Killing mold and mildew without bleach
Tragically, the next giant battle in the recent catastrophic flood cleanup of hurricane Matthew will be waged against mold. As floodwaters recede, residents are tearing out soggy flooring and drywall to prevent the growth of mold.
Mold likes water, so it can grow quickly. Unfortunately, the human body doesn’t like mold.
The mold fungus mostly affects people with allergies and asthma and those with compromised immune systems, but living with mold long-term is dangerous. Mold triggers an allergic response in many people that can result in symptoms that include a runny nose and sneezing. For those with asthma, living with mold can cause asthma attacks.
Bleach is often mistaken as the best warrior against mold, but it won’t go deep into the wood to prevent mold growth. Disinfectants can kill molds but do not prevent new growth on damp wood or other materials. Many people are beginning to understand that bleach and other chemicals are harmful, even aggravating asthma and the respiratory tract. Its full negative impact on the environment is not fully known.
Gentle, Effective, Solutions
Essential oils can take care of the job effectively without harming the individuals using them. Whether you have a musty basement or fresh water damage, it’s never too late to start diffusing essential oils into your home to purify the air. There are many studies showing that mold and bacteria cannot stand up to the power of essential oils.
Mold Doesn’t Like Essential Oils
Clove, Cinnamon, Peppermint, and Rosemary are some of the most powerful essential oils against mold. Mold spores are everywhere, and they multiply quickly when exposed to water. Keeping mold in check first starts with getting your home dried out and keeping it that way. For any flood damage, contact a professional first for clean-up. Mold and mildew breed anywhere there is moisture, so it is important to have your home cleaned up quickly and properly. In the meantime,
Use a cold air diffuser to diffuse your essential oils to start killing the existing mold spores and keep them from growing into large numbers. If you have a damp basement or crawl space, run a dehumidifier in the moistest weather and clean up excess water as soon as possible, using fans to keep air circulated. Studies show when ventilating air it is more effective to blow air out of the house, rather than bringing outside air in.
Unchecked, mold growth can cause serious physical symptoms including nausea, rashes, bloody noses, diarrhea, headaches and more. If you suspect serious mold problems in your home, do not attempt to fix it yourself. There are many qualified mold experts trained in properly cleaning dangerous levels of bacteria.
Most Effective Essential Oils Against Mold
The best oils to diffuse to prevent mildew growth are blends. Synergistic blends of oils are more powerful than the individual oils. Most helpful are Cinnamon, Clove, Rosemary, Lemon, Orange, Spruce, and blends of Biblical Oils. For the best effect, use a cold-air diffuser which does not heat the oils. Never use a water diffuser as it adds more water to the environment. Remember that mold LIKES water. Completely avoid chemical air fresheners that are just masking mold and mildew odors. These are not killing bacteria and are filling your air with more harmful toxins in the form of chemicals.
Diffusing essential oils can be the start to cleaning up your air after water damage or in a damp area. But the most important goal is to correct the cause of water damage. If you have serious mold damage, make sure you have a professional mold remediation service take care of the clean-up. You can, however, use essential oils in addition to keep your air healthy and pure.
Clean-Up Spray For Small Jobs
If you need to clean up mildew on contact, mix up a 1/2 gallon of water, 1/3 cup vinegar and 10-15 drops of essential oils of your choice. Wipe on surfaces and allow it to sit for a minute before wiping off. Repeat as needed. If you have tough mold, mix up a 4 ounce spray bottle with 2 drops of castile soap (to emulsify the oils), 15 drops of essential oils (cinnamon, clove, tea tree, rosemary are good choices) and the remainder with alcohol (rubbing alcohol or a high proof Vodka). Shake gently, then spray on location and let this sit a minute, then wipe the surface clean. Repeat if needed. Just remember that many essential oils are solvents, cinnamon and clove can be irritating to the skin when used in larger amounts so wear gloves and wipe thoroughly from your surface. Test a small area first to make sure surface doesn’t get damaged, although you’d be worse off having mold in your home! This method is much gentler on the respiratory tract and better for the environment. So whether you have a mold issue or not, essential oils are a great natural alternative to bleach when you need to disinfect areas of your home.
These statements have not been evaluated by the EPA or FDA and are not meant as a replacement for professional mold remediation.