Cleaning Mold With Bleach

The issue of mold infestation in homes is a prevalent concern, particularly in environments with high humidity and moisture. Often, homeowners and tenants encounter mold as unsightly greenish patches accompanied by a musty smell, urging them to seek immediate solutions.

Molds can also pose various health hazards, particularly for individuals with allergies, respiratory conditions, or compromised immune systems.

Health Risks of Mold Exposure

Mold thrives in damp and humid environments, potentially causing health risks. Exposure to airborne mold spores can trigger allergies or respiratory issues, especially in sensitive individuals.
For some people, mold can cause symptoms like a stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing or wheezing, burning eyes, or skin rash. Those with asthma or mold allergies may have severe reactions. Immune-compromised individuals and those with chronic lung diseases are at risk of lung infections from mold.
Exposure to damp and moldy environments can cause various health effects. People sensitive to mold may experience symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes or skin.

Severe reactions can include fever and shortness of breath. There is evidence linking indoor mold exposure to respiratory issues, asthma symptoms, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis in susceptible individuals.
People with allergies, immune suppression, or underlying lung diseases are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory diseases may have trouble breathing, and those with immune suppression are at increased risk of infection from molds.

Is Bleach the Ideal Solution to Mold?

A common recourse is the use of bleach, widely believed to be an effective agent in combating mold. However, this approach is surrounded by myths and misconceptions, prompting a need to delve deeper into the efficacy and safety of using bleach for mold remediation.

bottles of bleach on a store shelf

Bleach as an effective solution for mold removal is being challenged because it may not be ideal for a comprehensive mold solution. In some cases, bleach can even encourage toxic mold growth in previously unaffected areas. This is due to its limitations in addressing the root problem of mold infestations.

Mold thrives deep within surfaces, and bleach's inability to penetrate these deeper layers means that the mold's root structure often remains untouched. Consequently, this can lead to a resurgence of mold.

This cycle of temporary surface treatment followed by regrowth highlights the need for more comprehensive and penetrating mold remediation methods.

In fact, both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have explicitly advised against using bleach for mold remediation. These organizations highlight the potential hazards associated with bleach and recommend adopting safer alternatives.

The dangers of using bleach include its caustic nature, which can harm various surfaces and compromise the structural integrity of homes. Additionally, when mixed with ammonia, bleach can produce a deadly gas, making it particularly hazardous to handle in environments like bathrooms.

Is Bleach Toxic?

Bleach is classified as a toxic chemical, with properties equivalent to gasoline. Its gaseous form can release dioxins, known cancer-causing compounds. Direct contact of bleach with the skin can cause several issues, including:

person coughing and holding their hand up

Irritation and Burns: Bleach is a strong corrosive substance. It can cause irritation, redness, and burns on the skin, especially if the skin is exposed for a prolonged period.
Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may develop an allergic reaction to bleach, leading to symptoms like itching, hives, or swelling.
Chemical Burns: In more severe cases, bleach can cause chemical burns, which might require medical attention.
Considering these risks, it’s essential to seek safer alternatives for mold remediation.

Why Should You Hire a Professional Mold Removal Service?

Professional mold removal services often utilize appropriate techniques such as containment and HEPA filtration, which can effectively minimize the spread of mold spores and create a healthier indoor environment.

Containment and HEPA filtration are key components of professional mold remediation strategies.

● Containment involves sealing off the affected area to prevent the spread of mold spores to other parts of the building during the cleanup process. This is typically done using physical barriers like plastic sheeting and negative air pressure to keep the spores confined.
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filtration is used to capture and remove mold spores from the air. HEPA filters are designed to trap particles as small as 0.3 microns, which is efficient enough to capture the majority of mold spores.

By using these filters in air purifiers or vacuums, professionals can ensure that the air in the affected area is thoroughly cleaned, reducing the risk of mold spores spreading or remaining in the environment after remediation.

Benefits of Containment and HEPA Filtration

Together, containment and HEPA filtration not only enhance the effectiveness of mold remediation but also protect the health of both the occupants of the building and the professionals carrying out the mold removal process.

people in white hazmat suits

Using containment and HEPA filtration in mold remediation offers several benefits:

Prevents Spread

Containment barriers prevent mold spores from dispersing to other areas during removal, reducing cross-contamination. Containment techniques, such as using plastic sheeting and creating negative air pressure, seal off the affected area.

This prevents mold spores, which can become airborne during the cleaning process, from spreading to other parts of the property.

By containing these spores, the risk of cross-contamination and further mold growth in other areas is significantly reduced. This is especially important in settings where mold exposure can pose health risks, such as residential homes, schools, or healthcare facilities.

Improves Air Quality

HEPA filters effectively capture mold spores from the air, significantly improving air quality and reducing the risk of respiratory issues. By filtering out these spores from the air, HEPA filtration significantly improves indoor air quality.

This is particularly beneficial for individuals with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions, as it reduces their exposure to potential allergens and irritants. Reducing the concentration of airborne mold spores helps create a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment.

Enhances Effectiveness

Both methods can ensure a more thorough removal of mold, addressing both visible growth and airborne spores. Containment ensures that mold spores are confined to the affected area, preventing their spread during remediation. Concurrently, HEPA filtration removes spores from the air, addressing airborne contaminants.

person in white hazmat suit looking at two test tubes

This combination results in a more effective remediation process, tackling both visible mold growth and unseen airborne spores. By thoroughly addressing all aspects of mold infestation, these methods help prevent recurrence, leading to more lasting solutions for mold problems.

Safety

These methods protect the health of both the occupants and the professionals performing the remediation. This reduces the risk of respiratory issues and other health problems associated with mold exposure, ensuring a safer environment for everyone involved during and after the mold removal process.

Bottom Line

While bleach has been traditionally considered a go-to solution for mold, OSHA and EPA caution against its use due to its hazardous properties and limited efficacy in mold removal.

Opting for safer and more professional mold remediation methods ensures a more comprehensive solution, protecting both your health and the structural integrity of your property. Contact Markham Services if you need help and we’ll be happy to assist you!