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Does Vinegar Eliminate Mold?

When it comes to four-letter words you don’t want to hear; mold is towards the top of the list. This dreaded word strikes fear in anyone who hears it.

Whether it’s the food in your fridge or a leaky spot in your basement or attic, discovering mold is never pleasant. It can be expensive to address and, if left unaddressed, can cause serious health conditions.

You may try several methods for killing mold, including using vinegar. So does vinegar kill mold? Let’s look and see!

What Exactly Is Vinegar?

Vinegar is a mixture of water and acetic acid that uses a double fermentation process to convert simple sugars into ethanol using yeast. The yeast feeds off the sugars and starches from potatoes, rice, whole grains, or fruits. The fermentation process results in a liquid that a manufacturer exposes to oxygen and acetic acid bacteria. 

Depending on the type of vinegar, the second fermentation process could last weeks, months, or years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sets requirements for vinegar, which states that it must contain between 4% and 8% acetic acid.

Chemical Cleaning Vs Natural Cleaning

Does Vinegar Kill Mold?

Vinegar is incredibly inexpensive and readily available. It’s used in various ways so just about everyone has some in their home. The acetic acid found in vinegar gives it an antifungal and antibacterial property.

This makes vinegar a strong and capable cleaner capable of cleaning some forms of mold.

A 2015 study revealed that vinegar with 4 to 4.2% acetic acid could kill Penicillium chrysogenum, a common type of household mold. However, another common form of household mold, Aspergillus fumigatus, was unaffected by vinegar.

This proves that vinegar is effective at killing some types of molds, but not all.

And, personally, outdoor mold on a porch or patio, seems even harder to eliminate with vinegar.

How Long Does It Take for Vinegar to Kill Mold?

You should never be in a hurry when cleaning mold from your home or other location. You want to take your time to ensure you give the time for the vinegar to do its job. As a result, you’ll want to let the vinegar sit on any mold for at least 60 minutes before you start wiping or scrubbing at the mold.

As a protective measure, wear a mask, eye protection, and gloves when attempting to kill or clean mold. You do not want to breathe in mold spores released into the air while cleaning. This can cause serious health conditions and issues.

Do You Dilute Vinegar to Kill Mold?

You want only to use full-strength vinegar when trying to kill mold. Diluting it will weaken it and make it less effective.

However, you want to consider the surface you’re trying to treat. Hard surfaces will require full-strength vinegar, but if you are cleaning cloth or other fabrics, it’s best to dilute it with a 1:1 ratio with water to avoid causing any damage to the material.

Pour the full-strength vinegar into a spray bottle and then spray the vinegar directly onto the mold. Let the vinegar sit on the mold for at least 60 minutes to give it time to soak up the vinegar.

If the mold doesn’t wipe away, use a teaspoon of baking soda and two cups of water. Spray the liquid onto the mold and use a scrub brush or scouring pad to eliminate the mold from the surface. Once the mold is removed, spray with vinegar and let it air dry.

Will Vinegar Kill Black Mold?

Vinegar can kill black mold on certain surfaces. You’ll have the best luck using vinegar on black mold on nonporous surfaces.

However, if you’re dealing with a large mold infestation, you’ll want to call a professional to address the issue.

Small amounts of black mold in a shower or bathroom are likely DIY projects. However, if you discover a large infestation in your attic, basement, or crawl space, it’s best to ensure it’s done right. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew or find yourself having serious health issues because you didn’t address the situation appropriately.

What Kills Mold Better Bleach or Vinegar?

While bleach is an incredibly strong and powerful cleaning agent, when it comes to mold, it’s not as effective as vinegar. Bleach only kills the mold on the top layer of surface mold and does nothing about any underlying mold spores.

This typically results in the mold growing back or moving deeper into a material.

What Else Kills Mold?

There are several home remedies that you can use to kill mold. However, you’ll want to consider the surfaces you’ll be cleaning and where you’re cleaning them.

You can also use borax, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, tea tree oil, and grapefruit seed extract in your battle against mold. 

Is Using Vinegar to Kill Mold a Long Term Solution?

While vinegar is effective at killing mold, it’s not a good long-term solution. You want to address the root cause of mold growth. Mold typically grows as a result of moisture. Eliminating moisture from an area can help prevent mold from growing. In some instances, it may mean using a dehumidifier or other tools to suck the moisture out of the air, and in some other cases, it may mean fixing a leak.

If the mold is growing on a porch or patio, try to keep a fan running for constant air movement.

You may need to call in a professional to help you develop a long-term plan for treating mold in your home or other areas.

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