When a property owner or land manager discovers a mold infestation, the first thing that typically comes to mind is a DIY cleanup. In many cases this is adequate, but it is important to realize that large mold problems may require professional mold removal services. However, if it is a small cleanup, killing mold with household cleaners is a possibility.
The most common cleaner people will use to remedy a mold infestation is bleach. It is classified as a “biocide,” which means it will kill living organisms. This is excellent when you are trying to kill something you may not be able to see. Bleach will kill mold, but the harmful mold spores are not removed by the product. This means some harmful elements of the mold could remain. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not fully recommend bleach for mold removal but does admit that professionals will use it. You can mix bleach with dish soap to improve its penetration on porous materials, but DO NOT mix bleach with other cleaning products. Accidentally mixing bleach and ammonia-containing products can be deadly.
Many people turn to vinegar for their household cleaning needs because it is natural, and it is possible for vinegar to clean SOME of your mold infestation. However, the EPA does not recommend this because it is less effective than other methods. If you are going to use vinegar anyway, don’t dilute it. You’ll probably have to clean multiple times for it to be effective.
Hydrogen peroxide has also proven to be effective in mold removal to a certain extent. Don’t use the highly concentrated peroxide. A 3% solution should do the trick when sprayed on a moldy surface. The EPA does not indicate whether or not this is an effective remedy, but it does classify hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant. This means it doesn’t kill mold but can remove it.
Moisture and Ventilation are Key to Killing Mold with Household Cleaners
The EPA does not recommend DIY cleaning of mold infestations that are larger than 10 square feet. However, if you have a smaller mold problem, you may want to tackle it with household cleaners. Your key to success will be ensuring your moisture problem is remedied and you have proper ventilation. It is impossible to remove every mold spore from a building. Instead, you must eliminate the environment that allows them to grow.