Got Mold? Bleach Is Not The Solution!
The internet is a great place to find information, however, it can also be a source of dis-information. This is particularly true when it relates to mold removal.
Countless websites still recommend the use of bleach to kill mold. Though bleach can have some effect on non-porous substances like your bathroom tile, generally speaking it is not an effective mold removal solution on porous surfaces.
Like plants and trees that establish roots to thrive and grow, mold does as well. When it begins growing on porous materials, like wood and drywall, the roots penetrate deep into these materials. Chlorine bleach is an ineffective mold removal solution on porous materials because it can not penetrate the surface and kill the roots.
Trying To Kill Mold Is Not The Answer!
“Killing mold, but leaving the residue in place, is not acceptable. Since many health impacts can be triggered by exposure to both live and dead mold spores, the source and secondary contamination must be removed.” (MOLD INDOORS: Killing it is Not Enough)
Since both live and dead mold mold spores can cause negative health impacts to mold sensitized individuals and those suffering from asthma and sinusitis, it is important to realize that the best use of bleach is in your laundry.
“Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of bleach when proposed as a cleaner or sanitizing agent is that its effectiveness is greatly reduced in the presence of organic material. To be a successful sanitizer, bleach must be used on clean materials and surfaces. This is why bleach products are used in the laundry after the wash cycle or in a commercial kitchen as a component in the third sink after the dishes have been washed and rinsed. The efficacy of bleach as a sanitizer is also compromised by heat and light. Despite the fact that the chlorine odor may linger for some time after use, bleach loses strength so quickly that it is not considered to have a residual effect that would prevent future bacterial or fungal growth.” (Why Restoration Professionals Should Avoid Using Bleach)
Bleach Does Not Address The Mold Cause!
The other reason that bleach is not effective at removing mold is it does not actually deal with the source of the problem, i.e. the moisture source. In fact, spraying bleach, mixed with water, on mold growing on porous materials is actually creating a worse mold problem because you are providing mold with an essential ingredient for it to grow and thrive. The long term fix for a mold problem is to identify the source of moisture and fix the problem.
The next step is mold removal. Mold removal is often referred to as “mold remediation” because trained and experienced contractors that specialize in this service take special precautions to prevent cross-contamination and follow specific work procedures to remove the mold contaminated materials so that the fungal ecology of the home is restored to healthy levels. These professionals also understand that mold is a biological agent that can impact health and this is the reason they wear protective gear: tyvek coveralls, gloves, and respirators to prevent skin contact and inhalation of mold spores.
Bleach Is A Toxic Chemical!
The other concern with bleach, it is a corrosive that can irritate and damage your skin. Bleach releases chlorine gas when you spray it and during the evaporation process will impact your eyes and respiratory system. In addition, one of the by-products of bleach is dioxins which have been linked to cancer.
If you are using bleach, take precautions, follow the directions and never mix it with other chemicals like ammonia. It is also important that you use gloves, goggles, and a respirator, particularly if you are using concentrated bleach.
The final reason that bleach is not effective is because the key component of bleach, chlorine, evaporates. With this in mind, understand that the longer that bleach sits, the less effective it will become because the chlorine can evaporate and escape through the plastic container it is in.
Bleach and Mold Summary
If you got mold and are reaching for bleach, take the following into consideration:
1. Without moisture, mold will not grow and thrive. Spraying bleach, mixed with water, therefore is counter-productive because you are providing mold with one of the essential ingredients it requires to grow.
2. Killing mold is not effective because dead spores are just as harmful to health as live spores.
3. The key to preventing mold growth is to address the conditions that are causing the mold to grow. The number one cause of mold is moisture, meaning that the source of moisture must first be found and fixed to ensure that mold does not continue to grow. Only once the moisture problem is addressed, should a professional be hired for mold remediation.
— MSZ Restoration (@mszrestoration) September 9, 2015