3 Non-Toxic Ways to Clean Mold

By: The Maids Team | May 2, 2012 3:17 pm
Category: Healthy and Green Cleaning

Mold may be growing in your home and you don’t even know it, that’s because mold loves dark, warm, humid places to live. Your basement, kitchen and bathroom are at the most risk for mold and bacteria growth because they are in constant contact with moisture. When the conditions are right, mold can grow within 24-48 hours. Leaving mold untreated can cause respiratory illnesses as well as be a major factor for year round allergies. That is why it is so important to kill mold at first sight.

Here are 3 household solutions for cleaning mold.


1. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial solution that kills mold effectively on a variety of materials such as kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, floors and walls.

To kill mold: Pour 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Saturate the moldy surface completely and leave it to sit for 10 minutes.

Next, scrub the area to remove all of the mold and mold stains. And finally, wipe the surface down to remove residual mold and spores.


2. Vinegar

Vinegar is a mild acid which can kill 82% of mold species. (Baking soda is often used along with vinegar for killing different species of mold).

To kill mold: Use white distilled vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle without watering it down. Spray the vinegar onto the moldy surface and leave it to sit for an hour. Finally, wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours.


3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mild, white mineral powder, that can be used to kill mold in your home, plus it is safe for your family and pets. Besides killing mold, it will absorb moisture to help keep mold away.

To kill mold: Add one quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle of water and shake until it has dissolved. Spray the moldy area with the baking soda and water solution, then use a sponge or scrub brush to remove all the mold from the surface. Next, rinse the surface with water to remove any residual mold on the surface. Finally, spray the area again and let the surface dry. (This will kill any left-over mold and prevent the mold from returning).


All of these solutions are great non-toxic alternatives to chemical based cleaners. Not only because they are safe to use and safe for the environment, but all of these products inexpensive and easy to find in your local store.


Happy Cleaning,


Miss A

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  1. Chris- Mold Removal :

    Jun 10, 2013 7:57 pm | Reply

    These are all great tips for mild case mold. None of those will penetrate the surface. If the mold is on tile or glass or something non porous then these are great to use but if the mold is growing on wood or drywall your going to want something that can penetrate and remove it for good. Thanks for the read!

    • Johnathon Evartt :

      Oct 23, 2014 6:03 pm | Reply

      If it has penetrated drywall or wood then it might be best to consult a professional remediation or mold removal company. If it has gotten to that point, chances are it has probably developed somewhere else too and can cause some major health problems.

      • The Maids Team( author ) :

        Oct 29, 2014 3:48 pm | Reply

        Great point Johnathon!

  2. laquitta :

    Jun 20, 2013 6:41 pm | Reply

    I think Chris makes a great point about the mold growing on tile in drywall. How do we take care of that

    • The Maids Team( author ) :

      Jun 26, 2013 3:00 pm | Reply

      Great Questions! Removing mold from tile can be a grueling process. Begin with scrubbing the mold off of tiles and grout with commercial tile and grout cleaners, or find a natural alternative. Use a scrubbing brush and good ol’ elbow grease along with your mold-killing project and attack your tiles. After, you’ll most likely find that there are still mold stains left on the grout. Use bleach to fade them away (make sure you do a spot test first and wear gloves to protect your hands). Leave the bleach sit for 10 minutes. There are also natural cleaning alternatives to bleach like baking soda and water. Rinse the bleach or mixture off the grout with water. Give it time and this should fade away the grout stains.

      Unfortunately, there is no way to completely remove mold from unpainted drywall since it is a porous material. You’ll have to cut the sections out and replace with joint compound. If the drywall is primed or painted, the mold shouldn’t have penetrated it. If this is the case, you can simply wipe or scrub the mold away using a mold killing solution.

      • amanda :

        Jul 6, 2013 8:39 pm | Reply

        Ah…bleach, now were getting somewhere – there went your good ole “natural,non-toxic” cleaning down the drain – why do people keep up this vinegar and baking soda crap??? People have claimed it works miracles from cleaning surfaces – to disinfecting – to unclogging drains – to killing mold. I have tried to scrub a sink with baking soda, didnt come clean, used Comet…- the sink comes brilliantly clean. Used baking soda and vinegar to unclog a clogged sink drain…- no effect whatsoever, used Drain-O…clog removed. Used baking soda to wash clothes – big mistake- had to rewash several times with laundry soap to get it out. Same thing with surfaces, it has to be rinsed many times to get it off, Glass-plus is the best cleaner for surfaces. vinegar doesn’t clean or disinfect anything and will not remove or kill mold. Alcohol or bleach will. The thing is – baking soda as well as vinegar are ingredients for cooking, that’s all.

  3. DGreen :

    Sep 24, 2013 5:11 am | Reply

    I see a lot blog comments that debate the effectiveness of natural cleaners such as vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Do you know of any research on these products and their effectiveness on mold?

    • The Maids Team( author ) :

      Sep 25, 2013 8:47 pm | Reply

      Great question, DGreen, there’s been quite the debates on both vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. There is a lot of information out there with both studies for and against. The best way is to find a solution that works for you, all of the solutions here have pros and cons, these are just some examples that we have seen results with and are happy to share with our readers looking for some more non-toxic ways to clean.

      Here are a couple resources to look to.
      A study by a microbiologist at Good Housekeeping found that vinegar is 90 percent effective against mold, and 99.9 percent effective against bacteria.

      The Berkley Properties Owner Association has done studies on hydrogen peroxide and it’s effectiveness against mold. They’ve comprised this report that explains the proper application.

      Don’t forget you can always leave the cleaning up to The Maids. They provide customers with cleaner, healthier homes through using environmentally preferable cleaning products, a strategic, methodic cleaning approach and state-of-the-art equipment, including our patented back pack vacuum with HEPA filtration that can capture up to 99 percent of all dust, allergens, bacteria, pet dander, pollen and other pollutants.


    Sep 24, 2013 6:51 pm | Reply

    Mold Removal with Borax
    There are many advantages to using borax to kill mold. For starters, borax is a natural cleaning product and although it is toxic if you swallow it, borax does not emit chemicals or dangerous fumes like some other mold killers. Borax, a white mineral powder, has a pH level of about 9 (baking soda is pH 8.1 and pH 7 is neutral) and a low toxicity.

    Borax is commonly used as a deodorizer as well as for cleaning toilets and drains. Borax is also used as an insecticide, herbicide and fungicide and it can be mixed with water in a solution to kill and remove mold as it is a natural mold inhibitor. You can buy borax in supermarkets for a few dollars from the laundry section.

    How to Kill Mold with Borax

    1/ To kill mold using borax, create a borax-water solution using a ratio of 1 cup of borax per gallon of water.

    2/ Vacuum up any loose mold with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner to lessen the number of spores stirred up into the air during the cleaning process.

    3/ Use a scrubbing brush with the borax-water solution to scrub the mold off the surface.

    4/ Wipe up any extra moisture and excess mold particles or dust/debris to prevent them spreading into the air once the surface has dried.

    5/ You don’t need to rinse off the borax as the solution will prevent more mold beginning to grow on the surface again.

    Leave the surface to dry completely.

    • The Maids Team( author ) :

      Sep 25, 2013 8:12 pm | Reply

      Thanks for the tip Macmullen! We’ll definitely have to add this to our list.

  5. sharon beach :

    Nov 27, 2013 1:19 am | Reply

    I like the idea of the borax cleaning solution for mold, my question is can it be used on unfinished wood (e.g. floor joists) in a basement? I really need something that will clean up these areas because the house has been without electricity for a year and we need to be able to clean it ourselves without the fear of reactions to harsh chemical residues. Thanks for your help.

    • The Maids Team( author ) :

      Dec 4, 2013 3:51 pm | Reply

      Sharon – You could clean the drawers with a solution of 25 percent bleach in water. This will kill the mildew and mold, and enable you to remove it with some soap and water. Some discoloration may remain in the wood. The solution is caustic, so be careful with it.

      Good protection for the future would include a good coat of primer and paint or perhaps polyurethane. The mold and mildew grow because of the presence of sufficient moisture. Wash the wood one or more times with a solution of:
      2/3 cup of trisodium phosphate
      1/3 cup of detergent
      1 quart of household bleach
      Enough water to make a gallon
      Caution: Wear rubber gloves.

      • evelyn :

        Oct 28, 2014 3:16 am | Reply

        On the floor joist in my garage it’s white mold on the wood (non painted) what is trisodium phosphate? I have a 2 car garage & it’s getting on my leather seats in my car. Thanks for any help

        • The Maids Team( author ) :

          Oct 29, 2014 3:41 pm | Reply

          Hi Evelyn, Trisodium Phosphate is a compound that is an ideal cleaner for tough jobs, it is very heavy duty. Although, most trisodium phosphate based cleaners that are specifically for the removal of mold and mildew are more for preparing surfaces for painting.

          As for getting rid of mold on the wood, there may be some small amount of mold left below the surface of the wood because it is a porous surface. It shouldn’t regrow and cause problems if you keep the moisture in your garage to a minimum. To clean the moldy wood, scrub from the surface using a sponge, cloth or scrubbing brush along with some water and detergent or other household cleaner. You can use a mold killer, like bleach. Another option of course is to remove and replace the wood with mold on it. Usually this is not worth the cost and trouble compared to cleaning.

          Here’s a good article about removing mold from leather for your car seats: http://autoresource.internetautoguide.com/clean-mold-out-car-seat-1341.html

  6. Home Cleaning :

    May 27, 2014 8:57 pm | Reply

    Great post! Been reading a lot about getting mold out of my carpets. Thanks for the info!

  7. Kulas :

    Jun 25, 2014 10:46 am | Reply

    Hey thanks! I’ve been removing this molds for a long time and I never take precautions. Thanks to this blog!

  8. sahmed :

    Aug 13, 2014 12:33 am | Reply

    What if it is in your carpet… then what does one do to remove it?

    • The Maids Team( author ) :

      Aug 20, 2014 4:46 pm | Reply

      In many cases, if mold has grown on carpet, cleaning will not be possible. If growth has occurred on more than one area of the carpet, or if there is a large area of growth, the carpet will probably need to be replaced.

      Small areas of growth that have been quickly identified can sometimes be dealt with. Detergent and water used with a steam-cleaning machine may be enough to clean the carpet thoroughly. It is then important to ensure that the carpet dries completely after cleaning to prevent the growth from recurring. Stronger cleaning agents can be substituted if detergent does not work. Anything stronger than detergent or common rug-cleaning products should first be tested on an inconspicuous area of the carpet to ensure that the rug will not be damaged during cleaning. About 24 hours is a reasonable amount of time to wait after testing to be sure that wider cleaning will not discolor or damage the carpet.

      Read more here: http://www.nachi.org/carpet-mold.htm

  9. MommyJ :

    Sep 5, 2014 1:32 am | Reply

    Hey my sons pack and play has mold from his bottle that I just now caught.
    Could I use the vinegar and baking soda on that or since it’s fabric do something else??

    • The Maids Team( author ) :

      Sep 5, 2014 3:36 pm | Reply

      Here’s some great steps to remove the mold from a pack and play. Make sure to check the area frequently for returning mold or mildew, mold spores can be difficult to remove.

      1. Begin by mixing one part water with one part vinegar.

      2. Moisten a soft cloth with the mixture and rub it over the mold stain.

      3. If the piece is white, a small amount of bleach mixed with water (keep the solution weak so it doesn’t weaken the fabric) and rub it onto the stain using the same method as in step 2.

      4. If the mold remains, spray the area with Simple Green and wipe gently with a damp cloth.

      5. Once the mold is removed, rinse the area completely to remove any residue from the cleaning product. This is especially important when using bleach as the chemicals will weaken the fibers if allowed to sit on them for extended periods of time.

      6. After rinsing, press a dry cloth or towel on the area to absorb the extra water.

      7. Allow the piece to air dry completely.

      8. If possible, set the piece in the sun to dry. The sun is a natural mold killer and will help to prevent the mold and mildew from returning.

  10. Mike Ross :

    Oct 11, 2014 2:07 pm | Reply

    Hi, I have used for years, a simple solution of bleach, and Borax (sodium tetraborate) commonly called 20 Mule Team Boraxo, available from the grocery store. It can leave behind a trace of the borate, that inhibits future mold/fungus growth, and is environmentally safe and sound. I saturate a wooden deck after power surface cleaning, that is first saturated with a bleach and surfactant..such as Dawn. The Dawn ‘lifts’ and ‘solubalizes’ the dirt, etc and after 15 minutes wait time, is when I carefully power wash. Be SURE to NOT get in eyes, safety glasses here..!.., or, constant skin exposure, and wear waterproof shoes/boots, long pants you don’t mind getting ‘bleached’ spots. Always..be careful, as a thick mold covering, that is treated this way is extremely slippery, and a fall can be serious. Be careful NOT to get on painted surfaces you don’t intend to, it can ‘de-gloss’ or even dissolve old paints. Now, “Vibram” type cleated soles on the shoes is good, no smooth bottomed shoes/boots. Have at it, and good luck.

    • The Maids Team( author ) :

      Oct 15, 2014 2:15 pm | Reply

      Thanks for the tip Mike!

  11. Faith Grant :

    Dec 17, 2014 2:28 pm | Reply

    I wanted to post another tip for killing mold, tea tree oil! Kill even toxic mold. Don’t remember the amount so would need to google it but we are currently living with my in-laws while my hubby finishes school so we don’t have to rent and I help take care of my disabled MIL and we are helping them fix the house up a bit and they had a mold issue. We got rid of the mold with tea tree oil and lots of cleaning

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