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Household cleaners (C) Daniel Friedman Photograph of a basement ceiling after cleaning by media blasting (C) D Friedman D Melandro
Guide to Mold Cleaning Products & Approaches to Remove Toxic Mold in Buildings

  • MOLD CLEANERS - WHAT TO USE - CONTENTS: Consumer's guide to mold cleaners, mold killers, mildewcides, fungicidals, mold soaps, mold sprays, etc. Pros and cons of most popular mold cleaning products, solutions, sprays, cleaners, or other approaches to mold cleaning systems. How to clean or remove mold properly. Mold clearance inspections after cleanup. Use of ammonia, bleach, surface cleaning, media blasting, CO2, quat compounds & other cleaners and disinfectants for mold cleaning, santizing, disinfection, of surfaces, clothing, & in the indoor environment.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the best choices of chemicals or cleaners to clean up or remove mold contamination
  • REFERENCES
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This document describes choices among common cleaning substances and methods used for mold cleanup of building surfaces and contents.This article series provides an easy to understand step-by-step guide for dealing with toxic or allergenic indoor mold and other indoor contaminants: what to do about mold.

The steps in this document will be sufficient for many building owners who want to do their own mold investigation, mold testing, mold cleanup, and mold prevention in their home or office.



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What to Use to Clean Off Mold from Building Surfaces, Contents, Items

Very mold contaminated floor framing and subfloor (C) D FriedmanJust below we answer some of the most common mold cleanup questions posed by our readers, followed by a detailed homeowner's guide to popular mold cleaners, mold removers, mold killers, and other mold cleanup approaches.

What to use to clean off mold from all of the exposed hard, cleanable surfaces: to clean off a moldy surface, you could use simple clean water, soapy water, spray cleaners, or if you prefer, a commercial biocide (follow their directions) or a dilute bleach cleaning solution.

But because so many readers have asked about specific mold "cleaning" or mold "killing" methods we list and comment on these approaches below.

Guide to Popular Approaches to Cleaning up Mold in a building or on building contents.

Basic mold cleanup safety warning: If you are doing your own mold cleanup be sure to wear appropriate protective clothing, goggles, HEPA-rated respirator, better, a respirator that filters both fine particles (HEPA) AND that filters out the MVOCs (gases produced by mold), gloves, etc. If you are asthmatic, immune impaired, sick, elderly, or an infant, it would be smart to have an expert clean up your mold while you stay out of the moldy area or building.

The U.S. EPA recommends these mold cleanup safety tips [our comments are in brackets]

See MOLD CLEANUP GUIDE- HOW TO GET RID OF MOLD for details.

Mold clearance inspection debris (C) Daniel Friedman Photograph of sub microscopic debris and fiberglass insulation fragments encapsulated by a fungicidal sealant

We have no financial interest in any of these products. This data was discovered by internet search. We have no scientific data as yet regarding the effectiveness, toxicity, chemical composition, nor durability of these products. We do not recommend using thick plaster or cementious coatings as these are more likely to later crack or leak, trapping moisture inside against the wood and promoting worse mold growth.

How to Use Bleach to Clean Up a Moldy Surface

Bleaching or "killing" mold is not the objective. Bleach will not kill all of the mold anyway - we can tease viable spores out of lots of "bleached mold" samples we see in the lab.

The object of mold removal is to clean the surface, to remove loose moldy material, not to try to sterilize the surface. Certain mold-contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned (drywall, carpeting, curtains) should be discarded. Clothing and bedding linens or towels can be washed or dry-cleaned.

Keep that in mind. If you want to use bleach as a cleaning agent instead of other cleaners (soap and water would work just fine) here are some mold cleanup suggestions for homeowners from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation CMHC. Please
see BLEACHING MOLD, Advice about for details of how to mix and use bleach to clean a hard surface in a building as well as warnings about where bleaching mold is a cosmetic band-aid that just won't work.

UseAmmonia or CO2 for Cleaning Moldy Clothing?

Reader Question:

I’m planning to give my clothing to clean at this cleaners as they use CO2 cleaning.

This is some documentation on its mold disinfection powers.

Do you have any opinion if CO2 is ideal or another method? - H.G. 3/20/2014

Reply:

Using scholarly research tools and terms ammonia, mycotoxin, CO2, cleaning, clothing, etc. I have not been able to find a single scholarly article nor research defending the use of CO2 for addressing mold cleaning, mold odors, nor myxotoxin removal. I did find a paper discussing using CO2 in cleaning up recycled paper (below). CO2 is discussed as a "green" method for dry cleaning clothing as it avoids using more ecologically harmful solvents.

The article you cite is of course scholarly research but focuses on bacterial contaminants and does not mention mold, fungi, nor mycotoxins. Further, as we have discussed, "dead mold" may still be harmful, allergenic, toxic, or may contain mycotoxins.

More important, we have not demonstrated by careful testing that the skin irritations you discussed earlier are related to mold as opposed to other environmental particles (such as insulation or insect fragments).

Blood tests for mold or mycotoxin exposure are an important tool in use by your physician but don't establish a link between illness and actual location or source of the exposure.

I have not been able to find scholarly articles nor research defending the use of ammonia for mycotoxin removal from clothing, furnishings, nor buildings, and I'd be grateful if your doctor who made that assertion could point us to a citation, journal article, research or some other source. Perhaps this view originated with some experiments with mycotoxin treatments in food cereals and grains as I cite below.

Ammonia in quaternary compounds is used in some sanitizers (as doubtless you already knew).

DF

Citations:

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