What Kills Mold 100%? Answers from Professional Mold Removers

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Mold is one of the most common problems faced by anyone who lives in a building. Naturally, getting rid of it is one of the most commonly searched questions on the internet. There are a lot of opinions on what kills mold 100%, but unfortunately, a lot of them are misguided, risky, or incorrect. This is because not everyone on the internet is a mold expert. We are.

We’re Cleaner Guys, a professional mold inspection and mold removal company in Washington State with more than 20 years of experience. It’s our job to know mold inside and out. And frankly, we’re alarmed by some of the common suggestions we see on the internet for killing mold, including bleach and vinegar. So we’re here to set the record straight. Let’s dive into what does truly get rid of mold — and what doesn’t.

Table of Contents

What Kills Mold 100%?

Removing all mold-infested materials is the only thing that kills mold 100% of the time, every time. For smaller amounts of mold growth, however, a fungicide can kill mold 100%. These are the only two methods that are truly effective because mold tends to root deeply into whatever material it’s on, especially drywall and wood. Other common household cleaners do not penetrate deeply enough to kill all the mold down to the root.

Click here to learn why we do NOT recommend using bleach for mold. ➜

Visit this article to learn why we don’t recommend vinegar for mold — most of the time. ➜

Click here to learn why using rubbing alcohol on mold is actually really dangerous! ➜

NOTE: While the best method for getting rid of mold is removing all infested materials, this should not be attempted by an untrained layperson. Mold spores cause mold sickness, which can be dangerous, and without the proper training and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), you will likely get sick. Furthermore, trained professional mold removers have the equipment to test for any remaining mold after removing materials, which ensures 100% removal.

Do I Need a Mold Removal Company?

You need a mold removal company if you have discovered mold growth that covers more than 1 square foot of material. In our professional experience, once mold has spread further than 1 square foot on a porous material like drywall or wood, it has likely rooted too deeply into the material to be removed with any household cleaners.

If you discover a single patch of mold that covers a less than 1 square foot area, you may safely try to remove it yourself. We recommend a fungicide or vinegar. Do not use bleach or mix bleach with any other chemical! (Read why this is important here)

If you discover brown or blackish stuff in your shower, bathtub, or toilet that looks like mold, this is most likely mildew. Mildew is a form of mold that roots shallowly and likes to grow on non-porous materials like plastic and ceramic. You can clean mildew yourself easily with vinegar or a fungicide, because mildew can not root deeply into plastic or tile.

What Does Mold Look Like?

Mold is a fungal growth that likes to grow on porous materials like drywall, wood, and textiles. It can look like small clusters of spots or large patches, and can be fuzzy or slimy in texture. Mold is commonly green, black, brown, gray, and white, and even sometimes yellow or red.

Mold can appear as the smallest cluster of fuzzy grey dots in the corner of your bathroom ceiling, or widespread green and black fungus behind your fridge. It can look like many different colors, sizes, and textures, but it nearly always grows on drywall, wood, or textiles.

Some examples of what mold looks like

What Causes Mold?

Excess moisture is almost always what causes mold. All mold needs to grow is excess moisture, oxygen, warmth, and a food source. Mold growth can take less than 48 hours, because mold spores are in the air all the time, just like dust and bacteria.

So then, do all houses have mold? Technically, yes, all houses have mold because they have mold spores in the air. However, the average well-maintained home or business lacks enough moisture for mold to take root and grow. That’s why mold almost always starts growing after some sort of water damage.

Water damage includes leaks, floods, overflowed toilets, sinks, and bathtubs, water heater malfunctions, pipe bursts, and every other kind of accidental water accident in a home or business. All of these situations introduce a lot more water into the space, and drywall, wood, and textiles quickly soak it up. These water-saturated materials are now a prime breeding ground for mold. It feeds on any organic materials, including drywall, wood, textiles, food crumbs, and anything else it can absorb once it has enough moisture to take root.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best natural mold killer?

Unfortunately, there are not any chemical solutions that are both “all natural” and strong enough to kill mold completely. The best natural mold killer is vinegar, but vinegar does not penetrate drywall or wood very deeply, and so often leaves behind some mold deep in the material. If you want to get rid of mold, but you don’t want to use any harsh chemicals, then the best method is completely removing and replacing the mold-infested materials.

How do you get rid of mold on plants?

The mold species that grow on plants are different from the mold species that grow on walls, ceilings, and wood. Therefore, mold on plants needs different cleaning solutions. Cinnamon, baking soda solution, and neem oil are the most popular solutions for getting rid of mold on plants.

What happens if you touch mold with bare hands?

Touching mold with bare hands will release mold spores into the air that can cause you to get mold sickness symptoms, such as a runny nose, red or itchy eyes, or a headache. See a much more extensive list of possible mold sickness symptoms here.
Those with sensitive skin may also experience skin irritation or a rash from direct contact with mold. Aloe very or an oatmeal soak can help with such skin irritation.

A photo of some of our team of technicians at Cleaner Guys, ready to disappear your mold!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No part of this article is medical or legal advice, and may not be used as such. For all serious medical matters, consult your doctor. For all serious legal matters, consult your legal advisor. This article contains Cleaner Guys’ experience and opinions only.

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