The Best Natural Ways to Kill Mold
Mold is not something you want in your house. The sheer thought of discovering a build-up of fungi growth in your bathtub or on a windowsill is probably enough to send shivers down your spine. There are several varieties of mold, with the most common being Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys.
But mold isn’t just any neglected mess - it’s a living organism that can cause serious damage to the human body, provided it isn’t respected. Mold is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae - as opposed to fungi that grow as single-celled organisms, which are referred to as yeasts.
Mold spores can survive and thrive in even the harshest environments, so you’ll find them growing in places like Antarctica and even in spacecrafts! Simply put, they’re a part of nature and we’re continually exposed to mold everyday whether we’re aware of it or not. What’s important to know is that mold requires water to grow - which is why mold primarily exists within the home in predictable locations like damp and cold basements, cellars, bathrooms, and garages.
Even if you follow a regular cleaning routine, there’s still a good possibility that mold could be growing in some of the lesser-cleaned areas of the home. Prime locations for fungi build-up include poorly-ventilated rooms like the bathroom, the corner of windowsills, inside cabinets and closets, and on carpets.
Complications That Can Be Caused by Mold
At best, mold is an unsightly signal of moisture or dampness in your home. At worst, it’s a dangerous health hazard that releases toxins into the air to cause a whole host of issues.
The health complications triggered by mold in the home include allergies such as asthma attacks, hay fever, and other respiratory issues. Toxic reactions on the other hand can include pulmonary hemorrhaging in infants, memory loss in infants and young children, and terrible effects on the lungs and nervous system.
The best defense from dangerous black mold is removing it - free and clear - from the home. But this is a serious job, so having the right tools to rid your space of the fungi is critical if you’re to do it safely and effectively. Here is what you need to remove mold for good.
Getting Equipped for Mold Removal
To clean mold safely, you’ll need:
- Coveralls (also known as boilersuits) - Coveralls are specialized protective clothing that cover the body from head to toe to prevent mold from touching the skin.
- Gloves - Disposable if possible, but rubber gloves can be placed in a pot of boiled water to cleanse them of mold when you’re done cleaning.
- Respirator or mold safety mask - three types are available - N-95 which can filter out 95% of all airborne mold spores (appropriate for most small mold removal jobs), N-99 masks which remove 99% of all airborne mold spores and particles (good for jobs in no more than 10 square feet of moldy space), and N-100 masks, which can remove up to 99.97% of airborne mold particles.
- Half face Respirator - For mold removal jobs of less than 100 square feet.
- Full-face Respirator - Jobs involving more than 100 square feet of contaminated space.
So how do you go about it? Is bleach and chemical cleaning products the answer? No, quite the opposite in fact.
There are three natural, and very common, ingredients that are incredibly effective at ridding your house of fungi growth...
Tea Tree Oil
Derived from the Australian ‘Melaleuca Alternifolia,’ tea tree oil is a natural fungicide capable of killing black mold and mildew in the home. It’s been used as a remedy for cuts and burns by Aboriginal Australians for centuries. Tea tree oil is known for its anti-bacterial cleaning and antiseptic properties, which is why it makes a great all-natural scouring powder. A little can go a long way with this essential oil, making it a cost-effective and Eco-friendly alternative to using bleach or ammonia as a black mold remover.
A word of caution though – tea tree oil is toxic to the body if swallowed, and gloves should always be used when handling pure tea tree oil, as mild skin irritations have been known to occur in some people. We recommend diluting with water before applying to the moldy area. Here’s a quick guide on how to do it:
- Combine 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil with one cup of water.
- Shake the mixture thoroughly.
- Spray on moldy areas and wipe clean.
- As a mold prevention concoction, apply the mixture to tiles, faucets, and spouts. Then simply leave them to air dry.
Vinegar & Baking Soda
White distilled vinegar is a great green ingredient for cleaning small mold problems around the house. If its strong scent isn’t for you, simply mix it with some citrus, such as lemon juice, to mask the strong odour. It’s known as a powerful anti-bacterial agent and can be used to clean everything from black mold to the kitchen sink. The low cost of vinegar means it’s kind on both the planet and your wallet.
To prevent mold from becoming a recurring problem, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down surfaces as part of your weekly cleaning schedule. Baking soda is another powerful way to clean and eliminate mold. Combine vinegar and baking soda by mixing them into a paste, and apply to affected areas. With a little elbow grease, it’s a safe alternative to bleach, and is safe to use in households with kids and pets running around.