then proceed to kill the mold with one of the four solutions mentioned above. The problem that exists is, porous surfaces can hide spores and you’re not certain that all were killed. The solution is, you can purchase paint with a fungicidal sealant that will contain and kill any stray spores left behind.
We haven’t covered toxic mold removal because the process is much more detailed, and chances are you will need a professional remediation service to do the job right.
Killing mold is the easy part, discovering the underlying cause and fixing it might be more challenging. Check out our sections on removal products and DIY mold remediation for ideas and suggestions to stop mold from growing in your home.