The Myth Of Killing Mold With Bleach
Most homeowners initial instinct when they encounter mold may be to grab a spray bottle and try to kill it with bleach. Our advice, NEVER reach for a bleach bottle and don’t panic. If mold is on a porous material like drywall bleach will only reach the surface level of the porous material.
“Don’t “kill” or spray mold! Instead, properly remediate it and hire a professional with experience and references that knows what they are doing…. We “killed” mold, sprayed with Lysol, bleached sub-floor and ran fans, replaced carpet but left mold in the sub-floor, walls, etc. Eight months later I was so sick I could not get out of bed….Not one spray has been shown to denature these toxins. Some sprays appear to make toxins worse or more airborne. Humans cannot smell most mold toxins, especially after the mold is “dead.” They are so small that they cannot be seen. They are so tiny that they generally cannot be removed with air purifiers or filters. But they are deadly.” Stated by Christa Upton a Mold survivor
The main problem with mold is that there is a lot of bad information, especially on the internet. Many DIY solutions recommend that it is safe to kill mold. However, as the case with Christa simply killing the mold is unproductive and can lead to serious health problems. Unfortunately, because of the lack of regulation in the mold remediation industry, even some contractors BELIEVE that killing mold actually works. These contractors are generally speaking poorly trained and educated on mold and the dangers from exposure. There is no “quick fix” for mold situations. The best thing to do as homeowner is to leave it undisturbed, so the spores do not become airborne. If it is in a visible place use a trash bag and tape to cover if until a professional can remediate it properly.
If you are in need of a professional be very cautious of any contractor who states they can spray or have a magical solution to kill the mold. Dead molds mycotoxins are as dangerous as live spores.
Mold Facts You Need To Know
- Mold thrives when moisture is present. Removing mold without addressing the source of the problem is not a long term solution. As the mold will grow back without the moisture being eliminated. Before any mold removal, the moisture problem must first be found and fixed.
- Exposure to mold spores, both live and dead, and their byproducts like microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), mycotoxins, connecting filaments, etc. can cause illnesses ranging from minor allergic reactions, respiratory problems like asthma and sinusitis, to more serious, life threatening illnesses.
- Speaking with restoration knowledge, not a professional or licensed doctor, every person responds to mold differently. Some people will get water eyes, and a runny nose from the moment they contact a room with elevated spores. Other people can remove the materials that are affected with little or no consequences.
- Mold is a biological agent that will continue to grow as long as the right conditions exist. This is the reason that mold is such a concern because it will continue to thrive and grow unless the moisture issue is eliminated.
- Contractors trained in mold removal, refer to the process as “remediation” because they have invested in specialized training and equipment and take precautions to prevent the spread of the mold in other parts of the building. Mold remediation specialists will never recommend a “quick fix” because they understand that relying on mold sprays, bleach, biocides, and fungicides are an ineffective “short cut” to mold removal.
- As there are many DIY solutions, Pursuit Restoration recommends ALWAYS hiring a IICRC Certified Firm. This will ensure the follow the Guidelines to Mold Remediation.
The Myth About Bleach Killing Mold
“Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of bleach when proposed as a cleaner or sanitizing agent is that its effectiveness is greatly reduced in the presence of organic material. To be a successful sanitizer, bleach must be used on clean materials and surfaces. This is why bleach products are used in the laundry after the wash cycle or in a commercial kitchen as a component in the third sink after the dishes have been washed and rinsed. The efficacy of bleach as a sanitizer is also compromised by heat and light. Despite the fact that the chlorine odor may linger for some time after use, bleach loses strength so quickly that it is not considered to have a residual effect that would prevent future bacterial or fungal growth.” Micheal Pinto CEO of Wonder Makers Environmental
One of the greatest invention thus far today has been the Internet. It has given everyone an equal opportunity to search and invest their time into any topic of interest. Unfortunately, this does allow for both good and bad information to be available for research. As we are barely getting into the scientific studies on mold and the effects of exposure, it is hard to gain valuable information.
In respect to mold, the internet is full of incorrect information! Bleach may have some impact on non porous materials such as bathroom glass, tile, or porcelain toilet but it is completely ineffective on porous materials.
“If you spray bleach all over your “black toxic mold” you won’t kill every single spore….To kill every single mold spore using bleach, for example, you’d have to use such a high concentration of disinfectant and you’d have to keep it on the surface for so long that more likely you’d damage the structure – and still miss some toxic spores.” Should we be trying to kill mold?
Bleach does not address the problem! Experienced Remediation specialists understand the most effective way to deal with mold is to first fix the source of moisture.
The next step is to set containment with plastics, tapes, and poles if necessary to secure the containment and block off any HVAC or areas for air movement.
Set up an AFD ( Air Filtration Device) to create negative pressure allowing to clean the air during air exchanges.
Then remove the materials under containment making sure to HEPA vacuum bags as they leave the containment. All occupants should be required to wear a full face mask with proper PPE attire.
Proper removal of mold contaminated materials like drywall, carpet, soft goods, insulation, and other porous materials is essential because mold has hyphae, which are basically roots that embed themselves in the material. This is the reason that bleach does not work. Bleach may kill some of the surface mold, but it will not be able to penetrate and kill the roots. The other reason bleach is a problem is that it is diluted with water. Spraying this is counter-productive because water is an essential ingredient mold needs to grow. Keep in mind, even if another biocide or fungicide is sprayed on the material, killing the roots, the material will still be contaminated with dead spores. The best course of action to permanently deal with a mold problem on porous materials is to properly dispose of the contaminated material.
Dead Mold Spores Are Dangerous
“Even if in theory we could “kill” every spore, the assumption that they are unimportant is highly questionable. “Dead” spores often contain allergens or toxins that are just as harmful to someone breathing them or getting such mold in one’s eye or in a cut, as before….The object is not to “kill” mold, it is – to remove the mold reservoir in the building by physical cleaning or in cases of items that can’t be cleaned, such as drywall, soft goods, carpets, furniture, or insulation, remove the moldy material – to identify the cause and make sure that’s been corrected.” How to Kill Mold.
If you have a problem with mold contact Pursuit Restoration. We are experts in remediation and removal of mold in residential or commercial property’s.