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How do I Kill Mold?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Killing mold is a relatively simple process, and a number of techniques can be used to kill mold. The problem is that when mold is dead, spores can still survive, causing the mold to recur within days or weeks. Therefore, in addition to killing mold, people who want to get rid of mold will need to take some additional actions to prevent recurrence.

For people who are concerned about using harsh chemicals in cleaning, the good news is that mold can be killed with non-toxic substances which are common in many homes. Vinegar, lemon juice, and other acids are great for killing mold, and it is also possible to use a solution of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract in water to kill the mold, adding around 20 drops for every two cups of water. Bleach is not generally recommended to kill mold, because it can create staining problems on objects which are not white.

To kill existing mold, spray vinegar or one of the solutions listed above onto the moldy area, and allow it to soak in briefly before wiping away. Then, subject the area to heat, because heat kills mold and evaporates moisture, depriving the mold of the water it needs to recur. In the case of something which can fit in a washing machine, like curtains or clothes, mold can be killed by washing with a cup of vinegar and drying at high heat.

To prevent recurrence after mold has been killed, the area should be kept warm and humidity should be kept low. Using a dehumidifier can help in especially wet climates, as can opening windows and doors for cross-ventilation. Area rugs and furniture which have become moldy can be treated with a liquid solution and then brought outside on a sunny day to kill mold and the spores associated with it. In the case of moldy drywall, flooring, and other fixtures, it may be necessary to remove and replace the fixture to prevent recurrence after removing mold.

Preventing mold is definitely preferable to killing it, because even after mold is dead, it can leave unsightly stains behind, and the presence of mold in a home can have a negative impact on human health. Mold prevention can be accomplished by keeping the environment hot and dry to inhibit the reproduction of mold, and ensuring that rooms are kept well-aired. Mold should never be painted, plastered, tiled, or carpeted over, because the mold will continue to flourish under the covering, creating a distinctive stain and distributing spores to the rest of the house.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon984763 — On Jan 10, 2015

I use white distilled vinegar, peroxide, and tea tree oil. So far, so good.

By anon966372 — On Aug 19, 2014

Rubbing alcohol kills mold and mildew. My septic pump broke and my bathroom flooded one day. After I got it all fixed and cleaned up, it was very moldy and mildew smelling. Rubbing alcohol took care of it. I sprayed it around and I dumped it all over anywhere the water went. Along with hydrogen peroxide, you have all natural and safe way to clean and get rid of mold in the house.

By anon324836 — On Mar 12, 2013

@anon72241 is trying to sell you something.

The CDC recommends the use of bleach for mold-affected areas of less than 10 square feet. For areas larger than that, the CDC recommends you follow EPA guidelines.

By anon303144 — On Nov 13, 2012

This will not kill the spores, as anon72241 said. Most products out there do not kill the mold. I found PeridoxRTU and Sanotracin RTU kill mold spores in one minute.

By anon173789 — On May 08, 2011

bed bugs require sustained temperatures of 115+ deg F for roughly 2-4 hours to completely get rid of them. It works and one easy way is a diesel powered construction (Herman Nelson) heater with flexible hose which is used to pump the hot air into the house.

Thhis is a flameless heating system and is the best way to get rid of them. just make sure you don't leave any items that can be damaged by heat in the house.

By anon136555 — On Dec 23, 2010

Clorox bleach toilet bowl cleaner is great for showers that have chalking.

Squirt and the let sit for about five minutes before removing with a dry towel. It kills the black mold as well as the red mold of death (coined).

Vinegar has worked for me on my walls in San Francisco but the smell is a little bothersome. It's been raining and I haven't been able to ventilate my room yet.

Remember not to use bleach and vinegar in the same room. It has much the same affect of using bleach and ammonia. It's poisonous. No dying.

By anon121576 — On Oct 25, 2010

Just an idea. What if you get a burner. You know, the yankee candle burners you burn with tealight candles and added juice from a lemon from it. One a day burning and your bathroom would smell nice and the vapour from the juice might help to prevent the mold from starting. Not sure if it would work but it is cheap.

By anon120088 — On Oct 20, 2010

Lysol is all you need, nothing else.

By jimsmith381 — On Jun 29, 2010

has anybody had any success treating an entire house with heat to get rid of bed bugs? because rather than chemicals i would like to treat the whole house rather than a room or two, just to be safe.

By anon72241 — On Mar 22, 2010

Bleach does not kill mold. Vinegar, lemon juice, and tea tree oil all have disinfection properties, but are very limited. Mold infestation is a very serious problem for homes and should not be taken lightly.

Mold produces spores, which produce toxins. Even dead mold can produce dangerous toxins. Therefore, if the mold problem is more than a few square feet, or you think may be hidden behind walls, I suggest you contact a professional to do the work. Make sure to ask what products they use to kill and clean the mold. Most products on the market are dangerous to have around you family and pets.

I switched to UrthPRO. NOrthPRO is the best product I found for killing and cleaning, and it is all-natural. Other products are only disinfectants and don't clean up the mess, and you have to pre-clean before using them anyway.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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