Those slick orange spores around your kitchen drain, frizzy white patches on your basement floor, or slippery black patches on your shower curtain are way worse than unsightly. Exposure to molds, particularly toxic black molds, can result in a variety of health effects, ranging from simple allergy to lung cancer. Immunocompromised persons are generally very sensitive to mold exposure. These may include kids, the elderly, patients with chronic lung disorders, and others who are suffering from severe conditions.
Whether or not you’re sensitive to molds, it’s crucial to clean up, fix the issue causing dampness, and get rid of the molds. Here are some ten non-toxic, natural solutions to remove these molds from every corner of your house.
Undiluted White Vinegar
While it only contains 20% acetic acid, undiluted white vinegar, or just white vinegar, can kill 82% of any mold species, including the poisonous black mold. It’s a multi-purpose product that can clean, disinfect, and even deodorize both porous and nonporous surfaces. The best part is that white vinegar is non-toxic and eco-friendly, so it’s safe for you to use. What’s more, it keeps molds on leather products (e.g., coats, shoes, purses, etc.), furniture, household appliances (e.g., refrigerators, washers, or coffee makers) at bay.
Just be careful with dealing with your moldy leather. Wipe down the affected surface with a cloth dipped in distilled white vinegar, then with leather soap, and lastly, with warm water. Then, air dry for an hour. Once completely dry, apply a good leather conditioner on the item. Another thing, most people get confused between “undiluted white vinegar” (a.k.a spirit vinegar) and “distilled vinegar” (a.k.a virgin vinegar). Remember, distilled vinegar has 5-8% acetic acid in the water only. It’s much more ideal as a household remedy (e.g., treating warts or relieving sunburn), rather than as a cleaning agent.
Let’s say you run out of vinegar, or you really don’t use it at all. Opt for lemons as an alternative instead. Its high concentration of acid makes it a natural cleaner, stain remover, bleach, deodorizer, antiseptic, and antifungal. Its citrusy aroma is a plus, too! Mix half lemon juice and half water or directly spray or pour raw lemon juice (3-5 lemons) on a mouldy surface. Another variation is to create a stronger antibacterial paste by mixing lemon juice with salt or borax. Let the juice or paste sit for five mins before wiping the surface with a damp towel.
Baking Soda and Borax
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and borax (sodium borate) both contain high pH levels, high enough to prevent the growth of mold. They don’t only eradicate molds but also absorb moisture that attracts the molds, too. It’s also non-toxic and very inexpensive, like vinegar. Mix one-quarter of a tablespoon baking soda with one part warm water or vinegar. For tough mould removal, increase the quantity of baking soda into two parts. It’s up to you if you want to make a watery solution or thick paste. But let the mixture dry on the moldy surface (at least for 30 mins) before scrubbing away the molds and rinsing the surface. Reapply if necessary. Conversely, borax works well on molds that are accompanied by lingering stains, but not as great as other stronger cleaning products. For better results, mix 1/4 cup of borax with half a cup of vinegar for every quart of slightly warm water. Mix the solution well and use a scrub with a sponge to get rid of the molds. Reapply if necessary.
Essentials oils haven’t only made aromatherapy a household word. They also do wonders for your dwelling place when it comes to warding off molds. These natural compounds work as an insect repellant, antiseptic, deodorizer, antimicrobial, and antifungal.
Here are some of the essential oils you can diffuse in your house to get rid of moulds:
- Grapeseed Extract
- Cinnamon Oil
- Thyme Oil
- Clove Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
Among all of them, tea tree oil works the best. It’s a natural fungicide, which has been considered as one of the best natural mold killers. That said, if you’re seeking the best of the best, mix the above essential oils altogether to create a mold-preventing powerhouse. Not only that, but their scent will also for sure leave your home smell fresh and clean! Combine a teaspoon of any essential oils above (or a drop of each of them if you wish to combine them all) with a cup of water or vinegar (for tougher molds) in a spray bottle. Shake vigorously. Spray the mixture directly on the moldy surface. Let it sit for 30-60 mins before scrubbing the molds away and rinsing.
The combination of hydrogen and oxygen, or hydrogen peroxide, is a well-known antifungal, antiviral, mild antiseptic, and an antibacterial solution. It comes in different potencies depending on its purposes, for instance, 3% for household use, 6 -10% for hair bleaching, 35% for food-grad, and 90% for industrial. The 3% hydrogen peroxide is an effective mold treatment. The solution releases oxygen at a rapid rate, consequently oxidizing molds and decomposing them. Moreover, it’s the best alternative for harsh chlorine bleach. Unlike bleach, it doesn’t have toxic residues or fumes, so it’s safe for you to use.
Put the 3% hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Saturate the moldy surface and let it sit for 10 minutes or so before scrubbing the area. When brushing, apply ample amounts of force, just enough to remove the molds and not the parts of the surface. Lastly, wipe dry. Hydrogen peroxide is safe to use on a range of surfaces, including bathroom fixtures and tubs, kitchen appliances and furniture, and walls and floorings. While it has a bleaching effect that can kill mold and lighten the stain, it may cause discoloration or damages on some surfaces. It’s best to try an inconspicuous part of any moldy areas first.
Always keep moisture in your house under control to avert spores from setting. You can install mold and mildew air filters or use an industrial fan. While commercial products can ward off moulds more easily, they contain toxic chemicals that can be very harmful to your health. It’s still best to resort to non-toxic (and inexpensive!) methods.
About the Author
This article is provided by Daniel Blake who juggles his time working as a freelance writer and studying as a design student. His writing career is evident in many published articles on various websites and magazines. His forte lies in real estate, design, and tech. Daniel is also a confessed bookworm who binges on reading thrillers whenever his time permits.