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Does Bleach Kill Mold

Mold isn’t just smelly and unsightly, but it can also be structurally dangerous. It lives on the surfaces and materials that it invades, eating away the surface as it grows. Repeated exposure to mold in the most severe of cases can lead to death, especially for individuals who already suffer from weakened or deficient immune systems.

If you’ve done any research on mold, you’ve no doubt come across a variety of products for battling the substance. You’ve probably even seen some home remedies or two. Many boast about bleach and the powerful properties it offers for fighting mold, but what’s the truth? Do bleach and these home remedies offer a real viable solution for treating mold?

It is certainly marketed that way, but the truth of the matter is that bleach only offers a viable solution for nonporous surfaces like tiles and sink basins. Unfortunately, bleach doesn’t work so well on drywall or wood. Therefore, a lot of people that first try bleach on drywall are led to believe that it’s a non-effective solution. This isn’t the case at all! It is more about the surface and material you’re trying to treat.

Is Bleach A Viable Mold Killer?

Most people don’t realize that mold can be found anywhere. It is probably in the air you are breathing right now. Sounds frightening, right? Well, not to worry because mold doesn’t actually become active until it is exposed to moisture. Most people initially detect mold via the musty scent it produces. If you are really lucky, you might even spot a patch of black, brown, pink, or green fuzzy growth.

Will bleach remove these spots, stains, and odors? You better believe it! However, it will only remove it from certain surfaces. If that mold is on tile, vinyl, or porcelain, it’ll remove it. If those spots are found on porous material, it won’t work so well. Why?

When mold lands on a surface it spreads. It immediately spreads its root deep into the surface. With tile and similar materials, there are no crevices or deep down spaces for the fungi to tunnel into. However, with wood or drywall, there are plenty of deep, porous spaces for the roots to take hold. The bleach might remove the fungi from the top of the surface, but what’s left in those porous holes will only grow back and cause the stain to reappear.

If you are trying to clean drywall or wood with bleach and notice that the spots and stains are constantly returning, this is why! You aren’t getting down in the roots and removing them.

Bleach On Nonporous Materials

Bleach is highly effective for smell and appearance when it comes to nonporous materials. That said, there are some things you’ll need to keep in mind as you go about tackling the problem:

  • You’ll want to open nearby windows or turn on exhaust fans. This will help with the odor of the bleach and the spores. It’ll push them outside and away from the home
  • Also, make sure your central heating and air system is off during the cleaning just so you don’t accidentally introduce spores and odors into the system
  • Always acquire and wear the appropriate safety gear. Glasses, masks, and plastic aprons are a must for safe cleaning
  • Start by diluting 1 cup of bleach with a gallon of water
  • Stir the mixture and transfer it to a spray bottle
  • Spray the stain efficiently
  • Give the substance a few minutes to acclimate before tackling it with a stiff-bristled brush
  • When you have sufficiently cleaned the surface, you’ll want to clean and rinse the area with clean water and let it air dry
  • Throw away all your discarded materials and equipment

Is Bleach Itself Dangerous?

While bleach might be an effective household cleaner, it is also known for its toxic properties. Just read the labels and you’ll see all kinds of warnings. Simply put, it isn’t a substance you want to breathe for prolonged periods or get into your eyes, mouth, or lungs.

Why is bleach so dangerous? The biggest reason bleach is dangerous is because it is highly reactive. When combined with other substances and household cleaners, its properties become even more dangerous. It reacts negatively with ammonia, drain cleaners, and other acids. When bleach is added to the substances it releases potentially dangerous chlorine gas.

At lower levels and intermittent exposure, one might not notice the effects of the mixed substances. However, in large levels and prolonged exposure, the mixture of these substances might produce the following symptoms:

  • Chest pains
  • Breathing problems
  • Build-up and accumulation of fluid in the lungs
  • Pneumonia
  • Nausea and vomiting

Bleach can also have negative effects on the skin when exposed. Always be sure to rinse immediately if and when your skin is exposed to the substance. This is the exact reason for gloves

Are There Nontoxic Alternatives?

Although bleach is a common and effective household cleaner, many prefer not to even go near the substance because of its potentially dangerous properties. This is completely understandable and lucky for you there are some safer alternatives available. What are these safer alternatives?

  • Hydrogen Peroxide – 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 1 part water mixed in a spray bottle will be just as effective as the bleach mixture mentioned above
  • Vinegar – As unpleasant as it smells vinegar makes a more than effective household cleaner. It can be applied undiluted but needs at least an hour of acclimation after being sprayed on the mold. Wipe away and remove in the same manner that was described with the bleach concoction mentioned above
  • Baking Soda – Used for many ages and ancient household remedies, baking soda is another effective, safer alternative. Combining 2 tbsp with 2 cups of water and introducing it into a spray bottle will be more than effective for safer cleaning of mold. Make sure you stir and combine the mixture until the baking soda powder is thoroughly dissolved
  • Tea Tree Oil – Essential oils offer a lot of powerful healing and cleaning properties that most aren’t aware of. 2 tsp mixed with 2 cups of distilled white vinegar and put into a spray bottle will create a powerful household cleaning solution
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract – 10 drops of this powerful stuff with 1 cup of water mixed in a spray bottle will produce an effective cleaning machine. Spray, let acclimate for 10 to 15 minutes, wipe away, rinse, and let air dry

Always Prevent When Possible

It is always best to prevent problems when and where possible. This is especially true when it comes to mold. However, that isn’t always as easy of a task as some might have you believe. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any need for mold remediation companies. That said, there are effective ways that one can go about safeguarding their home and property against mold. Here are some excellent preventive ideas:

  • Always maintain appropriate humidity levels, especially in basements, crawlspaces, attics, and bathrooms
  • Maintain a clean, dry, and organized home
  • Tend to water leaks and excessive moisture problems immediately
  • Always run your exhaust fan when showering. If your current bathroom doesn’t have one, get one installed or crack a window and use a box fan
  • Ventilation in stuffy rooms can also help with reducing humidity
  • Carpeting is best avoided in basements and bathrooms, as this is only asking for trouble
  • Rugs and mats are excellent, but do a better job of making sure they stay clean and dry

Call our local office to schedule your free home inspection. Each inspection request takes between 24 and 48 hours to process.

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