No one warned us as kids how much cleaning we’d have to do every day just to keep our homes away from the brink of chaos. And when it comes to cleaning and removing mold? Forget about it! Which makes adulthood even tricker as we navigate between picking what’s for dinner (again) while simultaneously selecting mold cleaning products that actually work.
Because not all of them do...
Mold is a crucial player in environmental stability, but it is an absolute nuisance when it manages to start growing inside buildings.¹ Coupled with the general lack of awareness as well as standards for remediation and cleaning products, and it might seem like a nightmare to deal with.The good news is that some of us mold experts are actively working towards including science into remediation, which means taking a good hard look at mold cleaning products and their ability to kill and remove mold.
That kind of sounds like a true crime show on Netflix, but both steps are necessary to stop exposure in a home!
To help guide you on your mold removal journey, here are my top three suggestions for mold removal products that work and why it’s important for killing and removing mold.
What’s in a Name (aka Mold)
Step one of mold removal is learning all about this tenacious fungus.
Mold is actually two things and goes through a 3-part cycle. Mold’s life cycle begins as a microscopic particle called a spore². Think of a dandelion puff releasing seeds into the outdoor air. Similarly, colonized mold releases non-living spores into the air. When this mold spore finds a source of water, it becomes part two of the life cycle: a living organism. ³
That living moldy organism then releases even more spores (non-living particles) into the air. When the mold dies, it also returns back into a non-living particle as well.
The Importance of Mold Cleaning Products
So! Why is all this information important? Mold exposure can cause a wide range of persistent adverse health effects depending on the individual and mold species present, quantities, and byproducts.⁴’⁵’⁶ Some molds can produce microscopic toxins, called mycotoxins, which can also negatively impact health and require specific cleaning protocols.⁷’⁸
To effectively stop exposure, you have to deal with the particle and the living organism. Not to mention any other contaminants that may be present from the water event like bacteria. Otherwise, exposure will continue and symptoms can persist. That means the popular “just use bleach” suggestion won’t solve your moldy problem. Sure the chemicals will kill the living mold, but you’ll just be left with a bleach bomb odor and mold particles all over your home. Yuck!
Speaking of the bleach myth, we’re also facing a misinformation extravaganza where some mold removal products will promote their ability to handle a moldy situation when in reality they only work X percentage of the time. The general lack of standards when it comes to marketing and advertising for mold removal products is a different discussion, but one we all need to be aware of! The importance of proper mold treatment and cleaning product industry issues is why I spent time parsing through mold removal products to find the ones that actually work.
To effectively eliminate this fungus in your home, here are my top three mold cleaning product suggestions.
Mold Cleaning Product #1: Benefact Decon 30
Benefact Decon 30 is a mold cleaning product rockstar. This one-step disinfectant cleaner is specifically formulated for a water event that led to contamination.
There are quite a few positive checkmarks when it comes to Decon 30. First of all, the product is botanical, which means it utilizes natural ingredients instead of a ton of harsh chemicals to deal with mold and its affiliated contaminants. In particular, it’s known for its botanical active ingredient called Thymol, which is a component of Thyme Oil. As an added benefit, that means no nasty smells!
Decon 30 can also be used on porous and non-porous surfaces (just make sure to use the right cleaning methods). And, its botanical cleaning surfactants help remove particles from the surface while the other active ingredients kill the living mold.
That last aspect is key when it comes to a successful mold cleaning product. Leaving mold particles stuck on surfaces will contribute to exposure. They’re still right there, hanging out with you in your home! You need a product that will pull the mold particles away from the surface so when you come back to wipe the Decon 30 off after letting it sit, only the clean surface is left behind.
Speaking of wiping, make sure to use microfiber towels! They’re 100 times more effective at removing particles than other towels.
As the final cherry on top, Benefact Decon 30 is also incredibly reasonably priced! It’s a win-win-win-(win?) situation!
Mold Cleaning Product #2: EC3 Laundry Additive
Benefact Decon 30 will have to share the mold cleaning product spotlight with this phenomenal brand. EC3 went above and beyond to ensure they were prepared to treat moldy situations. From clothing and workout gear to towels and shoes, EC3 has got you covered for any moldy washable situation you undertake.
Like Decon 30, EC3 also uses natural botanicals, specifically citrus seed extracts, to treat mold and its byproducts. So, add the laundry additive to that moldy load of clothing or towels. We don’t always consider how mold spores and particles can stick like glue to our clothes, which is part of the reason this product is so special. Moldy clothes are just as likely as a moldy window sill. Except it’s not exactly a good thing to be wearing mold. It’s the accessory no one asked for or needs!
To prove EC3’s mold removal prowess, the company Micro Balance hired Real Time Labs to assess the effectiveness of their cleaning products. The results? Successful treatment of mold and its byproducts!
Its ability to successfully decontaminate washable items, as well as its non-toxic components, are what make this product such a fantastic weapon to deal with moldy problems. And why you should have it in your cleaning cabinet!
Oh, and an added bonus? These EC3’s mold cleaning products won’t cost you an arm and a leg! What a great brand, right?
Mold Cleaning Product #3: Borax
Borax is a super cool mold cleaning product because it’s a natural mineral that’s powdery white.⁹ When you combine it with water, it becomes a powerful tool to kill and remove mold. Thanks, Mother Nature!
This easy-to-use mold killer is non-toxic and chemical-free so it’s not only safe for us humans, but it’s also much less harmful to the environment. Is it related to or named after Dr. Suess’ The Lorax? The world will never know! Anyways, this mineral works by creating an alkaline environment that’s not conducive for mold growth. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life...
By mixing Borax with water, you can use it to spray on moldy surfaces or even throw it in the laundry to disinfect your clothes. Throw in its low cost and you’ve got yourself yet another winning fighter for mold-free homes!
To make this powerhouse even more awesome, it can be used in a million and one other way around the house like taking care of odors in the garbage disposal, polishing bathroom fixtures, and deterring pests. It’s definitely a try-hard, but in the best way possible!
Keeping Your Home Safe
Removing mold from your home may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! As we continue to push for more mold awareness and understanding, handling mold in the future will be a well-known and streamlined process. In the meantime, when you’re dealing with a mold issue make sure that you’re tackling the project safely and using proper cleaning protocols.
Keep in mind that when you’re removing mold, you could be dealing with particles making it into the air as well. You can watch my ERMI video to learn more about preventing cross-contamination while dealing with mold. That way, you’ll be able to effectively get rid of the mold problem and make sure it doesn’t spread to other areas of your home!
Finally, if mold continues to find its way into your home, or if you continue to experience symptoms, you may need to hire a professional. Start with a qualified mold inspector to assess the air quality, potential contamination sources, and contamination levels in your home. If they find a problem, you’ll need to hire a qualified remediation company that’s up for the job and prioritizes your health. We want to make sure your home environment is safe and healthy so you and your family can live happily.
- Mold. New World Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Mold.
- Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Mold. EPA. Retrieved August 17, 2021, from https://www.epa.gov/mold.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, August 11). Basic facts about mold and dampness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 17, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm.
- Bush, R. K., Portnoy, J. M., Saxon, A., Terr, A. I., & Wood, R. A. (2006). The medical effects of mold exposure. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 117(2), 326-333.
- Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment Program, & Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment Program, & Health Science Section, Mold Basics for Primary Care Clinicians (2009). Hartford, CT; Connecticut Department of Public Health. , H. S. S., Mold Basics for Primary Care Clinicians 1–10 (2009). Hartford, CT; Connecticut Department of Public Health.
- World Health Organization. (n.d.). Mycotoxins. World Health Organization. Retrieved August 26, 2021, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mycotoxins.
- Robbins, C. A., Swenson, L. J., Nealley, M. L., Kelman, B. J., & Gots, R. E. (2000). Health effects of mycotoxins in indoor air: a critical review. Applied occupational and environmental hygiene, 15(10), 773-784.
- Woods, W. G. (1994). An introduction to boron: history, sources, uses, and chemistry. Environmental health perspectives, 102(suppl 7), 5-11.