Why You Should Never Use Bleach for Mold Removal
- Date: 10-2019
Performing mold remediation in Massachusetts for several years, one of the most common questions we encounter from our new and existing customers pertains to bleach and its use in killing mold.
This is a valid question but this also proves that bleach myths are perpetuated on the internet on countless websites. When it comes to the mold battle, bleach is considered the ally of many homeowners.
In this article we will briefly describe how mold grows and how it can damage the property and human’s health. We will also explain in detail why bleach is not a viable solution in killing mold.
How Does the Mold Grow and Reproduce?
Molds are fungi, simple microscopic organisms that thrive anywhere with a moist environment. They grow in the form of multicellular strands known as hyphae. They reproduce by the production of large numbers of small spores which may contain a nucleus or be multinucleate. These spores are comparable to the seeds of a plant, though they are much smaller than seeds or even pollen grains. The small size makes them easy to disperse through the air and water. They can also disperse long distances by clinging on the clothing and fur. They will only start to grow once they land in an environment with suitable temperature, food, water and oxygen.
Mold Damages to Your Property and Health
Mold eats the materials it grows on, breaks down the material bit by bit. Its presence can result in extensive structural property damage. Mold is also a threat to spread to new areas by dispersing its spores.
Mold produces allergens, irritants and toxins. Another source of irritation is microbial volatile organic compounds or mVOCs. These compounds are produced via fungal metabolism and are released directly into the air, often giving off strong and unpleasant odor. So while property damage is a major concern, the possible health effects for those who are exposed are a bigger cause of alarm. Health risks associated with airborne mold spores’ exposure range from mild to severe including the fungal allergy, respiratory infections, eye and nose irritations, throat and skin irritations, mood swings, headaches, memory loss and worse wheezing and asthma attacks.
Our Stand in Using Bleach in Killing Mold
We agree that the internet is a great source of information. However, not all the recommendations from the online publications are facts and reliable.
The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA and Occupational Safety and Health Administrations or OSHA no longer recommend the use of bleach because using chlorine bleach to kill mold is one of the worst things you can do. And, Green Home Solutions totally agrees with this recommendation!
Bleach contains 90% of water. Mold loves water. When bleach is applied, the chlorine quickly evaporates after use leaving behind a lot of water. This water often soaks into the porous surface allowing the mold to flourish and re-grow in the moist environment. Bleach feeds the internal mold spores. Even though the surface may look bleached and clean, the remaining spores will root deeper, stronger and will often return worse than before.
Why We Don’t Recommend Bleach for Mold Removal
- Bleach doesn’t kill all mold. Big bleach companies have promised that nothing else will do the job of removing mold only their bleach. Yes, it is great for disinfecting, and they work to remove mold in impermeable, hard surfaces like bathtub, shower surrounds or tiles. However, in porous and semi-porous surfaces like drywall or hardwood floors, it will not work and can actually contribute negatively to certain mold problems.
- Bleach can weaken the wood. Chlorine bleach is extremely harmful to wood and many other surfaces. If bleach is applied on wood, it will weaken the wood by breaking down its fibers. This can create further problems with the structure of the home.
- Mixing Bleach with ammonia creates deadly gas. According to Washington State Department of Health Toxic gases called chloramines are produced when you mix bleach with ammonia. Once exposed, they symptoms such as coughing, nausea, chest pain, watery eyes, and shortness of breath.
- Bleach is toxic. Bleach is corrosive, considered as a toxic chemical and classified the same as gasoline.
- Bleach is harmful to your skin. Exposure to bare skin creates a hydrolysis reaction which means the “oily” feeling on the top of the layer of your skin starts to dissolve.
- Bleach will make your mold problem worse in the long run. The mold color looks like it’s gone after using bleach, but within a short period of time, mold comes back. Chlorine bleach cannot penetrate to destroy the growth as it grows at its roots. Mold spores spread its roots, called mycelia and hyphae, deep into porous surfaces.
- Bleach is dangerous to humans and pets. Chlorine produces fumes that pollute the air and can become dangerous to both humans and pets. It also generates a by-product called dioxin which is linked to cancer. When used over time, bleach builds up these pollutants in the environment. We are certain that the last thing you want to do is create more toxic chemicals in your home. There are many safer alternatives to do if your house has mold which are also much more effective.
What to Do to Kill Mold
1. Think twice before you considering the DIY. Dead or alive, mold can still remain allergenic and damaging. There are many factors that need to be evaluated when deciding whether you should clean up the mold yourself or hire a professional. Sometimes DIY mold removal creates a bigger mess and can actually cost you more money in the long run. Inadequate equipment, insufficient protective wear, complications and allergic reactions are factors that may result to risky DIY mold remediation attempts.
2. Mold testing. You should also consider mold testing to determine the scope of the mold problem you’re dealing with as that may help determine what type of solution you may need to remediate it. You can have a mold professional test it for you.
3. Consult mold experts. Mold is a serious issue and should be taken earnestly. Always consult mold remediation experts before attempting to remediate mold yourself. Every situation is unique and Green Home Solutions are delighted to come to your property to discuss your options and provide a mold inspection.
EPA Registered Product
Green Home Solutions uses products that will work quickly and effectively to solve your mold and odor problems. Our solutions have been carefully researched. We have also chosen EPA registered fungicide product that contains plant based ingredients.
This product is applied in a fine spray that attacks pathogens at a molecular level, contains plant-based enzymes which break down allergenic proteins in spores. It also helps prevent regrowth of mold and is safe when used as directed for people, pets and environment. We never use harsh chemicals and we provide comprehensive mold remediation services to help you breathe cleaner, fresher air.