Don’t Be A Turkey! Sure, there are many black mold killing products available on the cheap. And, some of these products will take care of your basic needs in your next mold removal project.
However, several of these cleaning agents are highly toxic to use indoors – so be careful. And, great care should also be taken to ensure that your work area is well ventilated and a respirator and gloves are worn while killing black mold and taking care of your mold problem.
In this article, we will outline some ways of taking care of black mold without using highly toxic substances that could impact the environment.
If you want to eliminate your mold infestation but keep a clear conscience, then read on for several methods of taking care of mold without as many hazardous effects.
Table of Contents
How to Kill Black Mold With Ammonia
Killing Black Mold with Ammonia has its advantages. It’s a good disinfectant and does a pretty good job of killing mold on hard, non-porous items.
Ammonia is also cheap and easy to find in your local grocery or hardware stores.
However, ammonia’s active ingredients (like bleach), do a lousy job of penetrating porous materials such as wood, concrete, sheet-rock, particle board or some of the traditional, drop-down ceiling tiles.
Ask anyone who has scrubbed their wooden deck with bleach – looking so very pretty and stain-free (for a few weeks – maybe). And, then later, eyed their deck in wonder. Wondering, why in the heck had the previously scrubbed mold returned!
If you live in an area where you have a decent amount of humidity, moisture, and your deck is surrounded by tree cover (like I do). Then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I’ve written here on how you can get to know the different types of mold associated with wood and mold growth specifically. You’ll find some very helpful tips on getting rid of the fungus. Enjoy the read!
In order to effectively kill mold spores, you have to get to them at the root level. And, chlorinated bleach and ammonia are not up to the task.
There are many other mold cleaning agents that will kill the fungi effectively and at the root level.
Baking soda and vinegar are excellent non-toxic alternatives to ammonia. And, they are not harsh on the environment or you.
Remember! Ammonia is a skin and eye irritant and its fumes are quite toxic. This mold killing agent is poisonous and could prove lethal when ingested or its fumes are inhaled. Especially, in non-ventilated areas without the use of a respirator.
Ammonia will react strongly with chlorinated bleach. Take care of you and yours! Label your spray bottles for your mold cleaning solutions and always read the label for active ingredients before combining any solutions.
Before choosing an alternative to your mold problem, please understand how to use the compound and its benefits and risks.
We all want the ultimate solution that will kill and clean mold effectively. And, if you are reading this article, I’m certain that your choice will be a healthy one for our environment!
How to Eliminate Black Mold With Ammonia
Wear a respirator and gloves when working with ammonia-based mold cleaning products. Never mix ammonia with chlorinated bleach
Open nearby windows or doors to get a cross-flow of air to dissipate any fumes generated by your cleaning (small mold cleanup projects – large jobs will require negative air pressure and sealing off area to prevent mold spores from escaping throughout residence)
- Combine ammonia and water in 50/50 proportions.
- Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray contaminated areas evenly.
- Allow the mold killing solution to sit for 5 or 10 minutes.
- Scour mold tarnished area with a small brush or equivalent and wipe clean.
- Repeat if necessary.
Often enough, many mold killing products will have ammonia already in them. Be extra cautious to follow the directions on the label to the letter and ensure that the cleanser is never mixed with bleach (in part or whole)!
Otherwise, ammonia is similar to using bleach in that it should only be used on non-porous areas – Always wear gloves when working with any chemical and wash hands immediately, thereafter!
How to Kill Black Mold With Bleach
Killing Black Mold with Bleach on a hard, non-porous surface will kill nearly any type of mold spore(s) that it comes in contact with.
Eliminating Black Mold with Bleach is also very inexpensive and readily available. Many, if not most food markets, grocery outlets, and hardware stores will carry a number of mold killing cleaners.
However, bleach has a heck-of-a time reaching the root level of mold growth in porous type items such as tile grout (unsealed), wood and cement block. To name a few. Thus, it is very important to pay attention to the type of surface you are intending to clean.
The mold killing agent in the bleach (chlorine) simply does not reach the root and instead, leaves the moisture content of the bleach behind in its wake. This same moisture is what promotes additional mold growth to the area just cleaned.
Have you ever wondered why mold stains keep coming back to the same area of your outside patio or wooden deck after killing the mold growth with bleach? Hmmm..,
Never mix bleach with ammonia – This is extremely dangerous and will likely produce Toxic Chloramine Fumes or Vapors.
Never mix bleach with vinegar – Combining these two mold cleaners together will not give you a better cleaning agent to work with.
While vinegar will lower the pH in the bleach and in turn make the bleach a better disinfectant, the trade-off for safety purposes is not worth it. And, the vinegar-bleach combo could be lethal as Toxic Chlorine Gases will be discharged into the surrounding airspace.
To clear up any possible confusion and when I speak to the word “bleach”, I am referring to “chlorinated bleach” which contains Sodium Hypochlorite and should never be mixed with ammonia or vinegar – Thanks!
As you can see, bleach can be an effective mold killer in certain situations, but there are risks and factors that you should be aware of before deciding to use bleach for mold removal.
How to Get Rid of Black Mold With Bleach
Wear appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment – N95 Respirator and Gloves) when handling bleach or similarly based mold killing products.
Open any nearby windows (if applicable) to get some air moving and help disperse any fumes or vapors expelling from your bleach solution.
This would apply to small black mold killing projects only – larger jobs may require that negative pressure is put in place to keep mold spores from becoming aerosolized in your home (more on this later).
- Combine 1 cup of bleach to no less than 1 gallon of water – mix thoroughly.
- Add mold killing solution to a spray bottle and apply evenly to mold stained area(s).
- You can also wipe your cleaning agent onto mold tainted areas with a sponge or disposable towel.
- If needed, use a small bristled scrub brush on any tainted area(s) and wipe away or vacuum with HEPA filters for larger work areas.
- Do not rinse off your work area. Allow the bleach to continue to disinfect and inhibit further mold growth.
7 Natural Ways to Remove Black Mold
Black mold growth is disgusting and affronts all of our senses from many directions. It smells, looks gosh-awful and mold exposure can potentially make you and the rest of the household sick.
Mold and mildew are so offensive, it’s no wonder we often reach for the bleach and rubber gloves first! And, advanced mold remediation tasks may require the big guns.
Mold spores will grow unabated in dark areas of a basement. If you have carpet in the basement and it gets wet for any reason (and not allowed to dry properly), you will have a mold farm in short order.
Here, you can read a more in-depth article that I’ve written on removing mold and mildew from wet and musty carpet.
Out of control mold spores can wreak havoc in your attic spaces, and HVAC systems.
Especially, if ventilation systems are not running efficiently. I explain here how to keep the air ducts clean and free of mold. A regularly serviced and maintained HVAC system will allow you and your home to breathe a healthier life!
Many of us live in parts of the country where a year round HVAC system is not practical. Or, we prefer to be more efficient with the energy that we utilize.
If temperature and humidity levels permit, there are a number of ways to reduce the moisture levels in our home naturally. And, I explain here how to exactly do that!
Did you know that plants can help to remove mold spores in your home? However, it’s a balancing act – too many plants (or the wrong types of plants) will raise humidity levels through a process known as transpiration.
But, the right types of plants can do wonders for improving the air quality in your home and reduce mold spores at the same time. That’s wonderful!
You can further read here on how to remove mold spores with plants and improve the air quality of your home naturally.
We cannot always control what we are breathing outside of our home. However, we can (to some extent – And, realizing that renters do not always have a say) improve the air quality around us and in our homes.
I’ve written an article here on some additional steps that we can do to breathe quality air at home. As well as how to get rid of mold spores, remove pollutants, and improve home ventilation methods overall.
Cutting-edge, while more expensive mold remediation methods may include, using ice pellets or sand and walnut shells to blast mold away from your basement walls and removing mold in your attic from the wood sheathing and overhead beams.
Nevertheless, ammonia and bleach-based products will be better served for cleaning hard nonporous surfaces (in well-ventilated areas).
It’s not always necessary to use the strongest chemical in the house to get rid of black mold. Furthermore, there are many green cleaning natural alternatives that accomplish killing mold at the root level.
Additionally, many of these Eco-greens keep mold spores from growing back in the spots where bleach and ammonia weren’t up for the job.
For instance, a combination of baking soda and vinegar may be just the ticket for getting rid of mold in damp clothing. If the clothing is sitting in a dark and poorly ventilated laundry room, then the conditions could be ripe for mold and mildew to develop.
Or maybe, you have a rain exposed deck like mine that does not get enough sunlight due to tree cover. And, if I do not get the leaves removed quickly, I will have mold growing on my wooden deck in short order.
In the ongoing battle against this fungi, consider your next attack on the mold with green cleaning alternatives. Here are seven ways of killing mold without creating havoc on the environment or your family.
Black Mold Removal with Tea Tree Oil
Getting rid of black mold with tea tree oil has many advantages over using corrosives such as bleach or ammonia based mold cleaning products.
Going green with tea tree oil is not as cheap as using bleach or ammonia. However, a small amount of tea tree oil will go very far in effectively getting rid of black mold. And, the environment and your lungs will thank you for it!
Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide that is effective at killing black mold spores and getting rid of mildew throughout the home. It will work for you equally as a cleaner and as a mold prevention agent.
I’ve written a much more in-depth article here on the many wonders of different essential oils. And, how they can assist you if removing mold in your home naturally. I really hope that you enjoy the read!
Non-Cleaning Attributes: Tea Tree Oil is renowned for its anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. The Aboriginals of Australia have used it for centuries to treat sore throats and ward off infection from cuts and burns.
All tea tree oils are not “packaged” equally. Check the label first before purchasing and ensure that the contents were made from the Australian tree “melaleuca alternifolia”.
Note: For mold cleaning purposes, check the label carefully for the active ingredients “terpinen 4-ol and cineole (no less than 30% terpinen 4-ol – And no more than 10/15% cineole).
Be careful not to ingest Tea tree oil – it is toxic if swallowed.
Also, wear rubber gloves when using tea tree oil to kill mold. Mild skin irritations are not uncommon to those working without proper safety equipment.
Tea tree oil is a great alternative to fighting your mold problem, and you can keep a clear mind knowing that it is much better for the environment than many of your other options.
How to Kill Black Mold With Tea Tree Oil
- Combine 1 teaspoon of your favorite teat tree oil to 1 cup of water.
- Stir or shake thoroughly and put the mixture into your spray bottle.
- Mist mold mixture on tarnished areas and wipe clean.
- No spray bottle – No worries!
- Thoroughly dampen a disposable towel or old hand towel with green cleaning solution and apply to tarnished area.
- As a mold prevention measure, apply the tree oil to tile grout or around faucet handles and spouts – then leave to dry)
Black Mold Removal with Vinegar
Killing Black Mold with Vinegar (white-distilled) is inexpensive and a good green way to go when working on small mold remediation projects around the home (although a little smelly).
It has mild acidic properties and is safe to use for everyday mold remediation tasks. As an anti-bacterial agent, it will serve you well when removing black mold from bathrooms and kitchen sinks alike.
Initially, vinegar will have an unpleasant aroma to it (especially in poorly ventilated areas). But, it will soon dissipate over a few hours. The smell turns many people off, but just remember that this might be the safe, clean alternative you are looking for.
And, for the low costs (and some well-placed elbow grease), vinegar is a great green alternative for cleaning mold over bleach and ammonia.
How to Kill Black Mold With Vinegar
No need to mix anything here (although you can) – white distilled vinegar can be used to clean away black mold as is and right out of the bottle.
- Evenly spray white (distilled) vinegar onto the mold stains or you can make your own mixture of a vinegar borax-water solution (see below – “How to Kill Black Mold with Borax and Vinegar”)
- No spray bottle! Just pour the vinegar or borax solution onto a disposable towel and generously wipe onto the mold covered area(s) and allow to dry for an hour or so.
- Get a damp towel and wipe clean – again, allow to air-dry (this works great as part of a weekly prevention plan to keeping mold out of the kitchen and bathrooms).
- If staining persists, then give the hydrogen peroxide or baking soda and vinegar combo a shot. The borax-water combo may work for you here as well on any lasting discoloration.
- Add a little elbow grease with an old toothbrush and you should be good-to-go!
Black Mold Removal With Baking Soda
Removing black mold with baking soda is a great green cleaning solution for the home. As an alternative to bleach and ammonia, baking soda does a pretty good job (with a little elbow grease) at eliminating black mold and its odors.
Besides vinegar, baking soda is one of the better natural cleaning solutions to have around the house. And, is also extremely safe to work with (especially with pets and children running around).
So if you are very concerned about the safety of the products you are using, and aren’t afraid to put in the effort to scrub everything clean, baking soda might be your top choice.
Baking soda not only removes odors from the fridge but, it can also be used in basements, closets, and bathrooms to help prevent mold and mildew odors.
How to Get Rid Of Black Mold With Baking Soda
- Mix baking soda directly with water in a 50/50 ratio to form a paste for lighter mold stains and prevention.
- Simply apply your paste and let dry (the baking soda will help to bleach out any mold stains as well as absorb any dominant odors – just as it does with odors when using it in your closet or fridge).
- Scrub any mold stained areas lightly with a small brush.
- Wipe away any mold debris or remaining cleaning paste (larger areas may require vacuum-cleaning with HEPA filters).
- Combine 1-2 tablespoons to 2 cups of water and mix in a bowl or pour it into a spray bottle.
- Mix and shake solution thoroughly (otherwise, baking soda will clog your sprayer nozzle).
- Spray or wipe a small solution of baking soda and water to the same area recently cleaned.
- Allow drying with no further rinse needed (baking soda will continue to deodorize and inhibit future mold growth).
- Very small mold cleanup jobs can be addressed with no more than 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 cups of water.
- Shake the solution vigorously in your spray bottle and spray it on the contaminated area or wipe on with an old towel.
- Scour the affected area with a tiny brush or old towel and rinse the initial solution off with water.
- Reapply water and baking soda solution (not paste).
- Allow to dry – this will leave a thin layer of protection in place to prevent the recurrence of mold growth.
Black Mold Removal with Hydrogen Peroxide
Eliminating black mold with hydrogen peroxide is another great alternative to chlorinated bleach. And, is not harmful to the environment to boot.
It is non-toxic, does not leave a toxic residue after use, is very inexpensive and produces no toxic fumes. It also serves wonderfully as an antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial agent.
Unlike bleach and ammonia, hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove mold from porous materials such as clothing and walls. It could be a great solution for your more difficult-to-remove mold.
However, hydrogen peroxide also functions as a mild bleaching agent. Spot test any areas to be cleaned first for excessive bleaching, because you wouldn’t want to risk damaging something instead of cleaning it!
How to Kill Black Mold With Hydrogen Peroxide
- Mix a solution of 2 parts water and 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle for even and quick application.
- OR you can soak a disposable towel with the mold killing solution and wipe directly onto the mold tarnished area as well.
- Allow the peroxide solution to sit for 5 to 10 minutes while it cleans and does its work.
- Some light scrubbing with a small brush may be required for stubborn stains.
- Wipe away any mold debris and allow to dry.
Black Mold Removal with Borax
Borax is a popular chemical used in many household products such as fungicides, herbicides and as a household cleaner. It deodorizes, cleans and disinfects – making it a really good choice to help fight off and kill black mold.
Borax is toxic so be careful not to ingest it. However, it does not release toxic fumes or gasses that would otherwise mandate wearing a respirator to work safely. Be aware of these risks when using Borax.
Borax is a non-carcinogenic and has been classified as a mild skin irritant. Therefore, as far as mold killing solutions go – Borax is a winner!
How to Eliminate Black Mold With Borax
- Combine a solution of 1 cup borax to 1 gallon of water and mix well.
- Spray or wipe on the mold killing solution to the contaminated area.
- Scrub the mold-tainted area thoroughly with a small brush or old toothbrush.
- Wipe away or vacuum any mold material loosened from scrubbing (use HEPA filters when vacuum-cleaning to capture and contain mold spores).
- DO NOT Rinse (any remaining borax will continue to work for you as a disinfectant and a deodorizer).
- Allow to air-dry (repeat the process if necessary)
Black Mold Removal with Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed might be exactly the solution you need for eliminating your mold in a very clean, safe way.
Its practical application disinfects, deodorizes AND is safe for everyday use in the home around pets and children. Your family and the environment will appreciate it!
Grapefruit seed extract (oil) can also be used as a black mold prevention tool. It has very little (if any) odor to it. So, daily or weekly use will not run the pets and family off from strong fumes.
As always with mold, preventative measures are often your best bet to solving a mold issue, so a scrub of mold-prone areas with grapefruit seed oil can be very helpful in avoiding a bigger issue down the line.
It’s going to cost a bit more than ammonia or bleach. However, it stores quite well and has a really good shelf-life (keep lid containers air-tight).
When finished with small mold cleaning or prevention projects, simply put your spray bottle (properly labeled) away to use at future date.
How to Get Rid Of Black Mold With Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Combine and mix 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract oil to each cup of water used. Or 1 drop of oil per tablespoon of water for a baseline ratio (you can strengthen the ratio for more stubborn mold stains).
- Pour contents into a spray bottle and evenly saturate all of the mold areas to be treated.
- Allow the mold cleaning solution to work for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Leave to soak for up to an hour for persistent staining.
- Clean and wipe away any remaining mold residue.
- Do not rinse and reapply if necessary.
- The acids in the grapefruit seed extract will continue to penetrate mold growth as well as prevent any future mold spores from coming back.
Black Mold Removal with Borax And Vinegar
Borax and Vinegar have individual properties that are unique to themselves for attacking and killing mold fungi. And, these mold killing attributes do not cancel each other out when combined together.
Another plus for the environment and for you is that, when combined, these natural mold killers do not emit any toxic fumes or gasses into the air for you to breathe.
How to Kill Black Mold With Borax And Vinegar
- Combine ½ cup of vinegar with ¼ cup of borax and 1 quart of warm water.
- Shake or mix your mold killing solution thoroughly.
- Apply the mixture and a little elbow grease to the affected areas to be treated.
- Wipe away any mold debris that has been dislodged.
- For persistent stains, repeat the above – wipe clean and leave to dry.
Too many preventable accidents have happened when combining 2 or more cleaning agents together. Often enough, this occurred because the user (although well intentioned) did so to create a stronger cleaning agent for the job at hand.
I know first hand! At the ripe young age of 15. And, as a line cook in a steak house and scrubbing the floors after a shift one night.., I mixed bleach and another cleaning agent together (thinking I was being efficient – ha!) The result was not good for sure. So, be careful – please – Take care of You and All of Yours!
Take a moment. And, the time to read the label. Be cautious around ALL pets and children when working with bleach or ammonia-based cleaners – Be Safe!
Mold can be a big issue for you in maintaining a clean and healthy home. However, you likely don’t want mold to interfere with your efforts in living a green and clean lifestyle.
I hope this article has given you some insight into many of the ways you can prevent, clean, and kill mold without making a big environmental impact.
As with any mold issues, the effectiveness of these remedies might depend on the severity of your mold infestation. These alternatives might not be as effective for every type of mold or every type of infestation.
If you are in doubt about the type of solution or about any potential hazards you may face from your mold infestation, it might be a good idea to consult with a professional who can identify the problem and propose a solution that will work for you and your family.