Mold and mildew can not only cause terrible allergic reactions and asthma attacks, but also can be difficult to remove, especially in wetter climates. Many commercial cleaners are both expensive and toxic to use. Homemade cleansers are often just as effective and gentler on both the environment and the person doing the cleaning. This page contains homemade mold and mildew surface cleaner recipes.
I have posted this many times when I see the request for mold or mildew clean up but I continue to see the question asked so I felt this would be a better way to get the message across.
Using bleach to clean up mold can be extremely dangerous to your health! Certain molds react to the chlorine in the bleach and creates an invisible gas and can/will damage your lungs permanently the first time you use it and you won't feel a thing.
I know it is the most common form of mold clean up but I found out how bad this is since it happened to me. Not only the lung problem but also it can cause an extreme reaction and you will end up with headaches that leave you almost physically paralyzed, pain so bad that you can't function at all and many trips to the ER. When they would hit me (several times a day, every day) I couldn't even stand up and would have to crawl if I wanted to go any place. I couldn't keep anything down, even water and lost 40 pounds in 2 months.
I live in the "great northWET" and we have a lot of problems with mold/mildew; I used bleach and wore a face mask and gloves but still have paid the price for not knowing about this.
The Red Cross online finally solved the cause of the headaches, etc. and told me to only use a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water on mold. They said do NOT rinse it off since it will leave an acid base where the mold was and help prevent it from growing back.
I had to live in a tent in my backyard while my entire house was being painted with a special paint to prevent the mold spores from getting inside, everything, including all the natural wood had to be completely coated.
It took me 2 weeks of living outside to finally stop getting so sick but my body is infiltrated now and I get sick if I am around mold, even if no one can see it.
PLEASE, please tell all your friends about this so no one else gets as sick as I was.
Source: Red Cross online, nurse call back
By wolfbytez from Brownsville, OR
You are absolutely correct about not using bleach to clean up mold. Bleach in and of itself is a lung contaminant, so it isn't that it causes a reaction when combined with mold - it causes a reaction all on its own.
First and foremost, the cause of the mold should be eliminated before doing any cleanup.
After removing the mold source, use a mild detergent and water mix and a stiff brush to clean the mold. Wear a mask that says 'N-95' or 'NIOSH' to prevent breathing in mold spores, and wear chemical gloves (the orange ones, not yellow household cleaning gloves). After the mold has been removed, THOROUGHLY DRY the surface area.
The EPA has mold cleanup guidelines here:
Wow, thanks for the info. I always thought it was safe to use bleach to kill mold, now I know better. Sorry you had to get sick to find out.
Vinegar and tap water is a great all purpose cleaner and it kills odors too. I use it for almost everything around my house.
God Bless You for submitting this! I've submitted about not using chlorine bleach at all before and posted answers to questions a few times about not using chlorine bleach, whether alone or mixed with even dish soap, at all and very few people have taken the risk seriously :-( I am only 55 years old and am borderline stage 2/3 Emphysema because of lifelong chemical use and living this way is not a pretty sight :-( I so hope people will start taking not using strong chemicals more seriously!
All natural tea tree oil is the absolute best treatment for mold and mildew. Mix 10-20 drops of essential oil in a spray bottle filled with water. Spray on to surface and you're done.
I have noticed several requests for getting rid of mold. My mother found some things in a book that may help.
Here is a natural way to remove mild mildew and rust stains from clothing. Use lemon juice (1/2 cup) and salt (1/4 cup). Mix ingredients together, creating a paste like substance.
I like to use tea tree oil to clean mold in the bathroom. In a 1 quart spray bottle, fill almost 3/4 full and add 30 to 40 drops of tee tree oil and about 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid dish detergent.
My pipes were leaking under my sink and I didn't know for a long time. How do I get the mold off the wall and shelving under my sink so it doesn't get on my pots and pans or infect my son and small pets?
By Jbird from Spartanburg, SC
I had to use a 50/50 mix of Bleach to kill ours. I also bought a mask to wear to protect my lungs cause it was a big area. The mask was a N95 and I got it at our Walgreens Pharmacy for like $5.
Being it is wood, you may need to replace it because like others have said, it's porous. But until you get it replaced, bleaching would be the cheapest if you cannot afford the other products out on the market. Just make sure you cover the area really good and let it sit. I let mine sit for 24 hours before wiping it down.
Use white vinegar. Spray on wipe off then spray on again and leave. Or you can just sppray on and leave. Will not harm children or pets.
Just a point, don't mix the bleach with the vinegar. Use one or the other. Bleach will kill mold more effectively as it is used for that purpose. That is why we have chlorine in the water, to kill micro-organisms.
It might be a good idea to paint over it with this Kilz as well, but only after you have cleaned with bleach.
Spray hydrogen peroxide on the molded wood. The mold should be gone overnight. You can get a small spray bottle of it at your drug store rather cheap. This is a good cleaner, as well. We use it instead of bleach for a lot of things.
Fighting mildew? Bleach and water! Just put it in a spray bottle. We recently had a severe mildew problem on all of our walls and windows. A spray bottle with a little bit of bleach and lots of water did the trick and got in those tough corners, too. By Mara
Is it possible to remove mildew from a featherbed or duvet?
Hang them on the clothesline in bright sunlight for several hours and it will disappear.
Here's a homemade mold remover that does not require bleach.
Put ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until borax is dissolved. Spray on moldy surfaces and wipe away with a sponge.