How to Remove Mold, Naturally January 3, 2017 – Posted in: Blog
Mold is invasive, and it can creep into unlikely places. From sippy cups to condensation pipes, mold can grow wherever there’s moisture. Unfortunately, people can have serious reactions to mold. Some people are simply allergic, and others develop respiratory issues over time after being exposed too long to mold.
Mold can result from a variety of issues, including flooding, leaks, poor air circulation, too much humidity – I’m looking at you Florida, one of the moldiest states in the country – and condensation. Florida isn’t alone, though. South Carolina, Texas, Nevada and Oklahoma are some of the worst areas for mold growth in the country.
The Effects of Mold on the Body
It may not seem like mold could do much damage to a body, but its effects are far-reaching. Exposure to dampness and mold are responsible for an estimated 4.6 million cases of the 21.8 million asthma diagnoses in the United States.
You don’t have to suffer from full-on asthma to feel the effects of mold exposure. Symptoms start with coughing, shortness of breath, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and various respiratory illnesses. People who have been exposed to large amounts of mold will suffer the most, but others are at risk from smaller levels of exposure. People with allergies, immune disorders or lung disease will suffer more when their bodies encounter mold.
Check for Evidence of Mold in Your Home
Mold is invasive, so it’s best to find it as early as possible. It likes to hide in carpets, behind drywall or tile, above ceiling tiles, near condensing pipes, on walls and on floors, among other places.
If you are concerned mold may be invading your home, do a smell check first. Do places in your home smell moldy? Look in the most common areas for mold first. Check specifically in the basement for dark spots on the walls or baseboards. What looks at first glance like dirt or soot may be mold. If you find evidence of mold or are beginning to have unexplained health problems, buy a mold kit to be sure your home is mold-free.
How to Prevent Mold
While it may not be possible to completely mold-proof your home, you can take preventive measures to stop it from coming in. Here are few tips that will help keep it from becoming a problem.
- Be diligent around problem areas
- Dry wet spaces immediately
- Ensure proper ventilation
- Use mold-resistant products, like fiberglass drywall and mold-resistant paint
- Monitor humidity indoors
- Repair gutters
- Direct water away from your home
Techniques for Removing Mold
Mold that takes up more than 10 square feet should be removed by a professional with appropriate equipment, but smaller amounts can be handled by homeowners.
Part of the problem with mold is that traditional methods of removal are almost as toxic as the mold itself. Fortunately, there are safer alternatives to bleach and other chemicals for mold removal. Vinegar, tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda are all effective treatments for removing mold that resides on non porous surfaces. Try one of these and a little elbow grease the next time you see mold in your home, but remember to wear a mask to avoid inhalation. If you find mold growing on porous surfaces such as sheet rock it would be best to cut out the affected area.
Natural Mold Removers
- Vinegar – can be used alone or when mixed with water. Vinegar works best as a mold-killer, killing up to 82% of mold spore. Spray on the affected surface and leave it on for a few hours before scrubbing.
- Baking soda – a natural disinfectant that effectively cleans mold without leaving unwanted smell on the surface. Dissolve baking soda in a water or water-and-vinegar solution, let sit, and scrub the mold off the surface.
- Hydrogen peroxide – spray 3% hydrogen peroxide on the surface and leave it 10 minutes. Scrub, clean and wipe off using dry cloth to remove residual mold spores.
- Tea tree oil – has antifungal and antibacterial properties that make it an effective mold killer. Add one teaspoon of tea tree oil in one cup of water, stir or shake well. Best applied using a spray bottle.
- Borax – a commonly household cleaning agent that effectively gets rid of mold and fungus. Add 1 cup borax to 1 gallon of water and spray or wipe on the affected area.
How to Remove Black Mold Naturally
Apart from its disgusting smell and appearance, black mold is potentially toxic. Check out the following ways to remove black mold naturally:
- Spray tea tree oil on the moldy area. This natural fungicide is effective at killing black mold spores as well as mildew because of its anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes.
- Use vinegar to eliminate black mold from bathrooms and kitchen sinks alike. Spray on the affected surface or wipe it off using a cloth.
- Finally, take some hydrogen peroxide and scrub the moldy area with an old toothbrush.
- Wipe away any remaining mold.
Bonus Tip: Black mold can be extremely dangerous to humans. Use a facemask and cover your hands, legs and arms to avoid contact with mold spores.
How to Remove Mold from Shower Naturally
Due to excessive moisture content in the shower, it’s a common breeding ground for mold and mildew. Here are few, effective ways to get rid of mold in your shower naturally:
- Leave on the baking soda + mixture on the surface for as long as you need to.
- Scrub the mold away using baking soda and vinegar solution.
- Rinse well and buff dry.
- Open a window. This helps lessen the humidity in your shower, which mold loves.
Bonus Tip: Mix up a mold-prohibiting spray (either vinegar-water or tea tree oil solution) and place it nearby. Before leaving the shower each time, spray on the tiles.
These solutions will help prevent reoccurrence old mold.
Remove Mold from Caulk Naturally
The caulking around your shower also makes a wonderful habitat for mold. Here are some natural ways to remove it:
- Choose your natural cleaner (lemon, tea tree oil, vinegar solutions).
- Soak an old toothbrush to your DIY green cleaner and brush it on the caulking.
- Let the solution sit on the caulk for one hour.
- Rinse with wet sponge.
- Do the same to remove mold in your shower grout.
Bonus Tip: After you shower, make it a habit air out your bathroom by opening windows and doors or running a fan.
How to Remove Mold from Carpet Naturally
- Clean the base of the carpet with a steam cleaner.
- Fill a spray bottle with one cup of hot water and add 10 drops of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed oil.
- Spray on the mold and leave for a few minutes.
- Wipe the mold using a cloth.
- Steam clean the affected area once again.
- Vacuum to dry.
Bonus Tip: Carpets take time to dry. Ensure proper ventilation by opening doors and windows, or using dehumidifier or air mover.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.