Bleach, a powerful sterilizing chemical, is useful in tackling innumerable household messes. Consisting of a water solution mixed with sodium hypochlorite, bleach is a common surface disinfectant. When it comes to removing the stealthy, slithering growth of mold, bleach can be effective in specific scenarios.
Vinegar is a mild acidic cleanser that is also used by homeowners to combat unsightly mold growth or bacteria. In fact, vinegar is powerful enough to destroy 82 species of mold. Spritz vinegar on flourishing mold, and the mold will die off. However, white vinegar, which is often used to clean, can be too strong when it is highly concentrated or used on certain surfaces.
Both bleach and vinegar are household staples found in a home’s stash of cleaning solutions. Deciding which chemical is more effective in destroying mold once and for all can turn into a head-scratcher. Discover the pros and cons of using bleach and vinegar when mold rears its ugly head.
The Nature of Mold
Mold is a pesky substance when it thrives indoors. The natural fungi grow predominantly outdoors, but spores can meander through windows and doors and find a comfortable home inside. Mold latches onto areas where abundant moisture is present. Nutrient-rich materials, like wood and drywall, serve as natural food sources when combined with water, and give rise to mold infestations. Simply, where moisture and nourishment coexist, mold thrives. Eliminate the nourishing water source, and mold disappears.
Homeowners are encouraged to fix any leaks in the home as soon as they are noticed. Faulty plumbing pipes, leaky sinks, or cracks in the foundation can lead to moisture entering the home, thereby sparking an outbreak of mold.
What’s the best solution to alleviate a household mold problem? Bleach and vinegar are tried and tested cleaners. Both, however, have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to effectively managing a household mold issue.
Does bleach kill mold?
Yes, but it's important to know that bleach only works against mold on non-porous surfaces. Common non-porous surfaces in homes include tiles, sinks, tubs, glass, metal, plastics, and varnished woods. As bleach does kill mold it is not recommended as a routine practice. It's important to contact a professional that is experienced with mold remediation so that it is removed completely.
Advantage of Using Bleach: Bleach kills mold—but only when the chlorine contained in bleach comes into direct contact with the fungi. Mold roots that extend beneath the surface of porous materials, like drywall or carpet fibers, remain unaffected, allowing the mold to continue prospering in the ideal, moisture-rich environment. The reason being that the chlorine in bleach fails to penetrate porous surfaces, making bleach useful only in killing bacteria from nonporous, hard surface materials, like bathroom tiles or toilet fixtures.
Use Bleach on Non-Porous Surfaces
The disadvantage of Using Bleach: Even more detrimental to attempting to remove mold with bleach, is that bleach can worsen mold growth when spritzed onto porous materials. The chlorine lingers upon the surface, unable to penetrate the porous exteriors of wood. Instead, the watery component of bleach gets absorbed, subsequently nourishing the mold roots underneath the surface with moisture and encouraging continual explosions of mold growth.
The Occupational and Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not recommend using bleach to routinely tackle mold issues. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not advise using bleach to remove mold due to the health risks associated with the strong chemical. Combined with ammonia, bleach releases highly toxic gas. When bleach comes into contact with the eyes, the chemicals irritate the eye tissue. Harsh fumes springing from bleach are also hard on the lungs.
When using bleach in a large area, take important safety precautions: Ventilate the area well, and use protective rubber gloves and eye goggles. Ventilating a space with fans may lead to spreading mold spores to unaffected areas of the home. Circulate outside air via windows whenever possible.
How long does it take bleach to kill mold?
Killing mold with bleach can begin on contact, but it can take 30 minutes to several hours for the mold to disappear. In some cases the area may have to be cleaned with a bleach solution several times.
Using Vinegar to Remove Mold
Vinegar is best to use on porous surfaces and is considered a safer option for removing mold.
Advantage of Using Vinegar: White vinegar is a safer solution to tackle a mess of household mold. Unlike bleach, vinegar does not emit toxic fumes. Vinegar is effective when combined with water. The simple vinegar/water solution should be sprayed onto the moldy surface, left for an hour, and then wiped down. Repeat the process frequently to maintain a mold-free surface.
The disadvantage of Using Vinegar: While vinegar is acidic, the cleaner can be diluted with water to make it more appropriate for household cleaning projects, like mold remediation. The minimal downside to using vinegar on surfaces is that the cleanser can scratch. Vinegar solutions can scrape against natural stone, like granite or marble.
Dealing with Small Amounts of Mold
When confronted with a minor mold problem as a homeowner, your first step should be to resolve the presence of moisture. Repair any household fixtures that needlessly drip water. Dry the areas thoroughly. Then scrub the space with your choice of either bleach or vinegar to cleanse the area of mold. Homeowners are recommended to handle only small mold infestations that are less than three feet by three feet.
Removing Large Amounts of Mold
Be careful when tackling mold infestations that consume areas larger than ten square feet. The EPA advises that extensive, contaminated areas should be best left to a professional restoration company. ServiceMaster of North Texas is equipped with the up-to-date training and advanced equipment to thoroughly rid homes of mold infestations.
Our mold remediation specialists at ServiceMaster of North Texas first assess the property to determine the severity of the mold growth. Precise air testing technology identifies contaminated areas. We then isolate the area to prevent mold spores from unleashing into unaffected areas of the home. A mold remediation plan is developed to eliminate mold quickly and effectively.
Once the mold removal is successfully achieved, the restoration process of affected surfaces begins. We can also provide odor removal services to remove any lingering smells from the fungi. A thorough inspection completes the mold remediation service to ensure mold does not return to the property.
Mold Remediation: What to Do
Swiftly address an invasion of mold to help combat its rapid spread. Contact ServiceMaster of North Texas as quickly as possible once mold has been detected inside the home. In the time between your call and the speedy arrival of our mold remediation team, dry off any water droplets from walls and turn on the air conditioner to reduce the level of indoor moisture. Never place a running fan in front of moldy surfaces.
Our mold remediation technicians at ServiceMaster of North Texas are available to service the Dallas, TX residences and businesses with speed, diligence, and highest professional standards. Please give us a call at (972) 284-0757 for more information or a free estimate regarding our mold removal services.