Ask an Expert: Bleach and Mold

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Hayward Score identifies the major issues in your home that can impact your health and gives you personalized actionable recommendations to fix them!

Ask an Expert is an occasional feature where we pose a question submitted by a readers to our Healthy Home Director Carl Grimes and Healthy Building Scientist Joe Medosch.

Reader Question: Is bleach is the best thing to remove and kill mold growth?

Despite what you might read online or have been told by others, including contractors, using bleach on visible mold growth is not recommended by either the EPA or the CDC and is not part of the ANSI-IICRC S520 Standard for Professional Mold Remediation.

Here are some simple facts about bleach and mold:

Additionally, bleach is a harsh chemical and exposure may be problematic for people with chemical sensitivity or are impacted by other conditions. It can also react with other household chemicals, especially ammonia, and create new hazards. Less toxic options are available.

Is bleach ever ok to use on mold? According to the CDC, bleach is acceptable after storms, flooding, and disasters if other products are not immediately available. However, they caution that no product  can “effectively clean up mold if you do not remove the mud and dirt first.”   Any disinfectant should be used only after the removal of visible growth and debris as contact with organic matter will reduce the efficacy of the product.

For detailed information on the best practices for mold removal, click here.

Resources:

1Reponen: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2007.06.027
2EPA: https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-cleanup-your-home
3CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/mold/mold-cleanup-bleach.html

 

Our Experts
Carl Grimes – Carl has both the personal experience of how an unhealthy home created his own disabling health issues, plus professional experience in various industries working in the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) field. Carl also wrote Starting Points for a Healthy Habitat in 1999, detailing possibilities of what could occur in a house to make its occupants sick, how to identify what was happening, and what to do about it.

Joe Medosch – Joe has almost 30 years of experience as a contractor and 10 years as a master trainer with expertise in home performance, particularly in health and energy-efficiency. His proficiency includes building science & diagnostics and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) assessments. He has served on numerous committees developing industry standards including RESNET Standard 380, Equipment Sub-Committee, and BPI multifamily standards development.

 

 

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Hayward Score Staff
Hayward Score Staff
Staff articles are researched, written, edited, and reviewed by the Hayward Score team and its network of advocates and subject matter experts.
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