Mold is fungi that grows on organic material such as wood, food and cloth. In the home, mold often grows in damp locations such as the grout between bathroom tiles or on wallboard under cabinets. Household mold can cause allergies and other illnesses, but the harsh fungicides in many mold-killing products can also cause negative health effects. Green products, including commercial cleaners and common kitchen items, are safer ways to clean mold.
Bleach or Peroxide
Use household chlorine bleach, such as Clorox brand bleach, to safely clean mold in the home, recommends the Federal Citizen Information Center, an information resource of the United States General Services Administration. Mix one part chlorine bleach with 10 parts warm water, spray on the moldy area and let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse well. Don't use chlorine bleach on fabric such as clothing, furniture and carpeting because it can discolor or damage the fabric. Don't mix chlorine bleach with any products containing ammonia because it could form a toxic gas. Hydrogen peroxide is a milder alternative to using chlorine bleach, according to Greener Choices, a green products and information resource maintained by Consumers Reports. Mix one part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts water in a spray bottle, spray on bathroom mold, and rinse after one hour, recommends green culture activist Greg Seaman on his products and information website EarthEasy.
Use non-ammonia detergent and hot water along with a stiff scrub brush to wash mold off nonporous surfaces, Greener Choices recommends. Nonammonia detergent products are available from Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation, Planet Ultra, and other natural home products companies. Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning with green products, Greener Choices advises, because mold spores can be sent airborne and inhaled during scrubbing. A baking soda and water paste can also whiten grout that has been stained by mold and mildew. Let the paste sit on the grout about an hour before rinsing off.
Commercial Green Cleaners
An increasing number of green household products companies offer safe, nontoxic mold solutions. Simple Green, makers of a line of natural, pine-based home cleaning products, has a nontoxic, biodegradable mold and mildew remover particularly formulated to remove mold stains from walls prior to painting. Property Perfections, a Tamarac, Florida, manufacturer of organic cleaning products sold primarily to the commercial cleaning trade, sells an organic mold cleaning kit that includes a mold and stain remover plus a second product to help prevent mold from growing back.