What Kills Mold? Bleach vs

What Kills Mold? Bleach vs. Vinegar

by Luke Armstrong · Published 12/09/2016 · Updated 09/27/2019

Nobody likes finding mold in their home because it is an ugly sight and it is potentially dangerous. The presence of mold can result in extensive property damage as well as serious health effects for those who are exposed. Mold causes structural damage by feeding on common building materials including wood and drywall. These building materials contain cellulose which is an organic material that mold uses as a food source. As the mold eats away at these materials, they become weakened which greatly increases the risk of structural damage. Mold is also a threat to spread to new areas by dispersing its spores.

While property damage is a major concern when dealing with mold, the possible health effects are a bigger cause for alarm. Exposure to the mold spores can lead to negative health effects such as allergic reactions and even asthma or lung infections in extreme cases. The longer you and your family are exposed to mold, the more likely you are to experience health effects and the worse they will become until the mold is removed. Quick mold removal will help protect your health and limit the damage to your property.

You must call a professional for mold removal if the mold covers a significant area. However, if you find small amounts of mold in your home, you can take care of it yourself with household products before it becomes a major problem. It is best to react at the first sight of mold so you can prevent it from spreading and decrease the risk of property damage and negative health effects.

When it comes to removing mold, the most common household remedies include bleach and vinegar. Most homeowners will think to use one of these products for cleaning mold but only one of these options is effective. This guide takes a close look at each option to help you remove small amounts of mold more effectively.

Does Bleach or Vinegar Kill Mold?

Bleach and vinegar can both kill mold, but vinegar is much more effective for removing mold from porous materials. This is because bleach only kills mold spores on the surface of affected materials. Vinegar will penetrate porous materials and kill the mold at the roots. If you use bleach to remove mold growth, there is a good chance that the mold will return.

Cleaning Mold with Bleach

Always use protective gear when cleaning mold.

According to conventional wisdom, bleach kills mold growth. However, this is somewhat of a myth as bleach only kills the mold on the surface without affecting the membrane underneath. You need to kill and remove this underlying membrane to effectively remove the mold growth and prevent it from returning. Bleach cleaners cannot kill this membrane because its chemical structure prevents it from penetrating porous surfaces. This causes the mold membranes to move deeper into the affected surface to hide from the bleach. You should only use bleach to remove small amounts of mold that have formed on non-porous surfaces.

Another problem with using bleach is that it can actually multiply the mold growth. When bleach is introduced to mold colonies, the mold recognizes the bleach as a threat and reacts. Mold can actually use bleach as a food source once it has been exposed which will cause the mold to grow back faster and stronger. Even the EPA advises against using bleach for removing mold. Fortunately, there is another household item that can kill mold.

Cleaning Mold with Vinegar

White distilled vinegar is effective for killing small amounts of mold. It can kill over 80 percent of mold species commonly found in your home and as a mild acid, it can help prevent mold as well as remove it. Make sure you follow these steps when cleaning mold with vinegar:

  • Protect yourself from exposure to the mold by wearing protective gear such as gloves and a mask.
  • Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle but do not dilute it. Diluting the vinegar will reduce its effectiveness.
  • Spray the moldy areas and let the vinegar sit for an hour so that the mold can absorb it completely.
  • If you need to scrub the mold, do so with a baking soda solution. Pour 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a spray bottle and shake well.
  • Spray the moldy area with the baking soda mixture and use a scrubbing brush or scouring pad to scrub the mold. Wearing protective gloves will protect you from direct contact.
  • Use clean, warm water to rinse the area.
  • Spray the vinegar again over the area and let it dry naturally to make sure all the mold has been killed.

Removing Mold from your Home

If you notice a small amount of mold growing somewhere in your home, vinegar is the best option to remove it. The vinegar will penetrate the porous surface and remove the underlying membrane as well as the mold growth on the surface. However, you should only use this method if there is a small amount of mold in your home. Attempting to remove significant mold growth yourself is ineffective and dangerous.

If the mold growth is too severe or widespread, you must call a mold remediation professional immediately. Removing small amounts of mold with vinegar is safe and effective but any substantial amount requires specialized equipment and training. Mold removal professionals will ensure all mold in your home is removed safely and effectively.

About Luke Armstrong

Expert in emergency fire and water restoration services, fire cleanup and water damage cleanup, mold removal, as well as carpet and upholstery cleaning services. Contributor to several restoration and cleaning blogs.


Protect Your Siding by Removing and Preventing Algae and Mildew

Vinyl siding is an excellent choice for keeping your home exterior in great shape for years to come, without a lot of maintenance. But don’t forget, any type of siding is just like any other part of your home — it needs proper care to ensure it lasts as long as possible, as attractively as possible. And that means keeping an eye out for something you might not have realized could affect your home siding — algae and mildew.

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Fortunately, vinyl siding’s low maintenance nature means it’s not that complicated to address the growth of algae and mildew. Here’s what you need to know.

What are algae and mildew?

Algae is a photosynthetic organism that grows in moisture. You may recognize it as the green growth atop a still pond, for example. Some forms of algae are harmless, but other forms generate unhealthy toxins.

Mildew is a fungus that commonly grows on plants and other damp organic materials, such as paper and leather. It can grow even on the tiniest bits of organic matter.

What causes algae and mildew to grow on siding?

To put it simply, algae and mildew both grow in areas that are damp and organic. So, wood siding — because it’s organic — will be especially susceptible to this issue. But other forms of siding are not necessarily immune.

While vinyl and fiber cement are not organic substances, they can both accumulate dust, dirt, and other small specks of natural materials. Those sticky drops that you find on your car at certain times of the year? They consist of tree sugars and sap. They can land on your vinyl and fiber cement siding. And algae and mildew can form on those small specks of tree sap and sugar.

Why does it matter if my home siding has algae or mildew on it? Won’t my siding resist it?

Unfortunately, no. These growths can occur in many places you wouldn’t expect them to be, even on vinyl siding. And they can cause homeowners a number of headaches:

It’s unsightly. Homeowners naturally want a beautiful home that looks great from the curb. Algae and mildew create stains that look unattractive.
It’s unhealthy. Algae can produce toxins, which is why an algae-covered lake may be closed to the public. And mildew can cause allergic reactions and skin irritations.
It’s a warning sign. While the growth of algae and mildew doesn’t automatically mean there’s a problem, it can mean that your home is trapping moisture underneath the siding. This is an issue with homes that don’t have a proper weather barrier installed underneath the siding — which is common in older homes as well as homes where the siding was not properly installed.

How do I know if my siding has algae and mildew on it?

Look for stains. Stains are the most common sign that you have algae or mildew. The stains can be different colors, which can often tell you what is causing the growth.

Brown stains on wood siding can signal that moisture is forming underneath the wood.
Black stains are usually a sign of mildew, algae, mold or fungus.
Green stains are almost always the result of algae or moss. You’re most likely to see green stains on siding that is inadequately ventilated.
Yellow stains mean you probably have damaged insulation or deteriorating sheathing behind the siding.
Stains the same color as your siding are typically caused by water streaming down siding due to damaged or misaligned gutters. These leaks can get behind your siding and eventually cause mildew or mold.
Rust-colored stains are usually a sign that nails in the siding are rusting. This may or may not mean you have excess moisture leading to mildew.

How do I remove algae and mildew safely from my siding?

Avoid the temptation to use a power washer, which can further damage vinyl siding and fiber cement siding. Instead, give your siding a gentle scrub and rinse with a hose.

Choose a cleaning solution that is appropriate for the type of growth you have on your siding:
Water stains — Remove with a mild detergent and water.
Stains on wood — Cleanse with mild detergent mixed with water.
Mildew and algae on vinyl and wood— Use a solution made of oxygen bleach (not chlorine bleach) mixed with water.

What can I do to prevent the growth of algae and mildew on my home’s exterior?

Keep in mind, cleaning your siding isn’t enough. The long-term solution to algae and mildew growth on your vinyl siding includes identifying and repairing the root cause.

Prune tree limbs and bushes so that they don’t press up against your home.
Wash your home at least once a year with a liquid soap and garden hose to remove tree sap and other contaminants.
Inspect your vinyl siding and ventilation ducts for evidence of damage, looseness, or other issues that could contribute to trapped moisture.
Maintain gutters by removing trapped leaves, repairing broken drainpipes, and ensuring the gutters direct water away from your home’s exterior.
Adjust sprinklers to be sure they are not striking your siding.
Consult with a home siding contractor that is skilled in installing and repairing siding issues and knows how to find and fix problems with your siding that are caused by excess moisture.

The expert team of siding installers at JD Hostetter are always at the ready to answer your questions, inspect your vinyl siding, and help you figure out what your home needs to keep it gorgeous and long-lasting. To see if JD Hostetter is the right siding contractor for your Indianapolis home exterior needs, contact us anytime at 317-517-7847 to schedule a free consultation, including a detailed estimate and timeline.


Controlling mould and mildew

Help prevent the growth of mould and mildew in your bathroom

No one likes to share their bathroom with mould and mildew.

To prevent mould & mildew from taking over your bathroom, it helps to know a little more about it. Mould is a fungus that grows in damp warm conditions, where there is not much airflow. Mildew is the term often used to describe the early stages of mould growth on a flat surface, usually seen as white fungal filaments. The black mould seen spreading as patches over bathroom tiles and walls can be caused by several different fungal species, depending on the level of moisture in the environment.

By controlling the level of moisture in your bathroom and following these simple steps, you can deal with mould and mildew and keep the bathroom to yourself.

Get some air

Mould and mildew love warm damp environments so keep your bathroom well ventilated. Use an extractor fan after a bath or shower and try to keep the door open when the bathroom isn’t in use.

Clean the hard surfaces

Regularly clean and disinfect tiled walls, shower doors and other hard surfaces where moisture is likely to collect. It’s also a good idea to use a dry cloth or squeegee to remove excess water. Try using Dettol Healthy Clean Bathroom Mould Remover which penetrates porous surfaces to attack mould at the source.

Wash the soft stuff

Clean shower curtains regularly with a suitable disinfectant product, or launder according to manufacturer’s instructions. Launder and replace towels regularly and hang them up somewhere to dry after use. Remember, don’t leave them on the bathroom floor.

Remove mould and mildew

Even if you follow the steps above, mould and mildew may still make camp in your bathroom. Remove any trace of them early using Dettol Glen 20 Disinfectant Spray – it kills mould and controls the growth of mould on the hard surfaces.

Once you’ve got rid of mould and mildew, you don’t want them back. So remember to clean and disinfect areas regularly, keep your bathroom well ventilated and dry, and if necessary install an electric de-humidifier to prevent the conditions mould and mildew love.

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Naturally Rid Your Home of Mold and Mildew

Written by Kirsten Hudson

Cleaning up expired food, smelly trash and even clogged sinks just doesn’t compare to the grossness of getting rid of musty, scuzzy mold. This fungus has a serious ick factor. Maybe it’s the sliminess that makes it so revolting? Or, perhaps it’s the whole «growing» thing? Either way, you need to get it rid of mold and mildew for your health, and to prevent damages to your home.

Mold and mildew can pose serious health risks to you, your family and your pets. Mold has been linked to respiratory problems, allergic reactions and even depression. Mold also aggravates symptoms for those who have allergies and asthma. And, even worse than the mold you can see in the corner of your shower are mold spores, the substances that come off of mold clusters. These are invisible to the naked eye and fill your indoor air with toxins. Find out how to stop mold and mildew from invading your house and how to get rid of these scummy substances if they crop up.

Prevent mold from growing

If you want to thwart these musty house guests from sticking around, keep your home dry. Mold loves warm, humid areas, like bathrooms or a damp basement. To stop mold from forming, try these tips:

  • Invest in a dehumidifier for damp areas
  • Fix any leaks and address any plumbing issues
  • Clean up spills immediately
  • Let in fresh air and sunlight to help kill mold
  • Open doors and windows to promote air circulation, especially after showering or while cooking
  • Keep clothes and other fabrics dry
  • Clean out air conditioning drip pans
  • Replace mildewy shower curtains

How to kill mold

You don’t need to grab the bleach to get rid of mold, and you can also skip those noxious conventional cleaners in store aisles that claim to remove mold. These cleaners often contain harsh acids and chlorine bleach. «Cleaning» with these chemicals will just release toxins into the air, not to mention the unknown health hazards if those products come into contact with your skin. Instead, kill the mold in your home for good with natural methods. For small mold problems, these three natural cleaners will work.


Kill mold for cheap! You can clean your home from top to bottom with plain white vinegar, and that includes killing mold. As a naturally-antimicrobial substance, vinegar will solve your mold problems. Simply fill a spray bottle with vinegar straight up. No diluting! Spritz the vinegar directly on the moldy spots in your home. Let the vinegar sit for a while and then wipe away the vinegar, mold and all. Repeat as needed.

Tea tree oil

As a natural fungicide, tea tree oil can eliminate your nasty mold or mildew problems. Plus, it will fill your home with a lovely medicinal scent. Simply add 10 drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle and fill it with water. Spray the mixture on moldy problem areas. Let the mixture sit and then wipe away the mold.


Pull out that vodka from your liquor cabinet and pour it into a spray bottle. Don’t worry. You don’t need to grab the top-shelf stuff. The cheap kind actually works better for cleaning. Spritz the vodka straight on mold to put it into a drunken stupor. Let the vodka work for a while, and then use a rag or sponge to wipe away the mold.

If you’re concerned about the air quality in your home, it’s always a good idea to get a mold inspection. You can search for a mold inspector in your area on the Indoor Air Quality Association website.

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The Best Essential Oils to Stop Mold

Posted on August 20, 2017 by Chad Pegura | 36 comments

By now, most people are aware of the fact that essential oils can have a tremendously positive impact on their lives in one way or another. Whether it’s using them in a diffuser to relax at night, as a massage oil to fight against arthritis, or in a bath to recharge the mind and soothe sore muscles, essential oils are a great addition to any day.

But what many don’t realize is that beyond your personal health, essential oils also have the ability to provide great things around the home. Cleaning, disinfecting, and even pest control can all be achieved with the right essential oils on your side. Another way they can help around the home is fighting against the growth of mold.

How Can Mold be a Problem?

Mold can become a serious problem in any home due to the spores that it creates. As mold grows and spreads, it can release these spores if disturbed even slightly – just a breeze from a closing door could dislodge the spores. These microscopic spores then enter the air in your home and could be inhaled by you and your family.

When that occurs, it can trigger health problems including respiratory infections, respiratory distress, lower immune systems, and more. Toxic mold exposure is a major hazard and is so dangerous that homes have been condemned due to its growth. It can also lower home values, ruin your resale opportunities, and more.

Mold remediation can be costly and involve things like cutting out and replacing drywall, changing carpets, controlling leaks, and more. The easiest solution is to stop it before it becomes too much of a problem, and with the right essential oils it’s easy to do just that.

How to Get Rid of Mold With Essential Oils

Essential oils are potent distillations of plants such as leaves, stems, and even the flowers. These natural oils found inside the plant contain powerful therapeutic properties that help the plant protect itself against mold and bacteria.

Using a Nebulizing Diffuser™

One of the best ways to stop mold is to use a Nebulizing Diffuser™. The reason a nebulizer is the best choice is because it doesn’t use water which helps the mold to grow and spread much faster. A Nebulizing Diffuser™ is strong and powerful and will fill a room with undiluted pure essential oils that would work fast to combat the mold and the spreading of mold spores. Even when it appears the mold is taken care of it is a good idea to continue to use a nebulizer as a preventive measure.

Using a Spray Bottle

A great way to hit the mold directly is to use a spray bottle mixture of essential oils and alcohol. Prepare a mixture of about 25 drops of essential oil with up to a cup of equal parts water and isopropyl alcohol and add it to a spray bottle. Spray this formula directly onto the surface that has been contaminated with mold and allow it to soak for ten to fifteen minutes before wiping clean. For serious mold growth or for mold on porous surfaces, it may be better to avoid diluting the spray with water and mix only with isopropyl alcohol.

Wiping away mold alone is pointless. If you need to kill the spores that are left behind which can trigger regrowth. It’s also important that you use care to ensure that you are protected – wear breathing protection during the cleaning process to avoid inhaling mold spores.

Use caution when applying this mixture and be aware that essential oils are strong and powerful and can remove the finish on wood and other painted surfaces.

Which Essential Oils Stop Mold

The following essential oils are the best options when combating mold.

  • Tea Tree Oil – This essential oil is often used for its disinfecting, cleaning abilities. It’s not only antimicrobial, but also serves as an anti-fungal that can help fight against mold growth. It’s also great for removing the moldy, musty smells that mold growth creates and can be used to help kill mildew in the washer as well as to freshen up spoiled clothing that has sat damp for too long.
  • Cinnamon – This essential oil has actually been tested extensively and was found to be highly effective at controlling mold growth. It also works to combat against the growth of bacteria, making it a perfect choice for disinfecting the home. And the bright, recognizable scent means that it also helps your home smell fresh and clean.
  • Thyme – More than just a cooking herb, thyme is also an essential oil with numerous health benefits. Not only can it purify the skin, but this oil can also combat mold growth in the home and even fight against mold related health issues like candida growth.
  • Clove – Clove oil is an antioxidant that can help bolster your immune system. But it is also known for being highly effective at fighting black mold – the primary mold that creates problems in homes around the world. Use of clove oil has been shown to kill black mold effectively and promote a better home environment.

  • Burglars Blend — Burglars Blend by Organic Aromas is a great combination of a variety of mold fighting essential oils that are antibacterial, anti-viral, antimicrobial, anti-parasitic. It is comprised of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils.
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With the right essential oils on your side, it’s easy to combat mold and provide yourself with a safer home as well as one that smells fresh and clean. They’re a valuable ally in the fight against mold growth.


9 Cleaning Solutions to Get Mildew Out of Any Surface

The tools and ingredients you need to rid your home of mildew for good.

Your first plan of attack:

When you want to remove mildew stains, reach for white vinegar first. It can be safely used without additional ventilation and can be applied to almost any surface: bathroom fixtures and tile, clothing, furniture, painted surfaces, plastic curtains, and more. To eliminate heavy mildew accumulations, use it full strength. For light stains, dilute it with an equal amount of water. You can also prevent mildew from forming on the bottoms of rugs and carpeting by misting the backs with full-strength white vinegar from a spray bottle. Plus, there are over 90 vinegar uses (white or apple cider vinegar) that can clean a lot more than just mildew.

To clean furniture:

Ammonia is what you need. Clean the mildew off unfinished wooden patio furniture and picnic tables with a mixture of 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 gallon of water. Rinse off thoroughly and use an old terry-cloth towel to absorb excess moisture. (This same combination can clean painted outdoor surfaces.) To remove mildew from wicker furniture, wash it down with a solution of 2 tablespoons ammonia in 1 gallon of water. Use an old toothbrush to get into hard-to-reach twists and turns. Rinse well and let air-dry. An important safety note before you use ammonia in any part of your home: Be sure you use it in a well-ventilated area, always wear rubber gloves, and never combine ammonia and bleach.

To clean shower curtains:

Just because your plastic shower curtain or liner gets dirty or mildewed doesn’t mean you have to throw it away. Try cleaning it in your washing machine with two bath towels (to prevent the plastic curtains from crinkling) on the gentle setting. Add 1/2 cup baking soda to your detergent during the wash cycle and 1/2 cup vinegar during the rinse cycle. Before the machine goes into the spin cycle, remove the curtain and let it drip-dry; don’t put it in the dryer.

Chlorine is another option to get rid of mold in your bathroom. Wash them—along with a couple of bath towels—in warm water with 1/2 cup chlorine bleach and 1/4 cup laundry detergent. Let the washer run for a couple of minutes before loading. Put the shower curtain and towels in the dryer on the lowest temperature setting for 10 minutes, then immediately hang-dry. Rid your rubber shower mat of mildew by soaking it in a solution of 1/8 cup chlorine bleach in 1 gallon water for 3-4 hours. Rinse well. (Here’s how you’re cleaning your bathroom wrong.)

To clean fabric:

To remove mildew from upholstery and other fabrics, soak a sponge in a solution of 1/2 cup borax dissolved in 2 cups hot water, and rub it into the affected areas. Let it soak in for several hours until the stain disappears, then rinse well. For the same effect on clothing, soak the garments in a solution of 2 cups borax and 2 quarts water. Borax can also make other tiresome chores easier.

To clean your bathroom:

The sight and smell of mildew is a bathroom’s enemy. Bring out the tough ammunition: a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Don’t water it down, just attack directly by pouring the peroxide on the offending area. Wipe it clean. Mildew will surrender.

To remove mold and mildew between your bathroom tiles, mix equal parts of chlorine bleach and water in a spray bottle, and spray it over the grout. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse off. You can also do this just to make your grout look whiter.

To clean outdoor stains:

Bleach can get mildew and other stains off unpainted cement, patio stones, or stucco. Mix a solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach in 2 gallons of water. Scrub vigorously with a stiff or wire brush and rinse. If any stains remain, scrub again using 1/2 cup washing soda (this is sodium carbonate, not baking soda) dissolved in 2 gallons of warm water. While you’re cleaning, you may want to consider giving your patio a makeover.

To clean painted surfaces:

For painted surfaces and siding, bleach is your answer, again. Make a solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach in 2 cups of water and apply with a brush to mildewed areas. Let the solution set for 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat as necessary. Check out these other smart uses for bleach around the house.

To clean clothing:

Wash mildew out of washable fabrics. Wet the mildewed area and rub in some powdered detergent. Then wash the garment in the hottest water set-ting permitted by the clothing manufacturer using 1/2 cup chlorine bleach. If the garment can’t be washed in hot water and bleach, soak it in a solution of 1/4 cup oxygen bleach (labeled «all fabric» or «perborate») in 1 gallon warm water for 30 minutes before washing.

If you’re short on chlorine, make a paste of lemon juice and salt and rub it on the affected area. Then, dry the clothes in sunlight. Repeat the process until the stain is gone. This works well for rust stains on clothes too. (Here’s why you always need lemons in your house.)

To clean hard to reach spots:

There are always hard-to-reach spots in the bathroom, usually around the fixtures, where mildew may breed in the grout between tiles. Forget about becoming a contortionist to return the sparkle to those areas. Soak a few cotton balls in bleach and place them in those difficult spots. Leave them to work their magic for a few hours. When you remove them, you’ll find your job has been done. Finish by rinsing with a warm-water wash.


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