Wondering how to get rid of mold naturally? Whether you have black mold in your shower or basement, on your walls, windows, ceiling or baseboards, this DIY Mold Remover is a safe and natural black mold removal cleaner that will eliminate mold health risks and symptoms without toxic bleach.
UPDATE: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been updated with timely information + fresh content.
Oh no, it's back. I walked into our bathroom yesterday and noticed our shower curtain was brimming with black mold.
I say “it's back” because we dealt with black mold at our old house. One day, I went to open one of the windows in our master bedroom and I noticed lots of black spores growing all over the sill. I went to look around at the other windows and sure enough, nearly every window in that room was covered in mold.
So I did what any normal person does… I googled “how to get rid of mold”. Mostly a ton of results touting bleach came up.
And then I did what any natural living enthusiast does and I searched bleach on EWG's Cleaning Database.
It wasn't pretty–also known as Sodium Hypochlorite, bleach is a known asthmagen that is toxic to aquatic life, causes severe skin burns and eye damage, and is riddled with impurities, like chloroform and chlorine, that can cause reproductive toxicity, damage to organs, and even cancer.
And most of the products containing bleach don't just stop the poison there. Not only does Clorox not disclose their full ingredients list (RED FLAG!), but what they do admit to using in their bleach includes Sodium Polyacrylate, an environmental toxin with acrylic acid impurities that can cause skin erosion and respiratory irritation.
So then I searched “mold” to see if there were any safer store-bought alternatives. It appears not–nearly all of the products that came up in the search results were rated a D or F by the EWG. Take a look:
- Up & Up's mold and mildew stain remover is made with bleach and an undisclosed cocktail of chemicals.
- Tilex's Mold Stain & Mildew Stain Remover is also made with bleach, not to mention fragrance. So is LYSOL's Mold & Mildew Remover and Kaboom's StainBuster Mold & Mildew Stain Remover.
- And even brands with green-sounding names got an F. Earthworm Mold & Mildew Treatment is made with toxic surfactants and preservatives, which are environmentally damaging and may cause reproductive and developmental toxicity and cancer.
So what's a girl to do? I should've known–make your own!
It's time for another DIY Natural Cleaning recipe here on Root + Revel, and I'm here to tell you that not only does this DIY Mold Remover work like gangbusters, but it's 100% safe and natural and won't cause any health problems or harm the environment. SCORE!
So here's the deal!
What is Black Mold
To fully understand how this DIY Mold Remover works, it's helpful to start at the beginning. So what is black mold?
Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra, can be found indoors growing on a variety of surfaces, especially things with a high cellulose content like wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, lint and dust. (source)
Like its name promises, black mold is dark black in color, although sometimes it's can have a green or grey tint. It usually smells musty and mildew-like. Gross.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold, a type of fungus, is very common in homes and buildings and can grow anywhere indoors where there is moisture. Black mold thrives in warm, moist environments, which is why it's often found in basements and bathrooms.
Black mold exposure and black mold poisoning can cause a wide range of health problems, some of which are really serious. No surprise–according to the CDC, black mold (though not toxic itself) can produce toxins that are toxic or poisonous.
Black Mold Symptoms
There are a host of health risks associated with black mold exposure, including nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing and coughing, skin irritation, headaches, chronic fatigue, and fever. So basically allergies.
Severe reactions may occur when people are exposed to large amounts of molds over an extended period of time (which is why it's important to get rid of mold in your house as soon as you spot it). Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath, and if you already have a weakened immune system, black mold could cause chronic lung diseases like COPD and fungal infections in your lungs. (source)
The Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.
So yeah, mold is no joke. If you spot it, get rid of it immediately.
But not just with anything–as we already discussed, bleach is not a safe solution for getting rid of mold. Likewise, mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
Fortunately, there is a safe and natural solution to get rid of black mold, and you can make this DIY cleaner with just four ingredients you likely already have in your pantry or medicine cabinet.
How to Get Rid of Mold Naturally (Without Bleach!)
After reading up on some different natural remedies for killing mold, I came up with a simple 3-step system to remove black mold naturally. You just need four ingredients (and a couple of glass spray bottles):
- Vinegar + Tea Tree Oil: I start by combining distilled vinegar, a naturally antimicrobial substance, and tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Give it a little shake and spray the mixture directly on the moldy area. Let it sit (don't touch the mold or try to scrub it away) for 30 minutes. The vinegar will kill the mold with its acid, while tea tree oil is naturally anti-fungal and one of the best natural mold killers.
- Baking Soda: Then I take some baking soda and add it to slightly warm water in a spray bottle. Shake the mixture well until the baking soda has dissolved. And then spray this mixture on top of the moldy area. Let it dry on the mold–so don't touch it for at least half an hour. In addition to killing mold, baking soda will absorb moisture to help keep mold away.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: Finally, take some hydrogen peroxide, an anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial solution, and pour it into a glass. Dip a clean toothbrush into the peroxide and scrub the moldy area with the toothbrush, rinsing and dipping the toothbrush as you go.
One of my favorite places to shop online for home supplies (and healthy food!) is Thrive Market. If you have a Thrive membership, you can order the ingredients you need for this recipe like tea tree oil on their site.
On average, Thrive members save an average of $32 per order! So it's well worth the membership cost.
Plus, right now they’re offering 25% OFF your first order and a FREE gift, so you’re making up some of the price of the membership immediately with your first order!
You’ll also get free shipping over $49+ orders.
If you don't have a Thrive membership, check out this review of Thrive Market + Shopping List of My Favorite Buys!
I also love Plant Therapy, whose oils are 100% pure, free from any additives, adulterants, or dilutions. Their facility is USDA Certified Organic, and their prices are also SUPER reasonable!
Next, take a clean microfiber cloth and wipe away any remaining mold and cleaning liquid. Repeat this process as needed, until all the mold has been removed. For me, it only took one time, but for more serious cases, it might require two to three rounds.
If possible, make sure the area is well-ventilated while you're cleaning and don't stay in the room while the solutions sit on the mold. You want as little exposure to the mold as possible. You can ever wear a mask while you clean to avoid inhaling any of the mold spores.
Black Mold Prevention Tips
Don't forget that after you remove the black mold, you must identify the moisture source or cause. Otherwise, the mold will just keep returning.
Here are some tips:
- you can buy a dehumidifier to place in the bathroom (it's best to keep humidity levels below 50 percent), and make sure to always turn your vent fan (or exhaust fan) on when you take a shower.
- Likewise, make sure you completely fix any water leaks and/or any HVAC problems, and ensure proper ventilation is in place in high humidity areas. Regularly cleaning your home, especially damp areas prone to moisture, like the bathroom and basement, with natural anti-mold products will help prevent new mold from forming, too.
- Also worth noting: you may have to throw away certain materials if they become moldy, especially if they're super absorbent or porous, like ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpet.
I will definitely be throwing away my shower curtain and replacing it with a fresh new one. If you think you can clean the area and avoid replacing it, just make sure you clean and dry the surface thoroughly, as you can still have an allergic reaction to parts of the dead mold, and mold contamination may recur if there is still a source of moisture.
Alright, that's it! This simple 3-step system should help you get rid of mold in your house naturally, no toxic bleach or harmful chemicals required.
Be sure to check out the comments on this post below, because the R+R community has shared lots of additional tips and tricks over the years that you may find helpful!
If you try this remedy, don't forget to share your results with us on social media–tag us @rootandrevel so we can see!
DIY Mold Remover: Get Rid of Black Mold Naturally
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tea tree oil
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 cup hydrogen peroxide
- 1 toothbrush
- Combine vinegar and tea tree oil into a spray bottle and spray directly onto mold. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Combine water and baking soda in another spray bottle and spray directly onto mold. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
- In a glass cup, add hydrogen peroxide. Dip a toothbrush directly into peroxide and scrub mold until it's gone. Clean the toothbrush with water when needed, and continue dipping the toothbrush into peroxide as needed.
- Wipe down with a dry microfiber cloth to ensure all mold is gone and the surface is dry.