So, what exactly is black mold?
“Black mold” refers to several species of mold (which is a type of fungus) that have a dark green or black appearance. One such type is Stachybotrys chartarum.
The colour of a mold isn’t associated with how dangerous it may be, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source.
Furthermore, no evidence links black molds like Stachybotrys chartarum to particular health conditions.
Molds thrive in warm, frequently moist environments, including baths, showers, toilets, kitchens, and basements. They can also grow on wood, dirt, or paper.
Black mold may be growing in your home and you don’t even know it. That’s because mold loves dark, warm, humid places that are often out of sight. Once it begins to spread, getting rid of black mold can be challenging.
When the conditions are right, mold can grow quickly — sometimes within 24-48 hours. Leaving mold untreated can lead to worsening respiratory illnesses as well as aggravating asthma and allergies. Mold’s ability to grow quickly and its negative effect on your family’s health is why you should keep an eye out and stop mold before it spreads.
Your basement, kitchen, and bathroom are at the greatest risk for mold and bacteria growth because they are typically areas with moisture. The best way to prevent mold is by cleaning regularly and minimizing moisture. Squeegeeing shower doors after use, repairing leaks, and keeping tile grout cleaners are effective methods for keeping mold at bay. But even if you’re frequently cleaning and disinfecting, mold can sneak in and make itself at home.
Identifying mold in your home
- Look for spots or clustered growths, especially in warm, moist rooms. You may be able to identify mold by a musty smell. Experiencing asthma attacks or allergy symptoms in your home may also indicate there’s mold.
- Look for causes of mold growth, such as a leak, water damage, lack of ventilation, or old food, papers, or wood.
- Resolve any issues causing mold growth. Throw away anything affected by mold or contributing to mold growth.
How Do You Get Rid of Mold?
There are plenty of commercial products that are effective for black mold removal, but many of them contain harsh chemicals that may be as harmful as the mold itself. There are several ways to get rid of mold without resorting to toxic chemicals.
Here are 5 ways to treat black mold using green household cleaners:
How to treat mold with hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an antifungal, antiviral, and anti-bacterial solution found in most medicine cabinets, and it’s an effective mold treatment. You can use it safely on a range of surfaces such as kitchen appliances and counters, bathroom fixtures and tubs, hard flooring, and even certain wall surfaces.
Pour a 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Test an inconspicuous area of surfaces first to prevent discolouration or damage. Saturate the mouldy surface and leave it for 10 minutes. Next, scrub the area with just enough force to remove black mold and mold stains. Once the surface is free of residual mold and stains, wipe dry.
Black mold removal using vinegar
White vinegar is a mildly acidic product that cleans, deodorizes, and disinfects. It can also kill 82% of mold species, including black mold, on porous and non-porous surfaces. You can use it safely on most surfaces, and its offensive odour goes away quickly.
Pour undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle. Because white vinegar contains only about 20% acetic acid, adding water makes it less effective. Spray the vinegar onto the mouldy surface and leave for an hour. Finally, wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours.
Getting rid of mold with baking soda
From absorbing odours in the fridge to relieving heartburn, baking soda has a multitude of uses around the house — including black mold removal. It’s safe for your family and pets, and it not only kills black mold, but it also absorbs moisture that attracts mold.
Add one-quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle of water and shake until it has dissolved. Spray the mouldy area with the baking soda and water solution, then use a scrub brush to remove mold from the surface. Next, rinse the surface with water to remove any residue and baking soda. Finally, spray the area again and let the surface dry without wiping. This will kill any left-over mold and help prevent the mold from returning.
For really tough black mold removal, mix two parts baking soda with one part white vinegar and one part water. Stir the mixture until it becomes a thick paste. Spread your mixture liberally onto the surface and let it dry. Scrub away the black mold and stains, and wipe down with water.
Black mold removal using essential oils
Essential oils have made aromatherapy a household word, but these natural compounds can do so much more. Tea tree oil is an insect repellant, antiseptic, and deodorizer — and it’s one of the safest methods for getting rid of black mold. Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide that cleans up mold quickly and it helps prevent mold spores from coming back.
Combine one teaspoon of tea tree oil with one cup of water in a spray bottle and shake vigorously to blend the water and oil. Spray the mouldy area, leave it to dry for an hour, and then wipe away with a microfiber cloth or dry towel. Make sure to wear protective gloves, because some people find that essential oils can irritate their skin.
How to treat mold with lemons
Lemons are a natural deodorizer, antiseptic, bleach, stain remover, and cleaner — and they can also remove black mold. The high concentration of acid in lemons breaks down mold, making it easy to remove and leaves behind a disinfected surface. Along with that wonderful citrus aroma!
Juice three-to-five lemons into a cup and pour over the mouldy area. Let it sit for five minutes and then wipe the surface with a damp towel. You can reapply and scrub the surface to get rid of tough mold stains.
These natural remedies are great non-toxic alternatives to chemical-based black mold removers, and many of them are also effective against mildew. They are safe for your family and safe for the environment and are frequently less expensive than commercial brands. To learn more about the basics of mold removal, check out this guide from EPA.gov.
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