If you have mold or mildew in your house, you need to get rid of it as soon as possible; the more it spreads, the more difficult the removal will be. Luckily, there are quite a few products – many you may already have around the house – that can kill mold. So if you want to take care of surface mold yourself, consider the following cleaners.
When people think of household chemicals for disinfecting surfaces, bleach is often the first thing that comes to mind – and bleach is great at killing mold. At a ratio of one part bleach to ten parts water, you can create a mixture that can be sprayed or sponged onto moldy areas.
The disadvantage to bleach is that it can't penetrate porous surfaces. This means that it can do an excellent job on things like tiles, tubs, and counters – but for wood and drywall, it will only remove the mold from the surface, often leaving mold hiding deep within.
Clear ammonia has many of the same advantages and disadvantages as bleach. It's important to note, however, that bleach and ammonia should never be used together! Mixing bleach and ammonia creates a highly toxic gas that can kill you, so never use them in the same place.
Mixing equal parts clear ammonia and water gives you a cleaner that can remove mold from nonporous surfaces very effectively. It is a good cleaner for bathrooms, but like bleach, not an effective choice for wood and drywall.
Vinegar is a naturally acidic substance, which makes it deadly to many kinds of mold. And because the white vinegar you buy is already distilled, there's no need to water it down or worry about coming in contact with it. And it can penetrate surfaces like wood that bleach and ammonia are not effective on.
Spray distilled vinegar onto the surface you are treating and leave it to sit for at least an hour. You should then be able to wipe away any mold. You can rinse the area with water, but make sure you then dry it thoroughly to inhibit future mold growth; alternatively, you can spray vinegar onto the surface and let it soak in without rinsing to prevent mold.
Baking soda is a great partner for vinegar – while vinegar is mildly acidic, baking soda is a mild base, so between them, they are deadly to most mold species. Don't apply them together; instead, use one and then follow it up with the other later. And like vinegar, baking soda is not at all harmful to people.
One teaspoon of baking soda mixed into two cups of water in a spray bottle should be sprayed onto the moldy surface; then scrub the affected area clean. Alternatively, you can soak a cloth in the baking soda/water mixture and use that to scrub a surface. Once you're finished, rinse the surface, and then spray or wet the area with the mixture one more time, this time leaving it there to soak in and prevent the mold from coming back.
When To Call In A Professional
While these products can do a good job getting rid of surface mold, if you have more extensive or recurring problems, it's time to call a pro. Porous surfaces like drywall can become repeat problem spots if not handled properly. And if you have any sort of allergic reaction to the mold or have a weakened immune system, don't try to handle the problem yourself; some types of mold can be toxic. Talk to a professional like ServiceMaster by Restoration Xperts.