Should I use bleach to clean up mold?
- The key to mold control is moisture control.
- Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely.
- Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely.
- Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so the mold may be difficult or impossible to remove completely.
- Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold (see discussions: What to Wear When Cleaning Moldy Areas and Hidden Mold).
- Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting. Paint applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel.
- If you are unsure about how to clean an item, or if the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to consult a specialist. Specialists in furniture repair, restoration, painting, art restoration and conservation, carpet and rug cleaning, water damage, and fire or water restoration are commonly listed in phone books. Be sure to ask for and check references. Look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations.
Should I use bleach?
Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of mold spores will remain - these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced.
Please note: Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed.
For more information on mold, see our website at www.epa.gov/mold
Read the publication, "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home" at www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html [EPA 402-K-02-003]
Una Breve Guía para el Moho, la Humedad y su Hogar está disponible en el formato PDF www.epa.gov/mold/pdfs/moldguide_sp.pdf Documento de la agencia EPA número 402-K-03-008.
Read the publication, "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings" at www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html [EPA 402-K-01-001, March 2001]
Mold Resources are available at www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html
- Indoor Air Quality
- Mold and Moisture
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- Topic #: 23002-20290
- Date Created: 3/19/2007
- Last Modified Since: 10/12/2010
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