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True or false: Does bleach kill mold?

Of all the questions asked about mold and mold treatment, the most frequently asked is: Does bleach kill mold? Bleach does NOT kill mold. It doesn’t even disinfect mold spores. The only thing the bleach does is change the color of the mold by damaging its roots. Bleach is not an effective way to kill mold and provides only a temporary solution by slowing its growth.

What does bleach do?

Like all types of plants, the only way to kill mold is to destroy the roots. When you use bleach, all you’re doing is saturating the roots with a chemical that doesn’t destroy them, but only damages them enough to stunt growth. To effectively get rid of mold, it is necessary to disinfect the materials on which the mold grew. Chlorine bleach does not do this as it does not kill the spores.

Some may find this surprising since bleach is known to work well at killing viruses and bacteria. One of the reasons chlorine bleach doesn’t kill mold spores is that bleach is made mostly from water. Water is a primary requirement for mold growth and trying to get rid of it with a product that is 99% moldy (ie bleach) is not very effective.

Bottom line: never use bleach to kill mold. If you try to use bleach to remove mold, you may inadvertently be putting your health at risk because you’ll think you’ve destroyed the mold even though it’s still thriving.

Effective methods to destroy mold

For your health and safety, it is essential that you act quickly as soon as you realize you have a black mold problem. You’ll want to dry the area as best you can first. Next, you’ll need to use a detergent or soap (preferably one without ammonia) and scrub the infested area thoroughly. If you discovered mold growth on the wood, you’ll probably need to sand the area to ensure it’s completely removed.

Once you are sure the mold has been removed, you can use a solution of bleach and water to disinfect the area. Remember that bleach does not kill mold, so use it only after the mold is completely removed.

Finally, you need to take steps to make sure the mold doesn’t grow back. To prevent further mold growth, be sure to keep the area very dry. Keep your eyes open and always be on the lookout for mold growth, especially on organic materials like soap suds, paper, dirt, and wood.