Need a cleaner to kill mold that really works? Here are my favorite natural mold killer recipes!
I used to have problems with mold (and mildew) in my house. I was concerned that it might be adding to my chronic health issues. So, I did quite a bit of research on mold. What I found out was that the mold and mildew in my house were probably not the type that caused chronic health issues. (I was able to improve my health through addressing other problems, but that is a story for another day).
Since I felt that I didn’t have a serious case of the really bad kind of mold, I was ready to tackle the mold and get it cleaned up. I researched what non toxic cleaners would kill the mold spores. I wanted the cleaners I used to be heavy duty, but I also wanted them to be non toxic. I found some that I felt were effective and truly natural.
I do want to mention that the mold killers that I ended up using might not be appropriate if you are dealing with a serious case of black mold. If you have recently had part of your house flooded or if you have serious symptoms like chronic fatigue, headaches, fever, rashes or chronic coughing, then you may want to read this post.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details.
What Kills Mold Naturally
There are quite a few things that are effective on mold. All of these natural products help kill mold: alcohol, peroxide, vinegar, and tea tree oil. Which one you will use depends on what you are cleaning. I have used all of these personally when I was having trouble with mold and mildew.
I researched quite a bit before choosing which things to use because I wanted to truly kill the mold spores and not just move them around! Mold spores in the air can have more negative health consequences than mold spores that have been left alone.
Mold Killer Recipe for Leather
If you are killing mold or mildew on leather, a mixture of alcohol and water is very effective. I used this on an expensive leather coat and it worked really well. It is a good idea to wipe down the article one more time with a damp rag after you have cleaned it. This will help to minimize the risk of the alcohol causing any damage to your leather. Also, make sure your item is very dry before storing.
Mold Killer Recipe for Leather
- 1 cup rubbing alcohol
- 1 cup water
Pour the alcohol and water into a spray bottle (a funnel may help with this step). Spray the leather item with the mixture. Let sit for a while. Wipe down the leather item with a soft cloth.
Natural Mold Killer for Wood
Peroxide is effective for killing mold on wood. Peroxide can take the color out of things so you may want to try it on an inconspicuous spot first. I used it on the shelves in my closet (which are just untreated shelving) and it worked great on them. I found peroxide in a spray bottle so that made it even easier. It is helpful to let it sit for a little before wiping. Letting the peroxide sit for a bit helps to kill the mold spores.
All Purpose Natural Mold Cleaner
For most other surfaces, including painted wood and sheetrock, I use a mixture of tea tree oil and vinegar. Note: Some sources say that if the mold has penetrated the sheetrock, it may have to be replaced. I personally feel safe using this for my small mold and mildew problems, and I haven’t replaced any sheetrock.
The reason tea tree oil is so effective is because it is a very strong anti fungal. Vinegar is also a mold killer and it is a good base for the tea tree oil because it doesn’t grow bacteria the way water can. This means that this mold killer can be stored for a long time without it going bad.
Tea tree oil has a cleaner type smell which I don’t mind. It smells kind of like a pine cleaner. I like the smell better than straight vinegar. It can be really strong, though, so good ventilation is a plus.
I like the Tea Tree Therapy brand of tea tree oil. It is available on Amazon, but I can often get a really good deal on it at Swanson. Swanson sends me coupons in my email, and sometimes they are 15% off. Because I have a coupon, and because Swanson’s prices are already good, I can usually get my tea tree oil cheaper there than on Amazon.
I also order some other things from Swanson that are cheaper than I can find other places. If you have never ordered from Swanson, click here to get $10 off of your first order.
All Purpose Mold Killer
- 2 tsp tea tree oil
- 2 cups vinegar
Combine the tea tree oil and vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake a little. Spray the mixture onto the mold and leave to dry. Spray the mold a second time and leave for a few minutes and wipe.
A Few More Tips on Mold
When you are trying to kill mold, it can be helpful to spray the mold down with a strong cleaner (like some of the ones above) and let the cleaner completely dry. This gives the cleaner time to kill the mold spores. I have done this and then come back later (sometimes hours or days later) and sprayed the mold again, this time wiping the area down.
If you are sensitive to mold, you may want to ask someone else to do the cleaning. There are also masks available to cover your mouth and nose.
Get Rid of the Source of Mold
Make sure that you take care of any moisture problems or you risk the mold coming right back. Or, you may never get rid of all the mold in the first place. This can happen if there is moisture behind a wall (because of a hidden leak). The bottom line is to try to identify if there is a leak somewhere. I had a leak in my bathroom ceiling, and got it fixed.
However, a lot of the mold and mildew problems in my house were not caused by the leak but by excess humidity in the air. I ended up buying a dehumidifier so that there wouldn’t be so much moisture in the air. If you aren’t sure of the humidity level in your house, you may want to buy a humidity monitor so that you can check the levels.
I bought a monitor and put it in different areas of the house so that I could keep an eye on the humidity.
I noticed the humidity was worse when the temperature outside was nice, because the AC and the heating system take moisture out of the air naturally. Also, the moisture level was higher when it rained.
Generally, it is good to have humidity levels around 30%-45%. It may need to be lower than 40% in the winter to avoid condensation on the windows. The moisture levels at my house were often higher than the recommended levels so that is why I decided I needed to go ahead and buy a dehumidifier.
Since I bought the dehumidifier, our home feels more comfortable. It feels cooler in the summer. Also, I used to occasionally think all my floors were dirty, but then I realized they were slightly damp feeling. I no longer have that problem. My floors feel dry now.
I don’t have the mold and mildew problems I used to have. Between the dehumidifier and the cleaners, things are a lot better.
You may also be interested in:
Natural Stain Removers for Laundry
4 Really Easy Microwave Cleaning Hacks-Using Natural Ingredients
Raia Todd says
I really struggle with mold, also! I’ve used tea tree before, but never thought to pair it with vinegar. Definitely trying this next time I see some crop up in my windows. Thank you!
I am glad the ideas helped you. I definitely researched for a while before choosing what to use because I wanted cleaners that were effective at killing the mold and not toxic to me!
Teresa Jungling says
Thanks for sharing. My health has been very negatively impacted by mold. It’s so important to keep an eye out for mold in your home. Having a dehumidifier is huge too. I always used to just run one in the winter, but now I run it all year long.
I am glad the dehumidifier helped you. I definitely agree that it is important to keep an eye out for mold, and to make a decision on how best to handle it. Some mold problems are much more serious and need to be handled very carefully and others can be taken care of more easily-which I know you are already aware of (that is why I linked to your excellent article). I hope your health is improving-I have recovered from some chronic health problems and I am grateful to feel good now! I will pray the same thing happens for you.
Teresa Jungling says
I appreciate your prayers and appreciate you adding my article!
You are welcome Teresa! <3
Our mold is growing on the stucco outside our house. It’s rough and doesn’t take well to wiping, and it’s old and getting fragile and won’t tolerate a brush. Any suggestions?
Thanks for the wonderful recipes.
That is a tough one! I don’t have any experience with mold on stucco. I wish I could be more help!
Dee Hunter says
I loved this article and will try it . Safe ,which is am must since I have had cancer . Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of cat pee smell on furniture and how to stop the marking and spraying ?
Hi Dee! I am sorry-I don’t know the answer to your question.
Dee Tea tree oil is toxic to cats. Do not use where they can inhale it or get it on their skin or fur, where they can ingest it while grooming.
Dee- spraying is often caused by cats seeing other cats or animals outside and they need to protect their territory. Do what you can to eliminate that possibility. Feliway or Comfort Zone diffusers can help calm some cats. I used Nature’s Miracle products for cleaning.
Ms kittye says
Hi I have soup cup with a lid the lid has rubber underneath and it has mold around it will your remedy help with this
I am not sure if it can be cleaned thoroughly unless the rubber can be taken apart from the rest of the cup. If it can be, then I would try wiping it down with vinegar and then soaking it in vinegar for a few minutes. Then I would wash it with hot soapy water.
I personally would throw it away if I felt that it couldn’t be cleaned thoroughly.
Regarding the Leather Mold Cleaner:
In an effort to improve the aroma from the cleaner and mold, would adding essential oils to the recipe an option? Will the oils cause any damage to the leather? Do you suggest applying a leather conditioner after the mold has been treated and dried?
I haven’t tried essential oils on leather personally. Orange oil and lemon oil are often recommended for leather. I would try a small amount on an inconspicuous spot first.
My coat was fine after I cleaned it with the mold killer recipe, so I didn’t worry about a leather conditioner.
Wow! You have some great ideas here. Thank You for sharing this information with everyone. Mold remediation can be sooooo expensive. I have bought 2 air purfiers so for nw things are not getting worse. I will be starting this week. I have also read that bleach doesn’t kill mold. Good to know.
Hi Ann! I am glad to be of help. I thought of getting mold remediation, but I didn’t end up needing it. I would recommend it to people who have health issues that they have linked back to the mold, or if they know they are dealing with flooding or black mold. For me, I found these natural cleaners and ideas to be a big help!