When mold rears its ugly head in our bathrooms, our first impulse is to grab the most powerful cleaner we can get our hands on to kill it. But hold the horses–those caustic mold removal chemicals also wreak havoc on the environment after they’ve washed away. They’re also not great for your health–they can leave you gasping for air and some brands are so corrosive they can actually dissolve skin. How about a green cleaning solution?
You may have no choice but to use these chemicals if your mold problem is severe, but if it’s less so you could consider more environmentally ways of attacking mold. Here are five ways of killing mold without wreaking harm on yourself or the environment:
1) Borax and Dishwashing Detergent. In a quart of warm water, add a gentle, environmentally friendly dish washing liquid (like Seventh Generation’s) plus one teaspoon of borax. Soak moldy areas with the mixture, rinse off and allow to air dry. Just don’t overdo it with borax, as it still has some health effects in large doses.
2) Grapefruit Seed Extract. Add twenty drops of grapefruit seed extract (or other citrus seed extract) to two cups of water. Spray and allow to dry.
3) Tea Tree Oil. Tea tree oil is a great oil for attacking mold, and is also a great natural antimicrobial. Mix a teaspoon of it with two cups of water, then spray on and let dry. Warning: the scent is strong, but will dissipate in a day or two.
4) Vinegar and Baking Soda. Vinegar and baking soda are two of the best natural cleaning liquids you can have in the house. Mix two parts baking soda with a one to one solution of vinegar and water to create a thick paste. Let this dry on the surface, then scrub off. This process can be repeated for really stubborn mold.
5) Hydrogen Peroxide. Dilute 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide in 1 cup of warm water and apply.
The best cure is, of course, prevention. It’s easier to eliminate mold by cleaning more frequently, instead of letting problems build up. If you’re in a mold removal situation so severe that none of these solutions help, you may have no choice but to go with the harsh traditional cleaners. In that case, be sure to keep the area well ventilated, use the cleaner as sparingly as possible, and allow as little as you can to go down the drain. Mopping up extra cleaner with a cloth and letting it dry in a safe place will also render some of the chemicals inert, making the cloth safer to wash later.
Know other ways to remove mold? Post them below.