Mold (mildew) is a type of fungus that thrives in damp environments. It commonly grows in moist areas in your home, like the basement and around leaks.
A number of household products can be used to get rid of mold in your home. You may already have one of these products, hydrogen peroxide, in your medicine cabinet.
Keep reading to learn when you can use hydrogen peroxide to remove mold and when it may be better to seek professional help.
Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used to disinfect open wounds, since it has antimicrobial properties.
When applied to these microorganisms, hydrogen peroxide kills them by breaking down their essential components like their
In one 2013 study, researchers tested hydrogen peroxide’s potential for inhibiting the growth of six types of common household fungi.
The researchers concluded that hydrogen peroxide (along with bleach, 70-percent isopropyl alcohol, and two commercial products) has the potential to inhibit fungal growth on solid surfaces but isn’t likely effective at killing mold on porous surfaces.
When mold penetrates porous surfaces like wood, ceiling tiles, and fabrics, the surface needs to be replaced.
Hydrogen peroxide can be used safely on numerous solid surfaces, like:
- around your shower
As we mentioned, hydrogen peroxide is unlikely to inhibit mold growth on porous surfaces like fabrics and wood. If you notice mold on bath rugs, wooden walls, or other porous surfaces, the object or surface will need to be safely discarded according to your local disposal rules.
Hydrogen peroxide has the potential to bleach some types of natural fabrics like wool.
Hydrogen peroxide is generally safe on solid surfaces and even most synthetic fabrics. To avoid accidental bleaching, make sure to clean off all the hydrogen peroxide once you finish cleaning the mold.
When cleaning mold in your home, it’s a good idea to wear protective gloves, goggles, and a mask to prevent coming into contact with mold spores.
Here’s how you can clean mold from solid surfaces using hydrogen peroxide:
- Pour 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (the standard percentage sold in pharmacies) into a spray bottle. Spray it onto the moldy surface until the area is completely covered.
- Let it sit for about 10 minutes or until the hydrogen peroxide stops bubbling.
- Scrub off the mold and hydrogen peroxide with a rag or soft brush. Start by scrubbing gently to avoid damaging the surface beneath the mold and slowly scrub harder as needed.
- When finished, wipe the surface dry with a clean cloth or rag.
- Repeat if necessary.
Hydrogen peroxide is just one of many household ingredients you can use to clean mold. Using vinegar is another effective way to clean mold in your home.
However, it’s important not to mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together.
Hydrogen peroxide is known to react with vinegar to create
peracetic acid, which is a toxic substance that can irritate your eyes, skin, or lungs.
Many people use bleach to get rid of mold in their homes. Even though bleach can be effective at cleaning mold off
Along with hydrogen peroxide, the following household ingredients may also help you get rid of mold.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an extract from a small tree called Melaleuca alternifolia. The oil contains an antimicrobial chemical called terpinene-4-ol that may inhibit fungi growth.
To use tea tree oil, try mixing a teaspoon of oil with about a cup of water or a cup of vinegar. Spray it directly on the mold and let it sit for an hour before scrubbing.
Household vinegar usually contains about 5 to 8 percent acetic acid, which has the potential to kill some types of mold by disrupting the mold’s pH balance.
To use vinegar to kill mold, you can spray undiluted white vinegar onto the moldy area and let it sit for about 1 hour before cleaning.
Once again, it’s important that you avoid mixing vinegar with hydrogen peroxide.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is known to have antimicrobial properties and has the potential to kill bacteria, fungi, and other small organisms. One 2017 study found that baking soda was able to inhibit mildew growth on hazelnuts.
Try combining a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of water and spraying it on a patch of mold in your home. Let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes.
Grapefruit seed extract
Grapefruit seed oil contains a number of compounds including citric acid and flavonoids that may be able to kill household mold.
Try putting 10 drops of the extract into a cup of water and shaking vigorously. Spray it onto the moldy area and let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends hiring a professional to clean mold in your home if the moldy area is larger than 10 square feet.
You should also hire a professional cleaner if you have mold in your air conditioning, heating, or ventilation systems.
If you have a known allergy to mold or if you have a health condition that might be aggravated by breathing in mold, you should avoid doing the cleanup yourself.
Taking steps to reduce moisture in your home can help you prevent mold growth before it starts. According to the
- Keep the humidity levels in your home under 50 percent.
- Fix leaks in your windows, pipes, and roof.
- Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Dry your home completely within 24 to 48 hours after a flood.
- Use mold-killing products when cleaning your bathroom.
- Immediately dry out or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked.
- Add mold inhibitors to your paints.
You can use hydrogen peroxide to clean mold off solid surfaces in your home. However, if you’re dealing with a patch of mold larger than about 10 square feet, the EPA recommends calling a professional cleaner.
If you have a mold allergy, breathing issue, or health concern that could be aggravated by mold exposure, you should avoid doing the cleanup yourself.