This article will help you understand how to kill mold using bleach is derived from Chlorine and Oxygen
This page tells you how to kill mold with:
The Mold Removal page also provides a step by step guide to the entire mold removal process.
The Mold on Clothes page has information about removing mold from clothes with bleach and other mold killing solutions.
Bleach is probably the most well known mold killer. In fact many commercial mold killing products contain bleach. The active ingredient in chlorine bleach is sodium hypochlorite, but otherwise it is mostly made up of water.
Bleach is cheap and you can easily buy it at the supermarket. You will often see it labeled as laundry bleach or just bleach, instead of chlorine bleach.
Bleach kills bacteria and viruses and sanitizes the surfaces it’s used on. Bleach also kills mold if it comes into contact with it. The spores and allergens from mold are neutralized as well.
Bleach will kill mold growing on non-porous surfaces like glass, tiles, bathtubs and counter tops. However bleach cannot completely kill mold growing in non-porous materials like drywall and wood. Bleach does not penetrate into these non-porous substances and so only the mold growing above the surface is killed.
The EPA does not recommend you use bleach for killing and removing mold. Bleach is a chemical, and it is better to use natural mold killing products instead. Some good alternative mold killing products are borax and vinegar. Bleach also loses its power with time. Even if bleach is not opened, in 90 days it loses 50% of its killing effectiveness.
Another disadvantage is that bleach is corrosive. Bleach deteriorates materials and the fibers of porous substances. The gas from bleach can even damage your lungs. If bleach touches your skin it can also give you chemical burns.
There is also concern about whether bleach leaves dioxins. Dioxins are highly toxic and carcinogenic substances. They are also teratogenic and animal tests have shown dioxins can cause birth defects.
Bleach can create dioxins in processes like bleaching of wood pulp. Fortunately though, studies have found that bleach cannot form dioxins when it’s just used for household cleaning. The materials which are needed for bleach to form dioxins are not usually present when cleaning the home.
Bleach is ineffective at killing mold on many materials, including carpet and upholstery. Bleach won’t kill mold on dirty, metallic or porous substances either.
You should avoid using bleach to kill mold on porous materials. Because of its ionic structure, bleach cannot soak into substances which are porous. So the chlorine stays above the surface, while the water is absorbed in.
This means bleach will only kill the mold on the surface of porous materials like wood and drywall. The mold’s roots are left alive and this can lead to mold soon growing back. Therefore you can end up in a cycle of continually trying to bleach mold, only to have it constantly return.
A good alternative to chlorine bleach is oxygen bleach. Oxygen bleach also kills mold and works well for cleaning mold from surfaces and clothes. Oxygen bleach cleans stains and kills bacteria too. It will sanitize, disinfect and deodorize whatever you use it on.
Oxygen bleach is another name for sodium percarbonate. You can buy it in a powder which you then mix with water. Once you’ve added water, the oxygen bleach powder dissolves and breaks down into hydrogen peroxide (which breaks down to water and oxygen) and sodium carbonate (also called sodium ash). These by-products are non-toxic and environmentally safe.
Many cleaning products contain oxygen bleach (eg. Oxiclean). You can buy oxygen bleach from the supermarket cheaply, where it usually only costs a few dollars.
Oxygen bleach has many differences and advantages compared to chlorine bleach. Oxygen bleach deodorizes and kills mold and bacteria but, unlike chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is environmentally friendly. There is no phosphorous or nitrogen in oxygen bleach. Its ingredients are natural and biodegradable.
Another advantage over chlorine bleach is that oxygen bleach doesn’t fade or deteriorate clothes. You can also use oxygen bleach with hot or cold water. Oxygen bleach doesn’t fade surfaces such as wood either.
Gas from chlorine bleach is bad for you and it creates toxic fumes if you mix it with vinegar or ammonia. But oxygen bleach does not create any fumes. It can also be used safely with other household cleaners and detergents.
Both chlorine bleach and oxygen bleach can be bought cheaply from the supermarket.
Oxygen bleach products are usually a little bit more expensive than chlorine bleach products. Chlorine bleach also works faster than oxygen bleach.
Oxygen bleach loses its killing power much faster than chlorine bleach too. For best results, you should use oxygen bleach within the time stated on the product’s packaging.
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