Mold can pose a serious health risk to you and your family, and what’s worse, there could be mold spores floating invisibly throughout your house, and not just growing in the corners of your shower. Cleaning mold is an unpleasant experience and is exacerbated by the use of potent chemicals or harsh cleaners. While we can’t get rid of the gross factor, we can suggest nine ways to naturally remove and prevent the fungus from coming back.
1. Dry As A Bone
Mold loves moisture. Thrives in it, really. So the number one way to prevent mold (and your first step in killing it) is to break up its relationship with water. Wipe down areas frequently prone to moisture and keep areas ventilated. If you have an especially problematic area, you can invest in a dehumidifier or ventilation fan. Otherwise, regularly open all the windows and air out your house, and keep shower curtains closed to dry out when not in use.
2. Clean the Air
In addition to keeping things dry, you also want to keep mold spores out. Using an air purifier and spore catching filters in your A/C system will keep you and your family breathing easier.
3. Tea Tree Oil
While on the pricier side, two teaspoons of this natural fungicide can be mixed with water in a spray bottle for a mold-killer. The fragrance can be overwhelming, but will dissipate in a few days. Spray directly onto the moldy surface, scrub off and repeat as necessary. Be sure to shake the bottle before every use to mix the water and oil.
White vinegar is the “Scrubbing Bubbles” of the natural cleaner world. It will clean everything, including 82% of the mold spores, bacteria and virus on your infected surfaces. Don’t dilute it and pour it into a spray bottle, spray the surface and let it sit for a few minutes to a few hours before scrubbing off with a brush. The smell will vanish in a few hours, but you can add a few drops of essential oils if it offends your nose. Also, use vinegar to prevent growing mold by applying it regularly without rinsing it off.
Reach down into the bowels of your liquor cabinet and pull out that “bottom shelf” vodka—it’s finally coming in handy. Low-quality vodka contains congeners like acetaldehyde which is toxic to fungi. Apply it the same way you would tree oil: diluted in a spray bottle.
6. Citrus Seed Extract
Unlike the former three natural cleaners, citrus seed extract (like from grapefruit) is odorless. Just dilute 20 drops with two cups of water, mix in a spray bottle and apply. Again, don’t rinse it off because that will remove any preventative qualities the solution contains.
7. Hydrogen Peroxide
When mixed with baking soda, it’s an effective bath to remove skunk from your dog. When used in a spray bottle on mold and left for ten minutes before scrubbing, it’s an effective mold killer. Add vinegar to the solution for an extra boost.
8. Baking Soda
By far the most mild and gentle cleaner, baking soda is also odorless, so it’s great for sensitive noses. You can mix it with vinegar, water or use it on its own. Just apply it to the surface, let it sit and wipe clean. Because it is more gentle, you may have to use it multiple times on a tough growth.
9. Final Seal
When all is said and done, sometimes the surface is the problem. If your tile and grout aren’t properly sealed they become a breeding ground for mold. Once you’ve cleaned the area, reseal it to prevent future growths. You can tell if your grout and tile are the problem when you start noticing a stain or that it’s retaining water longer than it should.
Mold can be one of the toughest household pests to remove and may take a couple cleanings to completely beat. But, if you remember to keep things dry and apply one of the above cleaners every so often to problem areas, you have a fighting chance to make mold surrender.
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