If you’re dealing with a small amount of mold in your home, using bleach to clean and kill it may seem like a good idea. After all, it’s well known for its ability to sterilize surfaces. Unfortunately, this approach typically results in mold regrowth (often again and again). Why? Because bleach-treated mold never really goes away.
Why Bleach Doesn’t Work to Kill Mold
Bleach works to remove the appearance of mold, but it doesn’t kill it. This is because mold has a “branching, thread-like” root system known as mycelium.
When you use bleach to clean, you typically create a solution of bleach diluted with water. The mold problem recurs because the bleach itself evaporates away very quickly, leaving the water to soak back into the wood or other porous surface, rehydrating the mycelium and encouraging the mold to come back. Even, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t recommend using bleach for routine mold cleanup.
Instead, Use Disinfectant Spray
Using a disinfectant spray, like Lysol, kills up to 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and other germs—including fungi and mold—on most surfaces. (Mold is a type of fungus.) It works great on small areas where mold is common; window sills, shower tiles, and around the bathroom exhaust fan. Simply choose the scent you like best and spray it directly on any surface without diluting with water. The Lysol will not evaporate, and instead will penetrate the surface to get down to the root system, killing the mold, and preventing it from coming back.
Clean the surface with a household cleaner before applying the Lysol. Once sprayed, allow it to remain on the surface for three minutes, and then air dry. It’s recommended to repeat the process once a week or whenever you see mold or mildew growth returning. It may take several treatments to see the mold completely disappear.
Larger areas require a more intensive treatment. If you suspect you have mold in your attic, roof, or walls, please call a professional for help. Mold can be persistent – and toxic.
Preventing Mold in Your Home
Mold thrives in warm and wet environments.
To prevent mold:
- Keep your home’s humidity levels at 50% or lower throughout the day. During the summer, an air conditioner or dehumidifier will remove excess moisture from the air. Since humidity levels can change with temperature and moisture content, check humidity levels multiple times a day.
- Be sure each bathroom has at least one exhaust fans to remove excess moisture that builds up when bathing and showering.
- Do not install carpeting in bathrooms, basements, or anywhere else where moisture is common.
- Consider adding mold inhibitors before applying paint to walls in your home.
- Use mold-killing products when cleaning your bathrooms.
- Remove any soaked carpets or rugs.
- Clean carpets using dry methods, as the moisture from traditional carpet cleaning methods may trap moisture in the padding to contribute to mold growth.
If you suspect mold exposure in your home or business is making you sick, see your doctor to determine if a referral to a specialist is required. In some cases, a referral to an allergist or infectious disease specialist may be needed, but many times, your general practitioner can provide a solution.
Bleach is a chemical solution that can cause harm if used improperly. Those with asthma or other conditions causing breathing problems may experience more severe symptoms after exposure. If mold is a problem in your home, skip the bleach. Turn to disinfectant spray and follow our recommendations to reduce the potential for future mold growth.