Mold may be growing in your home, and you don’t even know it. That’s because mold loves dark, warm, humid places, like behind the toilet and under the kitchen sink. Once it begins to spread, getting rid of mold can be challenging.
When the conditions are right, mold can grow quickly — sometimes within 24-48 hours. Leaving mold untreated can worsen respiratory illnesses and aggravate asthma and allergies. Mold’s rapid growth and adverse effects on health are why it’s essential to know how to get rid of mold—without harsh chemicals.
Because of the moisture, your basement, kitchen, and bathroom are the most common areas to promote mold and bacteria growth. Use a squeegee on shower doors after use, repair leaks, and keep tile grout clean to keep mold at bay. But even if you clean your bathroom like a pro, mold can still sneak in and make itself at home.
The Hidden Dangers of Household Mold
Mold can be a danger not only in kitchens and bathroom showers—it can grow on wood, books, drywall, toys, and other surfaces when the conditions are right. There are thousands of mold species, yet most of us will only encounter a few in our homes. Not all species are dangerous, but it’s still important to learn the best way to kill mold. Here are common indoor mold types and why you should remove them.
Stachybotrys chartarum is a common black mold often found on sheetrock, paper, and other high cellulose surfaces. The fungal by-product, mycotoxins, can become airborne and inhaled by humans and other animals. Mycotoxins from black mold may cause respiratory issues, headaches, and life-threatening blood poisoning. Two other black mold species, cladosporium and alternaria, can also grow in bathrooms and other areas high in moisture.
If you spot green mold in your home, there’s a good chance it’s aspergillus or penicillium. Aspergillus can grow on dust, powdery foods, and drywall. Breathing aspergillus mold spores isn’t harmful to healthy immune systems but could cause infection in those with compromised health. Penicillium typically grows on material with water damage. Known for its pharmaceutical benefits, penicillium isn’t very toxic, but some species can produce dangerous mycotoxins.
Pink mold isn’t technically a mold but typically appears on showers and shower curtains. Serratia marcescens is a pink bacterium that grows on surfaces with soap residue and can cause respiratory issues and urinary tract infections. Even though the chances of infection are low, skip the risk and keep your bathroom clean and disinfected. Like most mold species, pink mold can negatively affect people recovering from illness or living with respiratory issues.
Mold exposure rarely leads to serious health issues but can wreak havoc on the respiratory system. Coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes may not be from hay fever or allergies—it could be from mold.
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How to Kill Mold Safely
There are many commercial products for mold removal, but many contain chemical ingredients that may be as harmful as the mold itself. Learning how to get rid of mold in your house naturally lets you avoid toxic chemicals and create a healthier home.
Because airborne mold spores can spread, wearing protective gear is essential when cleaning mold. Elbow-length rubber gloves, a mask, and safety glasses will help protect you from exposure to mold. Always open a window in your cleaning area to improve ventilation, if available.
Here are five proven methods for DIY mold removal using green household cleaners:
How to Remove Mold With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial solution found in most medicine cabinets, and it’s a non-toxic mold remover. You can use it safely on many surfaces, such as kitchen appliances and counters, bathroom fixtures and tubs, hard flooring, and even certain wall surfaces.
- Pour a three percent concentration of hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle.
- Test an inconspicuous area of surfaces first to prevent discoloration or damage.
- Saturate the moldy surface and leave it for 10 minutes.
- Scrub the area with only enough force to remove black mold and mold stains.
- Wipe dry once the surface is free of residual mold and stains.
How to Get Rid of Mold With Vinegar
Distilled White vinegar is a mildly acidic product that cleans, deodorizes, and disinfects. It can also kill 82 percent of mold species on porous and non-porous surfaces, including black mold. You can use it safely on most surfaces, and the potent aroma disappears quickly.
- Pour undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle. Because white vinegar contains only about 20 percent acetic acid, adding water makes it less effective.
- Spray the vinegar onto the moldy surface and leave for an hour.
- Finally, clean the area with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours.
How to Kill Mold With Baking Soda
From absorbing odors in the fridge to relieving heartburn, baking soda has many uses around the house — including black mold removal. It’s safe for your family and pets, is a natural mold killer, and absorbs moisture that attracts mold.
- Add 1/4 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 scrub brush to remove mold from the surface.
- Next, rinse the surface with water to remove any residue and baking soda.
- Finally, spray the area again and let the surface dry without wiping. This will kill any leftover mold and help prevent the mold from returning.
Cleaning Mold With Essential Oils
Essential oils have made aromatherapy a household word, but these natural mold-removal compounds can do so much more. Tea tree oil is an insect repellant, antiseptic, and deodorizer—it’s also one of the safest methods to eliminate black mold. Tea tree oil is a natural way to kill mold and helps prevent mold spores from returning.
- Combine one teaspoon of tea tree oil with one cup of water in a spray bottle and shake vigorously to blend the water and oil.
- Spray the moldy area, leave it to dry for an hour, and then wipe it away with a microfiber cloth or dry towel.
- Wear protective gloves because some people find essential oils irritate their skin.
How to Get Rid of Mold With Lemons
Lemons are a natural deodorizer, antiseptic, bleach, stain remover, and cleaner — and they can also remove black mold. The high acid concentration in lemons breaks down mold, making it easy to remove, and leaves behind a disinfected surface. And don’t forget the wonderful citrus aroma!
- Juice three to five lemons into a cup and pour over the moldy area.
- Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe the surface with a damp towel.
- Reapply and scrub the surface to remove tough mold stains as needed.
The best way to kill mold is with natural cleaning alternatives to chemical-based mold removers, and many work on mildew. They are safe for your family and safe for the environment and are frequently less expensive than commercial brands. To learn more about how to kill mold, check out this guide from EPA.gov.
How Does Mold Get in My Home
When mold grows outdoors, it breaks down dead organic matter like leaves and is vital to the ecosystem. Mold spores can be found nearly everywhere, indoors or out, because they travel by air and ground. Spores can get in your home through the HVAC system, windows, doors, and the smallest openings from the outside. Mold spores land on clothing, pets, shoes, vehicles, and other surfaces to hitch a ride inside.
Keep in mind that mold spores must have moisture and nutrients to survive. Most areas in your home don’t provide those necessities, but anywhere with moisture is susceptible. Leaking pipes, windows with condensation, and areas with little air circulation should be remedied quickly to avoid mold growth. Knowing how to remove mold is a skill worth learning—knowing how to prevent mold is worth even more.
Preventive Measures to Avoid Mold Growth
Minimizing condensation and moisture in your home is the first line of defense against mold growth. Repairing leaks and sealing moisture-prone walls are essential to prevent mold, but there are other remedies to bring moisture levels down even more. When you keep the humidity levels in your home below 50 percent, you remove the all-important moisture mold requires to thrive.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce the humidity.
- Run a dehumidifier in parts of your home that have excess humidity.
- Ensure your dryer vent is secure and expelling moist air outside.
- Use the bathroom fan and open the window when bathing.
- Leave the shower curtain or doors open after showering.
- Waterproof the walls in your bathroom by resealing tile grout lines.
- Only store items in the basement or attic in air-tight containers.
- Update your home’s insulation to prevent condensation.
- Keep your windows open and ceiling fans running in warm weather for extra ventilation and less humidity.
You can eliminate most mold with natural mold removal solutions or call in the pros, but it will return without moisture control. Remember the mantra, “No moisture, no mold,” and make your home a healthier place to live.
The Maids® is Your Local Professional Mold Remover
The Maids is one of the only residential cleaning services to clean for health. We remove dirt, dust, germs, and mold to deliver a clean you can feel with all your senses. Expert cleaners handle every detail and go above and beyond to create a healthier environment.
Whether you use our housekeeping guides or invest in cleaning services, The Maids is your partner for a clean home. Discover what cleaning for health can mean in your home when you get your free customized cleaning quote today.