When it comes to you and your family’s health, you don’t want to listen to faulty sources or go by the advice of an untrained professional. There are several ‘old wives tales’ about how to remove mold in your home and these myths should be dispelled. We are here to talk about one of the biggest false claims- using paint or bleach to kill mold- and why you should not use these ineffective measures. Yes, painting and bleaching temporarily take care of the problem or cover it up. When you don’t see the problem, you don’t need to worry about it, right? But mold is a microscopic nuisance, and both paint and bleach do not attack mold at its source. You will only have recurring problems and headaches if you pursue these routes.
Firstly, mold must be removed, not just killed. This is because even dead mold spores can still cause allergic reactions, and bleach is too diluted and weak to permanently kill mold. What little lethal power it does have is diminished significantly as the bottle sits in the distributor’s warehouse, then on a grocery store shelf, and finally afterwards as it sits in your home until you use it. There is a 50% loss of killing power within bleach during the first 90 days of shelf life. Wasting time and money on a solution that is only 50% effective by the time it reaches you may not be the best option!
Secondly, the ion structure of chlorine- one of the main components of bleach- prevents it from infiltrating into porous building materials, like drywall and wood, which are some of the main components of your home. It only affects the outside surface of the material. However, mold creates roots known as ‘hyphal structures,’ and these penetrate deep into construction materials. How will these roots be affected by bleach if it only sits on the surface? Any type of porous material is a safe haven for mold spores, and they will fill into any empty spaces or crevices they can find, making it hard for surface chemicals to penetrate the mold at its source.
Thirdly, bleach is not even registered with the EPA as a disinfectant to kill mold. You can confirm this yourself, because nowhere on a typical bleach bottle will you see an EPA registration number for killing mold. It can also be dangerous for you to use as a DIY measure because bleach tends to burn upon skin and eye contact, and if you have curious pets or babies in the house, they might accidentally lick and touch the affected area as well and become sick. Moreover, bleach consists of mostly water, and if it’s something that we’ve all learned at least, it is that mold LOVES water!! The chlorine might kill some of the colonies, but once the chlorine dissipates and there is lingering wetness left behind, more mold will grow from this unlikely source of water.
Applying paint to cover up the problem is also a temporary fix to your problem. Mold continues to thrive and spread underneath the thin paint coat, and the mildew will eventually bleed through. Furthermore, these paints tend to peel over time. Why worry about reapplying layer after layer of paint, when you should just get a professional to completely remove the affected area in the first place? Some of these paints are formulated with mold inhibitors called biocides- like barium metaborate- but these only inhibit the current growth but do not remove the colony itself. And just like bleach, the main component in paint is water. So applying a coat of paint to a mold-covered wall can definitely alleviate your problems in a visual aspect, but you are really adding fuel to the fire as the mold continues to grow underneath the applied layer.
The CDC states that if nutrients, a suitable substrate for growth, and wetness are readily available in your home, visible fungal growth can occur in as short as a few days. Furthermore, common construction materials may sometimes contain mold spores already during contamination from the distributor; these can germinate if exposed to the right amount of humidity. When damp, these pre-contaminated materials can cause mold germination in as short as 5 days. A quick and effective response to the water intrusion should prevent and reduce fungal growth and exposure, disruption of home life, and future needs for continuing remediation. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that the most effective way to manage mold is to eliminate or limit the conditions that foster its establishment in the first place. So what CAN you do to control and eliminate mold? The underlying moisture-producing conditions need be identified by a remediator and removed. Some of the necessary steps in controlling and eliminating mold growth include turning off water/pipes, repairing affected pipes, closing holes in roofs or walls, pumping water out of buildings, unclogging drains, vacuuming water from materials and buildings, and actively dehumidying rooms, buildings and cavities, amongst other measures. During this process, occupants and workers need to be protected at all times. All these steps and precautionary procedures can be overwhelming, daunting, and definitely need a little more effort and care than a simple ‘DIY’ remediation. A specialist such as MVP Environmental Solutions, Inc. can help you in this process.
Call us today at (954) 247-9444 to get your home happy and healthy today!
“Prevention and Remediation Strategies for the Control and Removal of Fungal Growth.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 July 2009. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.
“A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home: Mold Cleanup Guidelines.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.
“Does Bleach Kill Mold? || According to the EPA – “Biocides (like Chlorine Bleach) Are Toxic to Humans as Well as Mold!” Quality Environmental. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.
“Can You Paint Over Mildew? | Enlighten Me.” Enlighten Me. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.