Friday, February 25, 2011

Got Mold? Should You Reach for the Bleach?

Mike Ciavattieri, Bonsai Home Inspections addresses this issue in his Blog    
Mold and Bleach - The Real Truth      A great read!

I thought this topic was especially interesting after talking with a number folks that had the unfortunate experience of water penetration due to ice dams this winter.

Most of them, thought as I did, that bleach is your first defense in the clean up of mold.     But, is it?    I guess not!

Porous Sufaces

While it could possibly be used on non-porous materials such as counter tops, tiles and tubs, a safer option would be old fashioned soap and water!   

Non-Porous Surfaces

It most certainly is not recommended for porous materials such as drywall, wood, and flooring.   In fact using bleach on those materials may be counter productive!   It could just remove the mold that is on the surface, not touching the underlying roots and it will return!  

EPA Guide to Mold and Mildew        (recommendations on what to do, consulting a professional, etc.)

Anyone that knows me, knows I love Bleach.... the smell makes me think clean, fresh and crisp.    
but, after reading Ciavattieri's post, and similar articles.. ..I think I'll just confine it to the laundry.

( and, I guess that opens another can of worms, doesn't it???  )


  1. Grim to think that the bleach may not actually help. Like you - bleach - screams CLEAN to me....thanks for the info and great article by Mike!

  2. One of my first go-tos is bleach too. Thanks for the info!

  3. The article is probably right but I remember when a lot of people had their cellars flooded, the answer at that time for the concrete floors and walls was to spray them with a bleach solution. In fact, the Council on Aging at that time supplied the Seniors with gallons of bleach for that purpose.

    I am sure that this other information is probably true about porous surfaces such as wood, drywall, plaster and other kinds of surfaces.

    Good to keep up to date with the times.

  4. Milo, Really interesting! I'm sure that was the conventional wisdom at the time. I would think the "green" movement has something to do with all this. "Mold" has become such a big buzz word; you hear that you have it in your home and freak! Your comment reminds me that common sense needs to prevail for all of us and that we need to keep ourselves in check so that we don't over react! Thanks for your comment!

  5. Hi Nan. I know you asked about using TSP.... here is the answer from Bonsai President, Mike Ciavatteri

    "TSP is a reasonable substitute for bleach as it lacks any phosphates.

    However, since soap and water is equally effective and contains even less chemicals - you may wish to stick with it instead.

    Either is fine. It's bleach that is the real choice to stay away from."

    Mike Ciavattieri

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