Mold Removal with Regular Household Cleaners

Mold removal can be an intimidating thought. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine if you need to involve a professional.

In certain circumstances, the services of a professional mold remediation company are imperative. This is especially true if toxigenic zero tolerance molds are present, or the total area of mold covers at least 10 square feet. If you are unsure if you need professional mold remediation, an indoor environmental professional like Memphis Mold Inspector is an invaluable resource in identifying, diagnosing and recommending an appropriate plan of remediation.

If your mold issue is more of a nuisance, like small suspect patches around tubs, showers or sinks, you may want to try one of the following home cleaning agents as a first step. (However, with any sanitization or suspect mold area, it is recommended that the suspect mold be HEPA vacuumed to help keep spores from becoming elevated into your breathable air.)
Recommended Cleaning Agents for Minor Mold Issues

1. Vinegar

Vinegar’s active ingredient, acetic acid, works best on hard non-porous surfaces (tile, tubs, showers and painted wood). For best results, wash with undiluted white. Need to get gently remove mold from clothing items? Just add 2 cups of white vinegar to your washing machine and launder as normal.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide has antibacterial and antifungal properties that are safer than bleach, with no toxic fumes. To remove mold from most hard surfaces, fixtures, tile or grout, spray the area with peroxide solution and let it set for 10 minutes. Fill a spray bottle with over the counter 3% (H2O2) strength and mist on the surface to be treated. Repeat if necessary, and follow up with HEPA vacuuming to remove any remaining spores.

3. Detergent

Mix 1 cup of household laundry detergent with a half-gallon of water, and use it to treat more delicate areas like wood, ceramic tiles, glass, porcelain and vinyl.

4. Baking Soda

Need a gentler alternative? Baking soda is non-toxic and can be used to clean small areas of mold in the house. Because of baking soda’s alkaline nature (pH 8.1) it can be used on wooden surface as well as stone surfaces like granite and marble. Just add 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap to a spray bottle, fill with water, and shake gently.

5. Borax

Borax does not omit toxic fumes like bleach, but can be toxic if consumed. Mix 1 cup of borax, 1 gallon of water, and 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap to create an alkaline (pH 9) cleaning solution. Before use, be sure to open windows or otherwise ventilate the area. For best results, HEPA vacuum the surface in question, clean with borax solution, let area dry, and then follow up with the HEPA vacuum. You can also add borax to your washing machine to help eliminate mold from clothing (this method is used by many remediation companies).

6. Tea Tree Oil

While not as effective in cleaning existing mold from surfaces, Tea Tree oil does help prevent the recurrence of mold growth. Although toxic if consumed, it is an essential oil and mostly safe on skins of humans and pets. Use in its recommended diluted state as it is a strong antimicrobial.

7. Grapefruit Seed Extract

In a standard spray bottle, combine 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract with 1 cup of water. Shake well and saturate the suspected mold area. Let the solution stay on the treated surface. This will remove the microbial growth and have a residual for several weeks. Spray periodically to keep area from repopulating.

Conclusion on Mold Removal

Tackling visible mold can be an overwhelming task. Remember that mold needs three things to form: oxygen (everywhere), food (everywhere- dust, paint, paper, anything organic), and moisture (water or humidity). The above solutions can help control nuisance mold issues, but please call a professional mold assessor (Memphis Mold Inspector) if larger or more toxic mold issues are possible. As an assessor/tester we can evaluate whether a remediator is necessary or if one of the above mentioned solutions is appropriate for you.