When it comes to killing mold in the home, both vinegar and bleach are practical and powerful solutions. However, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Vinegar is a safer option than bleach, and it is more effective at killing mold compared to bleach. Distilled white vinegar can kill more than 80 percent of mold species found in the home, eliminating them without any problem.
Bleach can kill mold on the surface, but it has difficulty removing spores because it doesn't seep into the material below the surface layer. Baking soda is commonly used along with vinegar to clean mold, as both can kill different types of mold. However, bleach and vinegar don't get rid of mold effectively enough to achieve long-term positive results. Vinegar is better at killing mold on drywall because bleach only kills mold on the surface, not underneath.
This means that the mold is likely to grow again when bleach is used on porous surfaces. Vinegar seeps into porous materials where mold grows, such as wood, making it much more effective than bleach. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not recommend the use of bleach to eliminate mold because of the health risks associated with this strong chemical. In addition, bleach can also be a food source for certain types of mold once it is introduced and can cause mold to spread and sink deeper into an area so that the bleach cannot reach it.
Household vinegar (the kind used in salads) is a mild acid, which is a useful tool when it comes to replacing the most dangerous household cleaning products, but it won't help get rid of mold. Unfortunately, not only do bleach and vinegar not effectively remove mold spores, but they can stick to the rag, which, when used elsewhere (or left to sit wet under the sink), can spread mold contamination to other rooms.
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