This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure here.
The following is part of an Organic Journey Guest Post Series, written by Amy a long time helper behind the scenes of Southern Savers.
Last week, I determined that using chlorine bleach to eliminate mold in my girlies’ bedroom was not the best plan for all of our health. This week, I’m on a quest to find a solution that will eliminate mold without triggering asthma or any other problems! I’m determined that there has to be a way to kill this mold without bringing out the toxic chemicals.
In my search, there are several ingredients that keep cropping up as viable options. Each has strengths and weaknesses depending on where you’re trying to eliminate mold. I think that this will be a bit of trial and error for us, but I’ll share what options I’ve found.
Pros: Hydrogen peroxide is anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It is a bleaching agent, which is helpful when trying to eliminate mold stains, but it doesn’t have the downside of bleach in that there are no toxic fumes or toxic residue.
Cons: Because it bleaches, you need to spot check areas before you use it.
How To’s: Use 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. Put it in a spray bottle for easier use. Spray on area and let it sit for 10 minutes. Scrub clean, and repeat if needed.
Pros: Vinegar kills 82% of mold species as well as viruses and bacteria. It also can prevent mold if you spray on a surface and let it air dry which could be particularly helpful in showers! You can wash clothes in a mixture of half vinegar and half water.
Cons: It’s stinky!! At least, I don’t like the smell of vinegar. A great alternative is to use a citrus infused vinegar instead. Also, your mold might be one of the 18% not killed by vinegar. It doesn’t hurt to start here though and work your way up to stronger, more expensive options.
How To’s: Some sources say to start by scrubbing the moldy area with soap and water, and others just zoom on to the next step. Put your white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle at full strength and spray it on the moldy areas. Leave it on for a couple of hours and then scrub with a brush. You can also dilute the vinegar with water to save money though some sources say that it is more powerful at full strength and thus more effective. Vinegar is totally safe and non-toxic, but it can irritate your skin if you are working with it for a long period of time. So if that’s the case, make sure to put on some gloves.
Tea Tree Oil
Pros: Those that love it say it is by far the most effective way to eliminate mold.
Cons: Tea Tree Oil has a very strong, almost medicinal smell. Not only that, it is also the most costly of all the natural options that I found. Another point that a blogger made while experimenting with natural mold removers in her bathroom was that while it might eliminate mold, it doesn’t remove the visible mold and actually makes it harder to get off than if you use just plain vinegar.
How To’s: Mix 1 teaspoon Tea Tree Oil with 1 cup of water. Spray on the area, and do not rinse.
Pros: It doesn’t just kill mold, but also absorbs odors and moisture too.
Cons: It doesn’t eliminate all mold species.
How To’s: There are dozens of ways to use baking soda from sprinkling it on moldy carpet and then scrubbing it up to putting it on a wet wash cloth and scrubbing the affected areas. One tip that I found helpful was to use baking soda and vinegar together as they kill different species of molds.
I’ll let you know next week which solution (or variety of solutions!) we tried, and how well they worked. The thing that I discovered in my searching for natural solutions is that there doesn’t appear to be a right and wrong way to do this. When you are working with stronger chemicals, you do have to be extremely careful to not mix them as they can produce deadly fumes. If you are in doubt about mixing up your own natural mold removing concoction, take a minute to research before you do. Better safe than sorry!
Have you ever found a toxic free way of eliminating mold in your house? What worked well for you? ‘Cause my bathroom is next on the list to tackle, and I’d love to learn from your successes and failures!!