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.
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 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 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, you can sign up under this link and get $10 off of your first purchase.
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.