One of the most effective ways to permanently get rid of nasty mold is to use a bleach solution to kill mold. Mold can start growing at any household, no matter how clean and tidy you keep your home. However, getting rid of this mold does not need to be a difficult task.
Does bleach kill mold?
Bleach has the innate property of cleaning and sanitizing an area while killing the bacteria and viruses on the surface of the material. Bleach will neutralize mold spores, while it destroys the active mold.
While bleach works effectively on non-porous surfaces like glass and tiles, it cannot work as effectively on porous surfaces such as wood and drywall. Bleach is unable to penetrate the fiber, thus, only killing the mold lying on the surface of the material.
Using a bleach solution to eradicate mold works effectively on non-porous surfaces like glass and tile; however, for porous surfaces, you will need to use something which can effectively get absorbed into the fiber. Since the mold below the surface continues to grow and spread its roots, it can come back, even if managed to eradicate the mold on the top.
How to kill mold with chlorine bleach
Bleach consists of a group of chemicals which can both have industrial and domestic use. The various applications of bleach are:
- To lighten hair color
- To clean and remove stains
- To whiten surfaces
- For disinfecting and sterilizing
- To kill viruses, bacteria, and algae
- For removing mold
How to use a bleach solution to remove mold in your home:
- It is important to properly ventilate the room where you would be performing the bleaching activity. Open the doors and windows to allow proper air circulation
- Bleach can burn through and damage the skin, so it is essential to protect yourself with appropriate rubber gloves and protective eye gear.
- Mix a cup of bleach per gallon of water considering the amount that you want to use. This solution should equal 1:10 of bleach to water ratio. You can check the instructions on the bleach packaging in case they recommended a different rate.
- Apply the bleach to the mold surface either with a microfiber cloth, a sponge or with a spray bottle. However, you will not be able to reuse the sponge or cloth after putting bleach on it as the components of bleach will damage the microfiber cloth and sponge.
How to kill mold with oxygen bleach
Sodium percarbonate, also known as oxygen bleach (link to Amazon) is an excellent alternative to chlorine bleach. This bleach effectively cleans, sanitizes and kills bacteria and viruses off the surface where it is applied. Oxygen bleach is available in powder form and used after mixing with water. The by-products of oxygen bleach (which are hydrogen peroxide and sodium ash) are environmentally safe, and you can use them without any fear of causing damage.
Oxygen bleach is available on the market and is very affordable. There are many cleaning products on the market (such as OxiClean) which contain oxygen bleach.
Oxygen bleach is preferred over chlorine bleach because it is just as effective in deodorizing and sanitizing; however, unlike chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is environmentally safe. All the ingredients of oxygen bleach are natural, safe and biodegradable as there are no components of nitrogen or phosphorous.
Oxygen bleach cannot stain or discolor and fade clothes, wood, or any surface that you are using it on, hence, it is a safe alternative to chlorine bleach, which does cause some amount of fading and staining.
Another disadvantage of using chlorine bleach is the fumes that it creates if mixed with vinegar or ammonia. These fumes are toxic if inhaled by humans. However, oxygen bleach is safe and does not produce any such fumes. You can mix it with other detergents and household cleaners without any fear of creating a toxic substance.
How to use an oxygen bleach solution to destroy mold:
- Every packaging of oxygen bleach contains special instructions, telling you how to use the oxygen bleach for maximum results.
- Add oxygen bleach to warm water to dissolve it well in the recommended ratio which you can find on the packaging.
- Add this solution to a spray bottle and spray it all over the moldy area. You can also apply the oxygen bleach solution on to the surface by using a cloth or a sponge.
- Let the solution sit undisturbed for about 15 minutes, after which you should rinse the area thoroughly and dry it off.
- You can also make an oxygen bleach paste by adding just enough water to the powder to make a paste and then putting this over the moldy surface.
- Keep in mind that you must use the oxygen bleach solution within 5-6 hours after making it, after which it will become inactive.
Is it safe to clean with bleach?
While bleach does effectively kill mold, it is recommended by the EPA to use natural products instead, such as vinegar and borax, instead of using a chemical compound like bleach. Another disadvantage of bleach is the fact that it slowly loses its potency, even if the bottle is unopened.
Bleach is also extremely corrosive and deteriorates the materials on which you use it. The toxic fumes from bleach are harmful if inhaled. Bleach also can give you chemical burns if it comes in contact with skin.
Although bleach can create dioxins while bleaching wood pulp, fortunately, this is not a risk you will face when using bleach for household cleaning. Dioxins are very toxic and can even cause cancer. Animal testing has revealed that coming into contact with dioxins can cause congenital disabilities. These dioxins are usually present in the industrial manufacture and use of bleach and can be extremely detrimental to the environment as well as to humans and animals.
Is it safe to mix cleaning products with bleach?
Bleach, when mixed with other products might cause toxic fumes which are very dangerous if inhaled. To avoid this from happening, follow these tips:
- Do not mix bleach with other cleaning products or detergents
- Don’t mix bleach with ammonia and acids. (you should not mix toilet cleaners with bleach or other bleach containing products)
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions at all times
- Just add water to bleach when cleaning; it is best not to add bleach or products containing bleach to any other cleaning products, detergents, ammonia, acids, etc.
Guidelines for removing mold safely
- When killing mold with bleach, it is essential to keep the safety of yourself and those around you as the top priority. Bleach can have a lot of detrimental effects. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Coming in contact with dead mold can also be dangerous, as exposure to any species of fungus can increase your risk by 1000 times.
- Wear a TC21-C or N95 protective mask (link to Amazon) to protect yourself against inhaling the toxic fumes produced by bleach.
- Always wear protective gear such as goggles, gloves, protective clothing, and disposable booties when cleaning with bleach.
- In case you suffer from an allergic reaction to bleach, call in a professional to do the work instead of risking yourself. You can perform a small patch test to test your allergic reaction.
- Be aware of the risk of airborne spores when cleaning.
- Isolate your working area with plastic sheets.
By correcting the underlying moisture problem, you can permanently eliminate mold growth from your home. Mold spores are present everywhere, but by eradicating moisture from the areas, you can prevent mold growth from occurring.
The natural alternatives to bleach for killing mold
Using natural products like borax and vinegar is better than using bleach which is a chemical compound. Soda ash, washing soda, concobrium, Simple Sudz, and ammonia are also great natural alternatives to bleach.
You might also find useful the Anti mold spray for carpet.
You may try removing the mold by power washing.
It was interesting to read that bleach is good to get rid of mold for non-porous surfaces like glass and tile but it’s not very effective for things with fibers. My mother is worried that there might be mold in the walls of her basement from a broken water pipe. At this point, she’ll want to probably hire an experienced professional who can actually get rid of it once and for all.