Does Bleach Kill Mold: Why Bleach Is Not Effective at Removing Mold
One of the most common questions we get is “does bleach kill mold?” Bleach is the most common recommendation for cleaning mold and it can be effective in some situations. While using bleach for mold removal will temporarily clean surface mold, it is not always effective at removing mold permanently.
See, mold is actually a symptom of a water or moisture issue. Although bleach will temporarily remove mold from most surfaces, it will likely return unless the moisture issue is resolved. The same goes for cleaning mold with a vinegar or ammonia solution as well. While they will clean the mold from the surface temporarily, it will return if the moisture is still present.
What is Bleach?
Bleach is the generic term that describes a variety of chemicals used to whiten clothes, lighten hair colors, and remove stains. Additionally, most types of bleach will disinfect and sterilize germs and bacteria.
While there are several types of bleach, we are most likely referring to chlorine bleach when we are talking about common household bleach. Mixing chlorine bleach with other chemicals can be extremely dangerous.
A mixture of bleach and acid, such as vinegar, may produce chlorine gas, which will irritate mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and eyes, as well as burn skin. Mixing bleach with ammonia will produce other toxic gas.
Does Bleach Kill Mold?
Technically yes, bleach does kill mold. However, it’s not as simple as that. Germs and bacteria, like salmonella and influenza, require a host to thrive. While they will live for a period of time outside the body, they will eventually die without a host. Cleaning with bleach is effective at killing germs and bacteria because they don’t have the means to reproduce outside of a host.
On the other hand, mold is a naturally occurring airborne fungus that aids in the decomposition of organic materials. If you have mold growing in your home, you also have mold spores in the air. Instead of an animal or human host, it thrives on organic material and moisture. Plus, mold can penetrate deep within porous materials. While bleach can kill the mold on the surface, it can’t reach the mold inside.
Using bleach to kill mold will clean the surface. However, mold is still in the air or deep within the material itself. Without resolving the cause of the moisture, the environment is still right for mold to thrive. The surface will look clean for a few days or even a couple weeks, but the mold is still there. It’s just a matter of time before mold returns.
Why Did the Mold Come Back After Cleaning With Bleach?
Although bleach will kill the mold, moisture is the real problem. Mold is always the symptom of some water issue and it will grow into the microscopic cracks and crevices of any porous material. This includes many items commonly found in homes and businesses like drywall, carpeting, wood, paper, cardboard, and fabric. As long as those materials remain damp, the mold will eventually return.
Even the EPA Says Bleach is Not Effective at Removing Mold
In the Environmental Protection Agency’s Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home, they clearly state that the use of chlorine bleach is “not recommended” as an effective method to remove mold. The EPA goes on to say that mold is likely to return if the water issue isn’t resolved.
Kill Mold Permanently By Fixing the Source of the Moisture
Using bleach to kill mold is a losing battle unless you fix the source of the moisture first. Identify the cause of the moisture and fix that before trying to resolve your mold issue.
The most common causes of mold are humidity and condensation in kitchens and bathrooms. Pour ventilation or the lack of an exhaust fan can make this much worse. Other causes of mold are consistent plumbing fixtures, roof, and basement leaks.
While you may be able to effectively remove mold on your own, it takes the right equipment and know-how to keep it from returning. Even after fixing the moisture issue, bleach will still only clean the surface mold.
Time is also a factor when removing up mold, especially when it comes to drying affected materials. Regular house fans will take too long to dry wet drywall, ceilings, paneling, and carpeting.
Call Now for Professional Mold Removal Service
The professional mold removal companies in the Restoration Local network are experienced in mold cleanup, ensuring that you only have to go through mold remediation once.
Our network includes both major franchises like BELFOR Restoration and Rainbow International as well as independent restoration and mold removal companies. Choose a local mold removal company near you.
For immediate service, call 1-888-443-3110 now to speak with our local on-call mold removal specialist. Our on-call mold remediation companies offer 24-hour emergency services, 30-minute response time, and a free, no-obligation estimate.