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Is Using Bleach to Kill Mold a Good Idea?
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
There have been numerous remedies created for killing mold in the home, and among them bleach or a bleach solution has traditionally been one of the most popular. Used by homeowners for years, the consensus has largely been that bleach is an effective mold treatment. However, more recent evidence would seem to suggest otherwise.
Mold is well known as the most common byproduct of water damage. It can establish itself anywhere there is sufficient moisture for it to grow, spread quickly, and become extremely difficult to remediate. Of course, we deal with mold all the time – normally in our bathrooms or kitchens – and there are products available at your local supermarket that will take care of these small problems quite nicely. But what about the more serious growths, the ones that go unnoticed in your basement or crawlspace until it has reached a significant size? Is bleach the cure-all it has been touted as?
Reasons Bleach is Not Recommended for Killing Mold
Chlorine bleach does not kill the mold. It will simply bleach it, meaning it removes the color and makes it look like something has been done.
While bleach may kill bacteria and viruses, it will not kill mold. Bleach is mostly water and mold thrives on the presence of water! In many cases, not only will bleach fail to kill the mold, but it may actually assist its growth and cause it to come back even stronger. Not the result that homeowners desire.
How does this happen? Chlorine bleach is an ionic solution, which will work on the surface but do little to actually get down into porous areas where much of the mold resides. The water in the bleach, however, will get down within these pores, feeding the mold instead of killing it.
If there is any potential killing power in bleach, it is extremely reduced the longer the bleach sits in a warehouse or in a market. Bleach has a very short shelf life, losing as much as 50% of its potency within the first 90 days if allowed to sit inside an unopened container.
Chlorine bleach is not registered with the EPA as a mold deterrent. It may also give off gases and fumes which can be harmful to humans if inhaled.
What is important to remember is that it is not enough to just kill the mold. The area where mold was found needs to be properly treated, cleaned, disinfected and sanitized. In addition, it should be properly ventilated in order to bring down excessive humidity and moisture. Basically, the area has to be made inhospitable for mold in order to prevent it from returning.
Due to the health risks associated with mold, professional mold remediation services are advised when dealing with any significant mold growth found within your home or business.
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