Mold is not a topic that most homeowners want to think about. If they are discussing mold, it is likely because they have discovered some mold in their home, and as it can be both dangerous and costly, the chances are if you have found some you are desperately trying to determine how to get rid of it as soon as possible.
You may be wondering if you can do the remediation yourself and if so, what type of chemicals or cleaners you should use. Luckily for you, we’re here with those answers!
Bleach is NOT the answer for many mold issues
Be honest. What is the first chemical that comes to mind when you think of cleaning up a mold problem? Is it bleach? Chlorine bleach is often regarded as the answer for removing and halting mold growth and is, as such, usually the first thing many reach for when cleaning a mold contaminated area. Yet while bleach may be effective in certain applications, it will not exonerate mold on a porous surface and can actually contribute negatively to certain mold problems. This blog post will explain three reasons why bleach should not be used to combat mold and give better alternatives for you to choose from if you have a mold problem in your home.
Bleach loses effectiveness over time
Chlorine bleach rapidly loses its effectiveness. If you leave a glass of chlorinated water out on the counter for a few days, the chlorine will evaporate – even within the container. This evaporation process indicates that it will be hard to ascertain the true potency of your chlorine bleach solution as the chlorine can escape through plastic. It may have been sitting at the store, or in your home for some time, diminishing the ability to perform.
So, if you don’t know how old your bleach is (or you happen to know that it is fairly old), your cleaner may not be effective at all. What may end up happening is that the older bleach will only partially kill the surface mold and create a bigger mess than you already had.
Bleach does not kill mold on porous surfaces and can actually contribute to mold growth!
If you read the label on your bleach bottle, you will probably see that it is only designated for non-porous surfaces. This means that chlorine bleach can only kill surface mold. Because mold can grow deep roots within porous surfaces, such as wood and drywall, bleach will not assist you in exterminating mold. As the chlorine cannot penetrate to destroy the growth at its roots, therefore, it remains on the surface while the water component of the bleach reaches further, which can actually feed the mold growth. So, if you want to completely eliminate the mold from your home, bleach is definitely not the answer. The worst part is that you may think you have completely eliminated the mold when, in fact, you haven’t.
Bleach is toxic
Chlorine bleach produces fumes that pollute the air and can become harmful to both humans and pets. Chlorine bleach also generates a by-product called dioxin, which is linked to cancer. Used over time, bleach builds up these pollutants in the environment. As we’re sure you’ll agree, the last thing you want to do is create more toxic chemicals in your home – mold is toxic enough! There are many safer alternatives which are also much more effective at getting rid of mold.
So, what should you use to kill mold?
There are many considerations that need to be evaluated when determining whether you should clean up the mold yourself or hire a professional. Always do your research and choose wisely. Sometimes DIY mold removal ends up being a bigger headache than it is worth and can actually cost you more money in the long run.
If you have ascertained that it is safe to clean up the mold yourself, there are a variety of options available. The most important step is to determine the cause of the moisture and make any necessary changes to assure that mold will not return and the area is properly ventilated. Some issues will need to be resolved by cutting out the moldy material and completely replacing it. This will make sure that the mold roots are removed and will not return.
You should also consider testing to determine what type of mold you are dealing with as that may help determine what type of chemical you may need to remediate it. There are a variety of mold test kits you can buy, or you can have a professional test it for you. Some types of mold and mildew are easier to get rid of than others.
Some people use vinegar, borax, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil or ammonia to kill mold, especially on small areas and non-porous surfaces, as well as sanitizing mold and mildew on clothing. More specific biocides may be needed if you are dealing with a porous surface that you cannot remove, such as wood framing.
Proper treatment for mold growth will depend on the surface it has populated. Always consult a professional before attempting to remediate a mold problem yourself. If you don’t have experience with mold remediation the EPA recommends that any mold problem larger than 10 square feet be examined by an expert.
Mold is a serious issue and should be taken seriously. There are many potential health concerns associated with being exposed to mold and if you have a mold issue in your home, you shouldn’t take the remediation lightly. Consider calling in a professional mold remediation company or a mold expert to advise you on the best course of action. If you do decide to clean up the mold yourself, research and do your due diligence before choosing a chemical to clean it.
Brian and Krystle Reeves manage MoldBlogger.com, a website dedicated to providing a place to share and receive information that will better allow individuals to fight and conquer toxic mold and the consequences of mold exposure.