If selecting a cleaner to remove mold and mildew has you confused, you're not alone. We know there are a lot of different options out there (we offer a few ourselves!), so here are some FAQ's and answers to help you make a confident and educated choice:
Question: What is the difference between mold and mildew?
Answer: Mold and mildew (both fungi) spread by means of tiny spores (seeds). Both have similar characteristics but are differentiated by their color and texture. Mold is usually black, green and/or red. Mildew tends to be gray or white. Mildew is flat and more common in bathrooms, fabrics and on paper. Mold is fuzzy and more common on organic substances like food or wood.
Question: Do I need to use a cleaner and killer?
Answer: Short answer, Yes. Stain removers lack the ability to effectively kill the living organism that causes mold and mildew. For years, people have relied on regular cleaners for mold and mold has continued to grow back. Before removing any stains, make sure you use an EPA registered mold killer to ensure the mold growth has stopped.
Here are some of our EPA registered mold killers…
Question: Is there a difference between cleaning and killing mold?
Answer: Yes. We are asked this question often. Killing mold requires an EPA registered mold killer that is designed to disrupt the life cycle of mold growth. Just as a weed killer is designed to kill weeds, once the plant has died, the dead biological growth must be removed to finish the job. In order to “remove” what is beneath the surface (mold stain) after the organism has died, you need a powerful stain remover. Stain Removers restore the surface back to its original beauty. Mold Killers stop the organism from growing.
Here are some of our most popular Stain Removers…
Question: Some cleaners have bleach and others don't. Which works best?
Answer: “Works Best” can be subjective. However, if you are looking for a strong stain remover that does not require scrubbing or multiple applications, a bleach-based cleaner is your best approach for removing mold stains. Nothing removes stains quite like a bleach-based product. For people who do not like the smell of bleach, have skin allergies, or have mold stains on surfaces like fabric, carpet, or metal, there are plenty of bleach-free alternatives. Popular alternative active ingredients include peroxide, surfactants, detergents and alcohols. These alternatives generally require more physical labor to clean the surface and/or remove the stain, but tend to be gentle on the surface you are cleaning.
Some examples of bleach stain removers…
Some examples of bleach-free stain removers…
Question: Can I just use bleach and water?
Answer: According to Douglas Hoffman the Executive Director at NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors), “Using bleach and water isn’t enough. Bleach is a powerful oxidizer and can, in many instances, sanitize surfaces of certain types of bacteria, but when you are faced with a wall covered in mold, bleach is not the product to use. Truth is, bleach is very effective at removing the color of mold, but it may leave behind the microflora (spore) that enables mold to continue growing.”
Question: What does EPA Registered mean?
Answer: EPA stands for Environmental Protection Agency. It is a government agency that regulates pesticides and/or any products that can have negative impacts on the environment. There are EPA agencies in every state. In order to sell products that kill mold & mildew, they need to be registered and the formulas need to be reviewed by the EPA in each state. If you see a product on the shelf claiming it kills mold & mildew, it should contain an EPA registration number on the label. For more information about EPA registered pesticides, visit www.epa.gov/pesticides
Question: How can I prevent mold/mildew from coming back? I'm so tired of cleaning my shower!
Answer: Mold and mildew requires food (an organic surface) and water to grow. If you remove the water, the mold will die. If you cannot remove the water, use a product that has antimicrobial properties. Antimicrobial cleaners and coatings prevent microbiological growth like bacteria, fungus and viruses. When a mold spore lands on a surface coated with an antimicrobial coating, it dies before it has a chance to grow. Look for product labels that say “Prevents, Inhibits, and/or Stops Future Mold Growth.” These types of products also must be EPA registered to make those types of claims / statements.
Question: What does Safer Choice mean?
Answer: Safer Choice is an EPA program designed to help consumers, businesses, and purchasers find products that perform and are safer for human health and the environment. There are more than 2,000 products currently qualified to carry the Safer Choice label. For more information about Safer Choice, visit www.epa.gov/saferchoice
Question The product label says “kills mold & mildew on non-porous surfaces”, does this mean it will not work on wood or porous materials like sheetrock, carpets, and clothing?
Answer: Once the product comes into contact with the mold or mildew growth, it will kill the organism. However, due to the nature of porous surfaces, it is very difficult to know if product came into direct contact with the root of the mold. It is recommended that you thoroughly wet the surface to help ensure all of the mold growth (above and below the surface) comes into contact with the product.
We hope this helps and if you think of any questions not answered here, please post them below. Happy cleaning!