Mold inside the home can be a very dangerous thing, but cleaning it doesn’t have to be. If you are dealing with any mold infestation, or want to avoid one, bleach is probably what the internet is suggesting you use.
Sure, bleach works on mold, but it can also be toxic to both humans, animals, aquatic life, and nature at large.
DIY natural cleaners can work as effectively as bleach – without all of the nasty potential side effects. Sodium Hypochlorite, a.k.a. bleach, is regarded as an asthmagen that can cause reproductive toxicity, organ damage – or possibly even cancer, the Environmental Working Groups Guide To Healthy Cleaning reports.
Not all products that contain bleach actually advertise it on the label. At least one popular brand contains Sodium Polyacrylate. This environmental toxin contains acrylic acid impurities which could prompt respiratory irritation, and possibly cause skin erosion.
When the environmental conditions are right, mold can double and then quadruple in dimension in as little as 24 to 48 hours.
Table of Contents:
Types of Household Mold
Before we delve into several potent DIY natural mold cleaner recipes, we must first determine what type of mold is potentially growing in our homes.
Mold is classified into three categories:
- Allergenic. This type mold typically causes both asthma attacks and allergic reactions that are similar to seasonal allergies.
- Pathogenic. Mold of this type can exacerbate existing health, breathing, and allergy problems in folks who are already suffering from either chronic or acute illness.
- Toxigenic. Mold of this type, black mold in particular, cause potentially deadly conditions to develop – or worsen existing health issues. Toxigenic mold varieties are often referred to as “toxic mold.”
This is the worst type of mold to come across. Homes have been condemned over black mold infestations. Black mold (or Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra, as it is more technically known) is a variety of fungus.
It generally thrives in environments that are both moist and warm, which is why it is often found in bathrooms.
Black mold typically grows on wood, gypsum board, paper, dust, fiberboard, lint – or other common high cellulose matter. Even though this potentially dangerous type of mold has been dubbed black mold, it can also grow in a shade of gray or dark green. Regardless of the color, black mold stinks, and it smells musty.
Exposure to black mold can cause eye irritation, coughing, sinus problems, headaches, fever, and chronic fatigue. More serious reactions to this toxic mold can occur over time if the area is not cleaned and exposure is prolonged.
Potential black mold health risks include stroke, lung disease, respiratory problems, and immune system disorders.
Other Common Mold Types
Aspergillus mold spores create thick walls or layers of mold that eventually morph into mold chains. The long flask shaped spores come in a vast array of colors in the 185 species of mold in this classification.
Aspergillus mold varieties contain aflatoxins – deadly carcinogens. Exposure to mold can cause respiratory infections, and asthma attacks. It is one of the most commonly found varieties of mold found inside of homes in the United States.
Alternaria is perhaps the most common type of allergenic mold found around the globe. It is a dark green shade of mol. Alternaria mold boasts a velvety texture that includes growth of fine brown hairs.
It is sometimes mistaken for black mold, and often found under leaking sinks, in showers, and bathtubs. If there is water damage in the home, it is likely alternaria mold will develop.
Upper respiratory tract, mouth, and nose asthma like conditions can develop when someone is exposed to this rapidly spreading mold.
Chaetomium mold thrives in chronically damp areas. It has a cotton type texture, and ranges in color from white to gray to brown – but can turn black over time. Chaetomium can cause both skin and nail infections.
This mold produces mycotoxins that are particularly dangerous to folks who suffer from compromised immune systems.
Aureobasidium molds are typically found beneath painted surfaces or growing behind wallpaper. This type of mold is usually black, brown, or pink in color – turning a dark brown once it ages.
Aureobasidium mold has been known to cause skin, eye, and nail infections that could cause overall body rashes.
Cladosporium is another type of allergenic mold. Unlike almost all other mold types, cladosporium can grow in both war and cold environments. It is typically found on upholstery, curtains, carpet, and other household fabric – as well as inside cabinets and under floorboards.
Cladosporium mold is usually brown or an olive green shade and has a suede style texture. This type of mold causes allergic-like reactions on the skin, nose, throat, and eyes. It can also provoke lung infection, severe skin rash and lesions, sinusitis, and asthma attacks.
Acremonium is a species of mold that is most commonly found growing on humidifiers, cooling coils, in windowsills, and drain pans. It is not uncommon to find this type of mold growing on, under, or around, black mold. It is a toxic mold.
In its early stages of growing, acremonium mold is a moist compound, but as it matures it takes on a powder texture. The mold ranges in color from white to pink to orange.
Exposure to this toxic mold could provoke bone marrow disease, immune system problems, organ damage and even brain function problems because it is also a carcinogen.
Mucor is yet another variety of allergenic mold type that is common in North America. The shading of this type of mold is most typically either gray or white. Mucor mold grows in thick patches in environments that are prone to condensation like HVAC systems, air conditioners, and damp carpeting.
Exposure to this mold can cause asthma, prompt asthma attacks in current sufferers, fever – and other flu-like symptoms. If the exposure to mucor mold is prolonged, it could lead to mucormycosis. This type of fungal infection can damage the lungs, sinuses, and brain.
Fusarium mold can spread quickly in cold environments. It is both an allergenic and toxic old type.
Fusarium mold is commonly found in homes or areas of homes that have suffered water damage – especially in carpets, on fabric items, and behind wallpaper. It is typically white, pink or a light red in color. It naturally grows in compost piles and on food products.
Fusarium mold can cause common outdoor allergy symptoms along with dermatitis. When prolonged exposure happens, it could lead to potentially deadly brain abscesses, bone infections, as well as nervous system problems that can lead to internal bleeding and hemorrhages.
DIY Natural Black Mold Cleaner Components
• Distilled White Vinegar – The vinegar is a natural anti-microbial acidic liquid. It can get rid of 82% of mold types.
- Tea Tree Oil – This essential oil also boasts antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
- Baking Soda – The baking soda will not only get rid of most types of mold, it also absorbs moisture from the area where it was found to help prevent it from growing again.
- Hydrogen Peroxide – This all purpose first aid staple boasts antifungal, anti-microbial, and antibacterial properties.
- Borax – Unless ingested, borax is not harmful, nor will it emit any dangerous or toxic fumes. Borax and boric acid are NOT the same thing. Borax has disinfecting properties that make it an excellent choice for deep cleaning on most surfaces.
Distilled White Vinegar Mold Cleaning Recipe
- Combine 2 parts distilled white vinegar with 5 drops of tea tree oil in a squirt bottle.
- Spray the area where mold is present and do not scrub.
- Allow the mixture to sit on the mold area for a half an hour before wiping it away.
Baking Soda Mold Cleaner Recipe
- Combine equal parts baking soda and warm water in a bowl or pitcher with a spout. This mixture will be too thick to put inside a spray bottle.
- Cover the mold with the baking soda and water mixture.
- Allow the mixture to sit upon the mold for 60 minutes.
- Scoop of the now mold-infused solution and dispose of it safely.
If this is a particularly bad mold infestation, follow up this treatment by combine ½ a teaspoon of baking soda with 16 ounces of water in a squirt bottle. Spray the area with the mixture and then scrub away any residue with an old toothbrush you don’t mind pitching after the chore is done.
Hydrogen Peroxide Mold Disinfecting Recipe
- Pour a 3 percent concentration of hydrogen peroxide into a squirt bottle and spray the moldy area.
- Wait at least 15 minutes before you wipe away the mixture.
- If battling a thick mold infestation, you may need to scrub away any residue as noted above.
Natural Toxic Mold Deep Cleaning Recipe
- Combine 1 cup of distilled white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of tea tree essential oil in a large squirt bottle that can hold at least 3 cups of fluid.
- Pour in 1 cup of warm water.
- Add in 2 tablespoons of baking soda and shake vigorously.
- Pour in 1 cup of 3 percent concentrate hydrogen peroxide – and shake vigorously once again.
- Squirt the mold and allow the solution to settle on it for 30 minutes to one hour.
- Scrub away the liquid – or use a shop vacuum.
- A second light spraying followed by scrubbing with a toothbrush, might be necessary to remove all of the mold residue.
DIY Natural Fabric Mold Removal Recipe
- Combine 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil, ½ of a cup of borax, and ½ of a cup of distilled white vinegar in a pitcher of 2 cups of warm water. This mixture will be too thick to spray through a squirt bottle but might be thin enough to flow through a clean agriculture sprayer.
- Shake the mixture vigorously and make certain the borax has dissolved completely.
- Spray the mold covered areas and then scrub them with a toothbrush or larger still scrub brush.
Borax Mold Killer Recipe
An effective and inexpensive mold killer can be made with just two regular household items: borax and water. The solution works by killing the spores of existing mold while preventing any new growth.
- Mix one cup of borax into one gallon of hot water, stirring until completely dissolved.
- Once cooled, dampen a cloth or sponge with the mixture and scrub the affected areas until all traces of mold are gone.
- Leave the solution on for several minutes to ensure complete eradication, then rinse thoroughly with plain water to remove any residue.
The combination of borax’s antifungal properties and its low pH level make it an ideal choice for mildew control, while the concentration ratio ensures that you don’t spend more money than necessary on this frugal cleaning remedy.
Ammonia Mold Killer
Ammonia is a powerful cleaning agent and can be used as a mold killer when diluted with water. To create this mixture:
- Combine 1/2 cup of ammonia with 1/2 gallon of water in a spray bottle or bucket.
- Spray or pour this solution on the affected areas and let sit for 20 minutes before wiping away any residue with a damp cloth.
It’s important to note that ammonia should never be mixed with bleach as the combination creates toxic fumes.
Killing Mold With Fresh Lemons
Lemons have natural bleaching properties that make them an effective way to kill mold in your home. To use lemons as a natural mold killer:
- Cut one lemon into slices.
- Rub them directly onto the affected area until it is saturated with juice from the lemon slices. Let sit for up to 30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water and wiping away any remaining residue with a cloth or sponge.
This method works best on non-porous surfaces like tile, porcelain, glass, or metal.
Bleach+Borax – a One-Two Punch Against Mold
This is one of the most effective methods for killing mold naturally.
- Combine one cup of bleach (regular strength) with 1/4 cup Borax in one gallon of hot water and stir until dissolved completely.
- Pour this solution into a spray bottle and apply liberally onto the affected area(s).
- Let sit for 15-20 minutes before scrubbing off any remaining residue with a brush or sponge then rinse off thoroughly with warm water once done scrubbing.
This method works best on hard surfaces such as tile floors or countertops but should not be used on fabrics or other porous materials as it could cause discoloration or damage due to the bleach in the mixture.
Grapefruit Seed Extract to Kill Mold
Grapefruit seed extract has been found to be an effective natural remedy for killing mold spores quickly and effectively without the use of harsh chemicals or toxins.
All you need is 100% pure grapefruit seed extract oil (one teaspoon per quart of water).
- Mix the ingredients together in a spray bottle along with one quart of lukewarm water.
- Shake well before spraying onto affected areas liberally until saturated.
- Then let sit for 10 minutes before wiping away any excess liquid/residue using a damp cloth or sponge (rinse afterwards if needed).
For tougher stains, increase concentration by adding two teaspoons per quart instead of just one teaspoon per quart before spraying onto surface(s).
All of these recipes are effective alternatives to using bleach or other harsh chemical ingredients to get rid of mold. All of the ingredients used in the various mold cleaner recipes are safe for both your home and the environment.
When using a natural mold cleaner recipe that contains borax, keep pets and livestock clear of the area until it dries to ensure the wet liquid mixture is not licked and ingested.
Take proper precautions before cleaning any type of mold – but particularly toxic varieties like black mold. Always wear thick cleaning gloves and a mask over your nose and mouth. When dealing with toxic mold or in an area where ventilation is at a minimum, donning protective eyewear is also highly recommended.
In addition to cleaning the mold, you will also need to remove any contaminated materials that are too damaged, absorbent, or porous to be saved – such as drywall, carpeting, particle board – fiberboard, and ceiling tiles.
Once the cleaning and debris are chores are completed, the mold removal job is still not complete. Examine the area where the mold grew and determine how you can help deter regrowth.
Running an exhaust fan or ceiling fan in the bathroom can be an inexpensive and consistent way to keep mold growth in check. Sometimes fixing a water leak or running a dehumidifier is all that it will take.
It is best to keep the humidity levels inside the home below 50% to thwart the growth of mold. Diligently monitor damp areas inside the house, storage buildings, and barns on the homestead for signs of mold growth, especially during times of intense rain.
Tara lives on a 56 acres farm in the Appalachian Mountains, where she faces homesteading and farming challenges every single day, raising chickens, goats, horses, and tons of vegetables. She’s an expert in all sorts of homesteading skills such as hide tanning, doll making, tree tapping, and many more.