4 Best Natural Ways to Kill Mold in Your Home
If you see unsightly black stains or spots on the grout lines of your shower, on the back of your shower curtain, on the walls or on items stored in a damp basement, it’s probably mold. Molds thrive in damp, humid, warm environments. So bathrooms, kitchens, damp basements, and windowsills are prime areas for mold growth.
Molds or mildew are tiny fungi that are transmitted by microscopic spores. Molds can be black, grey-green, green, white or a combination of those colors. Mold smells musty.
Mold is more than just unsightly with an unpleasant odor. Molds can cause allergies and sinus infections, provoke asthma attacks, irritate the skin, and even cause depression. Symptoms of mold exposure may include: sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and skin rash. Some molds are even highly toxic. Mold is definitely not something you want to live with in your home!
The saying, “prevention is the best medicine” is definitely true when it comes to mold. Since mold requires moisture to grow and survive, the best way to prevent it is by eliminating moisture. Here’s how you can prevent mold growth:
- Repair any water leaks in your plumbing
- Keep areas under your sink dry
- Avoid letting damp clothes or other articles lie around
- Use a dehumidifier in a damp room or basement
- Ventilate a bathroom or other moist areas regularly
- Discard mildewy shower curtains and other disposable items
- Use an air purifier to rid the air of mold spores
- Make sure the grout is sealed in tiled areas
Natural vs. Chemical Mold Remedies
Many people resort to natural remedies because they wish to avoid caustic and environmentally unfriendly chemicals. But while doing so, they often think that they’re sacrificing effectiveness for the sake of the environment. Fortunately, the natural remedies below are often superior to industrial chemicals when it comes to killing mold.
Advantages of natural remedies:
- Penetrate porous surfaces better
- Are non-toxic and safer to use
- Exhibit more powerful natural anti-fungal properties
Due to the harmful nature of molds, the EPA recommends wearing an N-95 respirator (available at a local hardware store), gloves (rubber, neoprene, or nitrile), and safety goggles when removing mold. Avoid touching mold with your bare hands.
4 Best Natural Ways to Kill Mold
1. Tea Tree Oil
This essential oil is a natural fungicide and may well be the most effective solution for killing mold and preventing a reoccurrence of mold.
In a spray bottle, combine 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil with 1 cup of water. Shake well and spray infected areas and wipe with a disposable cloth or towel. You may wish to let the tea tree oil soak on the mold for a few minutes before wiping it down.
You can also spray tea tree oil to a previously infected area and let it dry to prevent mold from recurring. Tea tree oil has a strong piney scent, so if you prefer not to leave that odor behind, you might try grapefruit seed extract.
2. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is also a natural mold killer and works similarly to tea tree oil. Use 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract per cup of water and dispense with a spray bottle. Always shake the solution to ensure that it’s well-mixed before spraying. Allow the solution to sit on the mold for several minutes before wiping.
Both grapefruit seed extract and tea tree oil can be purchased at local natural health stores. These two remedies are more expensive than those that follow, but the amount of solutionyou can make from a small quantity of these oils will last a long time.
3. White Distilled Vinegar
Vinegar, a natural antifungal and antimicrobial, is an inexpensive, yet effective means for killing mold. Use white vinegar undiluted in a spray bottle or cloth. Spray vinegar on affected area and let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe down. Even though vinegar has a strong odor, the smell will soon dissipate.
4. Baking Soda
This common, inexpensive household product is also called sodium bicarbonate and possesses natural antifungal properties. As with the other remedies listed here, baking soda is completely safe. It is also especially effective at neutralizing the odor of molds.
To apply, mix baking soda and water in a 1:1 ratio to make a paste. Apply the paste to the mold and let it dry. Then scrub the area with a stiff brush and wipe the area clean with a cloth. Mix a more diluted solution with 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda to 2 cups of water and stir well. Apply this solution with a sponge or spray bottle and allow it to dry. The baking soda will continue to deodorize and prevent mold growth in the future.
There’s no reason to live with mold any longer. Using any of these effective, natural remedy methods you can eliminate mold and prevent its recurrence with tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extra or even baking soda. Now may be as good a time as any to inspect your home for mold and take steps to get rid of it safely and naturally.