What Kind of Vinegar Kills Mold
What Kind of Vinegar Kills Mold

What Kind of Vinegar Kills Mold?

Mold is a very common species that lives in many peoples homes and can pose a threat to our health and well-being. Even without serious immune responses, mold growth can have a negative impact on the health and safety of everyone who is subjected to continual exposure to the toxic particles. Mold spores are difficult to contain, but growth can be prevented and addressed by thoroughly monitoring and removing mold with vinegar.

What Is Vinegar?

There are some mold or mildew situations that you can kill by using household vinegar. As a cleaning agent, it is an affordable and effective solution against many types of mold. Here’s what you should know about vinegar and killing mold.

Vinegar is produced through fermentation, a process that ranges from a few months to a full year to complete. It originates from acetic acid combined with various diluted alcohols. Ingredients such as beech wood, grapes, rice, or beer are utilized to craft the diverse array of vinegar types available. While there are numerous vinegars like balsamic and rice wine vinegar that enhance our cooking, distilled white vinegar stands out as the optimal choice for mold cleaning purposes. The acid in the vinegar is said to kill at least 82% of known mold species, but it may not always be the best solution for mold removal.

species of mold

Where Does Mold Come From?

Black mold is most commonly found on materials with high amounts of cellulose, such as paper, drywall and fiberboard, which is why it often grows on walls. Spores settle onto the surface and get embedded in the minute openings. When exposed to a steady water supply, such as a leaking pipe or foundation leak, they begin to consume the sugars and starch found in the cellulose.

Once the black mold is actively growing, it begins to reproduce and colonize the surface. It takes S. chartarum (black mold) roughly eight to 12 days to establish itself on a surface. However, once it does, it usually outcompetes any other molds present as long as the water supply is maintained.

It’s much better to prevent mold growth in the first place than to deal with the complexities of a mold remediation effort later on. Eliminating moisture is a key strategy in preventing mold overgrowth. Given that black mold thrives in warm, damp environments, areas such as basements, attics, and crawl spaces are particularly vulnerable.

Many mold species look similar and several can be easily confused for S. chartarum. If there is mold in your home that you suspect might be black mold, have it tested to determine the species definitively. You can then decide on the best course of action for mold removal.

Understanding Mold Growth: Key Areas in Your Home to Monitor

There should be no shame in discovering mold growing in your home. The microscopic spores can be found both inside and outside the home, as there are over 100 different strains that could be present in any particular environment. This fungus grows more rapidly when the conditions around the spores are dark, damp, and filled with organic material. Mold spores are able to grow on surfaces of natural fibers, paper products, building material, dust, soil, or wood. Moisture is the other key necessity for mold to flourish.

Because of the conditions needed for mold growth, there are several areas around the house where you are more likely to find mold growing. Though it is present long before it is visible, a thriving mold colony will not be hard to find. Here are some places to start your search for the toxic fungus.

black mold in bathroom

1. Mold in Bathroom

The long, hot showers you love are equally enjoyable for mold spores. The increased humidity in the bathroom, combined with a lack of proper ventilation, attracts mold spores. The shower curtain is one area you can look for signs of mold, but you may not see the invisible spores that are lurking in your washcloth or loofah. Spores can cling to the showerhead, around the faucet, or in the tile grout.

The sink and toilet are other known culprits for mold growth. If these surfaces are not cleaned thoroughly each week and carefully dried, mold colonies can develop. The bottom of the toothbrush caddie, the soap dish, behind the toilet, and underneath the bathroom sink are also areas that should be given a thorough check. Moisture left on the cleaning supplies or towels that are thrown under the vanity set the stage for growth.

The floor, walls and ceilings can also harbor mold spores. Bathroom rugs get wet after you step out of the shower or by absorbing the moisture in the air. These need to be washed every few days and thoroughly dried to ensure mold doesn’t grow underneath the rug or down in the fibers. Water leaks or improper ventilation can also cause mold to grow on the ceiling or walls.

mold in kitchen vinegar removal

2. Mold in Kitchen

Mold in the kitchen extends beyond the fuzz that has taken over your storage containers filled with leftovers. From boiling or cooking items on the stove to running hot water when washing dishes, the humidity in the kitchen can remain high. When dirty dishes are allowed to pile up in the sink, the bard particles sitting in the drain or slowly making their way through the drain can collect bacteria and initiate mold growth. Underneath the sink is also a potential threat, especially when leaky faucets remain unrepaired.

The refrigerator is a threat to mold growth, beyond what you would normally find in old bard containers. The drip tray for the fridge and the water dispenser are good places for mold to take up residence. bard spillage around the stove or in the microwave is also ideal conducive to mold development. Cutting boards and the area behind the stove where bard particles fall can also sustain the growth of a colony.

kill mold with vinegar garage

3. Mold in Unoccupied Spaces (i.e. Basement, Garage, Attic)

It is unlikely that you spend a lot of time in the basement or attic, potentially prolonging how long mold growth is left unnoticed. These areas are often susceptible to growth because there is poor ventilation, a greater buildup of moisture, and less sunlight. Mold thrives in cold, dark places, and the basement and attic can deliver on this needed condition. It is also more likely that leaks occur in these areas, whether from an old or damaged roof, crumbling seals of basement windows, or from cracks in the home’s foundation.

The garage is also a spot to check for mold colonies. Rainwater dripping off of your car or water leaks coming in from the roof or a poorly sealed garage door increases the amount of moisture in the area. Many use their garage to store cleaning supplies or old household items. Any organic material becomes a host for spores, so it is important to check around storage areas that don’t get cleaned or used often as well as around the doors and windows of the garage.

What Type of Vinegar Kills Black Mold?

In the fight against mold growth, the presence of black spores can be the most alarming and dangerous. While all mold varieties have the potential to cause serious harm to your health, black mold is the most notorious for causing severe respiratory and immune system concerns. Vinegar, specifically distilled white vinegar, is effective at killing many types of mold, including black mold, on surfaces. It can kill over 80% of mold species, including black mold, due to its acidic nature.

household white distilled vinegar

However, it’s important to note that vinegar, while effective at killing surface mold and stopping its growth, may not be effective against mold embedded deep within porous surfaces. It also does not address the root causes of mold growth, such as excessive moisture. Depending on how bad the infestation is, black mold often requires the assistance of mold remediation specialists to ensure complete removal. Improper cleaning and removal can cause spores to escape from the area and find a new place to settle in and breed.

How Quickly Can Vinegar Kill Mold?

While vinegar is a great mold killer, it’s crucial to let it sit undiluted on the affected area for at least an hour before scrubbing or cleaning. Make sure not to dilute the vinegar as this reduces its acidic strength and its effectiveness against mold. In cases of extensive infestations, multiple applications may be necessary to fully cleanse the area.”

kill black mold with white vinegar

How Do You Apply Vinegar To Effectively Kill Mold?

Even though vinegar is a household solution, you should still wear protective gear such as leak-proof gloves and goggles when working to remove mold. It’s also essential to wear a mask or respirator to protect yourself from inhaling mold spores during the cleaning process. Opt for clothing that can either be deeply cleaned or disposed of afterward, since mold spores can cling to fabric and potentially spread to other areas in your home.

So long as you use vinegar that contains at least 20% acetic acid, pouring the solution into a spray bottle and applying it straight to the contaminated area is the best way to remove mold. Spray the infected area thoroughly or soak a clean cloth in the vinegar and wipe any area covered with mold. It takes time for the vinegar to break down the membranes of black mold and other species, so let the vinegar stay on the affected area for at least an hour. The mold will be more easily removed if you follow this step.

Once the vinegar has been soaking on the area for at least an hour, use a brush to scrub at the mold. Choose a brush that is appropriate to the material you are cleaning, making sure you will be able to reach into corners or around curves easily. A brush is the most effective method of breaking down the mold’s membrane. After scrubbing, you will want to wipe down and gently rinse the surface. Use warm water but in moderate amounts. Too much water can recreate a moisture problem that develops into mold.

If there are still signs of mold after you have scrubbed and rinsed the area, follow the process again until all evidence of contamination is gone. To help ensure that moisture left from rinsing the area is neutralized against a re-infestation, prepare a baking soda solution of one teaspoon baking soda and two cups of water. Spray it onto the cleaned surface and then wipe it dry. Baking soda absorbs moisture and prevents the growth of mold. The odor of the vinegar can be bothersome, but the use of fans and proper ventilation will dissipate the smell in just a few hours.

Will Vinegar Remove Mold Stains?

Vinegar is potent enough to eliminate most mold and mildew species. However, for removing dark stains, you might need to enhance its effectiveness by combining it with hydrogen peroxide, borax, or baking soda. Do not mix the elements directly. Use them separately and in stages to remove deep stains.

For mold infestations that have gotten out of hand and cannot safely be removed by your DIY solutions, bring in an expert mold remediation team. With the right safety protection, equipment, and understanding of how mold grows, you can be sure that removal services will expertly deal with your concerns. Your responsibility is to address the root cause of moisture for long-term prevention.

remove mold stain with vinegar

FAQs: What Kind of Vinegar Kills Mold?

1. Does rice vinegar kill mold?

Rice wine vinegar, like other types of vinegar, contains acetic acid, which can kill some types of mold and bacteria. However, its effectiveness against mold may not be as strong as distilled white vinegar, due to its higher acetic acid content. 

2. Does red wine vinegar kill mold?

Red wine vinegar, like other vinegars, contains acetic acid, which has antimicrobial properties capable of killing only some types of mold. But, its acetic acid concentration is lower than distilled white vinegar, which is more commonly recommended for removing and killing mold.

3. What percentage of vinegar is effective for killing mold?

To effectively kill mold, a vinegar solution should contain at least 5% acetic acid (20% is optimal), which can be found in most household white vinegar products. This concentration has been shown to kill most mold species on non-porous surfaces. For more severe mold infestations, you may need something stronger or an expert mold removal service.