What Kills Mold? Bleach vs. Vinegar
Nobody likes finding mold in their home because it is an ugly sight and potentially dangerous. Mold causes structural damage by feeding on common building materials including wood and drywall as it spreads to new areas by dispersing its spores. Exposure to the spores can lead to negative health effects such as allergic reactions and even asthma or lung infections in extreme cases. You must call a professional for mold removal if the mold covers a significant area. However, if you find small amounts of mold in your home, you can take care of it yourself with household products before it becomes a major problem.
Most homeowners either use bleach or vinegar for cleaning mold but only one of these options is effective. This guide takes a close look at each option.
Cleaning Mold with Bleach
According to conventional wisdom, bleach kills mold growth. However, bleach just kills the mold on the surface without affecting the membrane underneath. You need to kill and remove this underlying membrane to effectively remove the mold growth. Bleach cleaners cannot kill this membrane because its chemical structure prevents it from penetrating porous surfaces. Therefore, the mold membranes can move deeper into the affected surface to hide from the bleach.
Another problem with using bleach is that it can actually multiply the mold growth. Mold can use bleach as a food source once it has been exposed which will cause the mold to grow back faster. Even the EPA advises against using bleach for removing mold. Fortunately, there is another household item that can kill mold.
Cleaning Mold with Vinegar
White vinegar is effective for killing small amounts of mold. It can kill over 80 percent of mold species commonly found in your home and as a mild acid, it can help prevent mold as well as remove it. Make sure you follow these steps when cleaning mold with vinegar:
- Protect yourself from exposure to the mold by wearing protective gear such as gloves and a mask.
- Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle but do not dilute it.
- Spray the moldy areas and let the vinegar sit for an hour so that the mold can absorb it completely.
- If you need to scrub the mold, do so with a baking soda solution. Pour 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a spray bottle and shake well.
- Spray the moldy area with the baking soda mixture and use a scrubbing brush or scouring pad to scrub the mold. Wearing protective gloves will protect you from direct contact.
- Use clean, warm water to rinse the area.
- Spray the vinegar again over the area and let it dry naturally to make sure all the mold has been killed.
If you notice a small amount of mold growing somewhere in your home, vinegar is the best option. If the mold growth is too severe or widespread, you must call a mold remediation professional immediately. Removing small amounts of mold with vinegar is safe and effective but any substantial amount requires specialized equipment and training. Mold removal professionals will ensure all mold in your home is removed safely and effectively.