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How to Clean Mold and Mildew

Updated on February 23, 2015
Rosie writes profile image

Rosie is a library media specialist. An avid reader and life-long learner, Rosie enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise in many areas.


Store-Bought Cleaners Don't Work

There are several cleaners on retail shelves today that claim to get rid of mold and mildew. Unfortunately, aside from pure bleach, none of them seem to work. I thiink I can safely say that I have tried most store-bought mold and mildew cleaners and have been very disappointed to find little or no results when trying to rid a shower stall of mold and mildew. They were however, all effective in causing a powerful and unpleasant smell. They also filled the air with harmful toxins that were unhealthy for all in the vicinity.

Since learning about all of the toxic ingredients in store-bought cleaners, I've made it a goal to use natural, healthy ingredients in my home. It's been interesting to find that the natural, less expensive ingredients actually do a better job as well.

Natural Cleaners That Do Work to Get Rid of Mold and Mildew

I was very surprised to read that tea tree oil kills mold. In my own personal experience, I have mixed several drops of tea tree essential oil with water in a spray bottle. I then sprayed it on the walls and floor of my shower. It left a strong smell that lasted a few hours, but dissipated over time. I didn't mind the smell, but it may be too much for some. The next day I noticed a huge difference. I kept repeating this for several days and the shower stall looked better each time. After a couple of weeks, it was clean of mold and mildew. I now maintain a clean shower stall by spraying tea tree oil mixed with water on all the surfaces every couple of weeks.

Grapefruit seed extract has also been recommended in preventing and ridding surfaces of mold and mildew. Grapefruit seed extract is used in the same way as the tea tree essential oil, mixed with water in a spray bottle.

White vinegar can be used as it is, without dilluting. It can be sprayed on the moldy or mildewy surface and left. According to Care2 Make a Difference, vinegar kills 82% of mold. Vinegar can also be poured on surfaces if a spray bottle is not available. An effective way to clean your bathtub is by filling it a couple of inches with water and about a half gallon of vinegar. Let it sit for a couple of hours and then rinse. Vinegar can also be mixed with borax and used as a scrubbing agent, then left to continue disintegrating the mold and mildew, and finally rinsed.

Dangers of Mold and Mildew

  • Mold and mildew can permanently damage or destroy items and surfaces in your home.
  • Mold spores can be harmful to your health. According to House Cleaning Central, ."...mold spores can cause cold-like symptoms, allergic reactions and for those that already have respiratory ailments, it can cause breathing issues."
  • After mold and mildew appears, it eventually causes spores to mix with the air that you breath. According to Healthy Home Plans, "For people who are sensitive to the fungus, exposure to even a tiny amount causes discomfort, headache, irritation of the eyes and nose, sneezing and wheezing, skin rash, and nausea." They also state that once a person is effected by mold, they will continue to be sensitive to it for the rest of their lives. Mold and mildew can effect a perfectly healthy person if breathed in for long periods of time.


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    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Rosie writes - I'm going to have to give the tea tree oil a try. I love the smell and we have some corners in our shower that just won't come clean. Thanks for a useful hub!


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