There Are Many Reasons NOT to Use Bleach to Kill Mold If You Suffer from Mold
By Cesar Collado
Chlorine bleach is the undisputed champion when it comes to cost effectiveness and efficacy as a disinfectant and sanitizer. Bleach has been the workhorse for many domestic and industrial applications. It is used effectively in sanitizing swimming pools, day to day cleaning of bathrooms, kitchens, laundry, toys, stain removal, whitening tile grout, as well as removing stains from mold and mildew. It also has personal uses such as a whitening agent for teeth and hair color. Industrial uses include wood pulp production, outdoor power washing, food service to kill harmful bacteria, neutralizing organisms in tap water, and as a hospital and hotel disinfectant. Bleach works extremely well for all non-porous surfaces such as plastic, metals, glass, and sealed wood. When used properly, bleach can be an effective disinfectant and sanitizer.
Downside of Bleach
Chlorine bleach alone is toxin, an irritant and produces toxic fumes. Even at low levels, chlorine fumes can irritate eyes, throat, and nose (mucous membranes) as well as causing breathing problems. However, the significant dangers lie in the potentially mixing with other household cleaners.
- The inadvertent mixing of chlorine bleach with ammonia can result in the creation of toxic chloramine gas fumes. Ammonia is often found in glass cleaners and interior and exterior paints. Ammonia is often used in laundry as an alternative to bleach for whitening, removing stains, and dissolving grease. The human body can also produce ammonia and is excreted in urine making liter boxes, toilet bowls, and diaper pails dangerous to clean.
- Acidic cleaners are also very common for toilets and drains. Mixing bleach with acids can create chlorine gas. Chlorine gas can irritate or cause chemical burns on mucous membranes, create severe breathing problems, and cause harmful effects such as chest pain, vomiting, and pain and fluid in the lungs. Chlorine can be absorbed by the skin, resulting in inflammation, swelling, and blistering. Chlorine exposure can also be fatal.
- Rubbing alcohol and bleach can make chloroform, hydrochloric acid, and other toxic compounds.
- Vinegar and bleach can create toxic chlorine gas.
- There are also risks of inadvertently mixing bleach with pesticides used in the home. Pesticide active ingredients are often not known to consumers.
Bleach and Mold Sensitive Patients
While bleach is effective in removing mold and mildew stains, bleach should never be used to clean mold. There are historical conflicting recommendations by EPA, OSHA and other agencies recommending bleach to kill mold. These recommendations have been updated and changed recently to recognize the limitations of bleach. Bleach remains effective in killing mold in non-porous surfaces as mentioned above, however, it is not effective in penetrating porous surfaces.
Our homes are built with many porous materials: wood, drywall, grout, and natural tiles that are not sealed properly. Bleach does not penetrate porous materials. When mold reproduces, it does so through the growth of hyphae. Hyphae are similar to plant roots. They are microscopic growths that can penetrate surfaces. When bleach is applied, it will only disinfect the surface of these materials. Since bleach solutions are mostly water (>90%), the water will penetrate the surface and can help the mold grow back even stronger. Thus, it is essentially a very temporary and short-term solution to killing mold.
This is where mold patients should be concerned. Most people have their standard preferences of household cleaner brands they are accustomed to using. Many of us do not pay particular attention to the active ingredients and have been successful in maintaining a clean household. When mold illness is in the house, the immediate use of bleach is not only a potential hazard in mixing with other chemicals to become toxic, it will not achieve sustainable success in cleaning mold.
The most important element to getting well is to ensure you are breathing fresh air that is free of mold spores. Continued breathing of mold will keep your immune system hyperactive and prevent the body from healing itself. The air you breath is significantly more important than all medicine and procedures a physician can provide.
Removing Mold from Your Home
The first thing to address mold in your home is to identify the source of the mold and fix it. Without fixing the cause, you risk being unable to gain control of your indoor air quality
(IAQ). Learn more about identifying mold in your home by reading “I Know There is Mold in My Home.”
You also have the option of testing you home for mold using many of the ImmunoLytics mold testing kits available. You can order any number of mold test plates and swabs to be tested by a laboratory to determine specific molds contaminating your home. Read more about ImmunoLytics Mold Testing. If you can see the mold, you can test the mold using an ImmunoLytics Swab to gather a sample for testing. Read more about mold identification and swab testing by reading “Toxic Black Molds.” You can order swabs directly form the order page HERE.
Cleaning surfaces with any of the available natural ingredients with natural products such as hydrogen peroxide, borax, vinegar, and baking soda are all good options. You can also use Citrisafe Mold Solution Concentrate, an all-natural, safe botanical cleaner and surfactant to remove mold. One bottle produces one gallon of cleaning solution that does penetrate porous surfaces. You should also use safety precautions when testing your home for mold and cleaning up mold contamination if you are mold sensitive.
If you are concerned about systemic mold having penetrated your ventilation system and spread throughout the home, you can read about “DIY Hot Fogging” to address systemic mold in your home.
Bio-Balance Hot Fogging Solutions
These solutions will reach all areas of the home including corners and crevices to reduce the fungal air count dramatically, down to close to zero. These packages do not replace identifying the source of mold, removing it, and fixing it when possible! To earn more about Bio-Balance DIY Fogging solutions, click HERE.
- Fogging rooms with the BioBalance HavenFog Mini Kit (for <1000 sq. ft.)
- Fogging the entire home with BioBalance HavenFog Kit(for <4000 sq. ft)
Bio-Balance Cold Fogging Solutions
- Maintenance misting using a cold fogging solution that aerosolizes BioBalance HavenMist Solution diluted with distilled water is a quick and easy way to treat regularly to reduce fungal concentrations in the air and on the surfaces of the home.
- The BioBalance HavenMist Kit is an inexpensive way to spot fog rooms, furniture, carpets, cars, and closets. This fogger weighs less than 5 lb. so you can ably reach all areas including cabinets and above furnishings to fog your home.
- The HavenMist Large Kit can be used for large homes or regular maintenance fogging of commercial spaces. This fogger weighs less than 10 lb. and comes with a shoulder harness to carry the weight, with a delivery hose to allow for agile fogging throughout the area to be treated like the smaller fogger.