Bleach has for decades, if not centuries, been the prevailing solution for all things black, green, and brown growing on our walls and in our homes. Even today, popular news sites like The Huffington Post have continued to perpetuate the myth that bleach is a one-size-fits-all solution to mold growth.

The truth about bleach and mold is not as black and white as we’ve been led to believe, with the truth being found somewhere in the space between.

While bleach can be effective on SOME surfaces, namely hard, non-porous surfaces like tile, metal, and glass, it can also be severely detrimental on other surfaces we commonly find mold growth occurring like wood and drywall.

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Continue below for 5 facts about Bleach and Mold

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1. Bleach can cause accelerated mold growth

When mold grows on porous surfaces, it grows hyphae (a root-like system) into the pores of the affected material that releases enzymes to break down the material for absorption by the mold colony. Due to the inability of bleach to get into these pores and remove this root system, and the fact that chlorine bleach is 90% water, once the chlorine in bleach evaporates it leaves behind all that water to then accelerate recurrent growth of the mold from the untouched hyphae. This can actually make the mold problem worse than when you started.

2. Bleach only bleaches

When you attempt to remove mold on a porous surface with bleach, you will probably think initially that your problem is solved. Bleach does one thing incredibly well, as anyone who has ever done a load of laundry can attest to…it removes color!

This can make the surface look almost completely clean and back to like-new condition, while under the surface, the hyphae are feasting on the moisture left behind and growing back completely unnoticed.

3. The EPA and OSHA advise against using Bleach

Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specifically advise against using bleach to address mold growth due to its harmful nature and inability to affect airborne mold spores (which are the cause of related health issues in exposed occupants).

4. Bleach is harmful to both you and your home

Bleach is very irritating and corrosive to our skin, lungs, and eyes, and has been known to burn human tissue, internally and externally. Building materials, unfortunately, don’t fare much better than we do when exposed to bleach, as it causes the fibers within to begin to break, compromising the structural integrity of the material just like the mold would have.

5. Mixing Bleach can be much, much worse

Standard Bleach alone can be harmful when contacted or inhaled, but it gets much worse when mixed with another common household cleaner.

Bleach and ammonia should NEVER be mixed together, under any circumstances. Combined, they can produce potentially fatal amounts of Chlorine gas to anyone in close proximity. Additionally, they can produce significant amounts of nitrogen trichloride and/or hydrazine, both of which are noted explosive gases.

So then what’s the answer to your mold growth problem?

The best solution for any mold growth issue is as widely-varied and unique to each individual situation as the different types and looks of mold can be. The first question to answer is always determining the original cause of the mold growth, whether that’s a roof leak, busted pipe, foundation cracks, or something else. This can be difficult for those inexperienced with building science, but is something that any qualified mold or home inspector should be able to help you with.

Once you’ve determined (add corrected) that underlying issue, the mold contamination will need to be removed from all surfaces, as well as from the air, as spores will quickly become airborne from that growth site. While the EPA has stated that mold growth can potentially be addressed solely by a homeowner/occupant if under 10 ft2, we recommend you have a qualified mold professional inspect the site in question, as the potential for hidden mold growth going unnoticed can be significant for those without a trained eye.

Have more questions or need to have your home inspected for Mold?

 Contact us at (913) 909-3582 to find out more or schedule an on-site mold inspection with one of our mold specialists!

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Categories: Mold

Erich Amerine

Erich is the Co-Founder and General Manager of Genesis Home Restorations, and has helped found and develop other businesses in the Kansas City area such as Salinity Salt & Flotation Spa and Emerald Collective. You can follow him on Twitter and Clubhouse @Erichamerine.