Can I use Chlorine Dioxide for Mold Abatement?
Chlorine dioxide mold abatement is a method of mold removal that many people have used in their homes and office buildings. Chlorine dioxide is a registered chemical for use in sanitizing manufacturing and laboratory equipment. It helps in mold abatement and removal by killing all the bacteria in an area that could lead to the growth of mold. Chlorine dioxide mold abatement does work and the levels at which it is used do not pose any health risk to people.
Chlorine dioxide can be applied at low levels and concentrations that are quite effective for mold removal. It is quicker and better for killing mold than many other mold removal methods. Some people are reluctant to use chlorine dioxide mold removal because they are afraid that more mold spores will be released into the air because of it. However, any mold spores that are dispersed into the air are quickly taken care of by the chlorine dioxide. Mold abatement measures such as this make sure that the air in your home or office is safe for you.
When you know that you have mold in your home, preliminary cleaning before you use a fungicide, such as chlorine dioxide will take care of many of the toxic mold spores. If you do want to escape the possibility that you might come in contact with the mold spores released due to chlorine dioxide, mold abatement specialists recommend that you stay away from the room until the cleaning and mold removal is completed. Since chlorine dioxide is not usually available for retail sales, you will probably have to contract the services of a chlorine dioxide mold removal company.
Chlorine dioxide comes in a gas, a liquid and a solid. The chlorine dioxide mold abatement companies usually add a strong acid to a bucket of the liquid fungicide. The interaction of the chemicals is quite noisy and is one form that only trained individuals can use. You can buy a controlled release form of the chlorine dioxide. Mold removal companies will often sell the fungicide in this form to homeowners and will give you the directions for using it to remove any mold from your home.
One of the problems with the dry release form of chlorine dioxide is that it can take weeks or months for it to work. The dry powder does not contain any chlorine dioxide. Mold removal companies are reluctant to let untrained individuals handle an explosive product, so this would not be the one you would use if you have a major problem with mold. The dry form of chlorine dioxide mold abatement product contains a precursor that slowly kills all the mold spores in the air.
Chlorine dioxide mold abatement in the liquid form is the most effective product for killing mold, bacteria, viruses and algae. This is why many people who have a serious mold problem that is affecting their health call in chlorine dioxide mold removal companies to get the just done quickly and efficiently. Since it is effective for use in sanitizing hospital equipment, you should feel reasonable sure that chlorine dioxide mold abatement will solve the problems in your home.
And for a Second Opinion on the subject . . .
For generations, people have believed that bleach kills mold. The truth is “Bleach only Bleaches Mold’s Color but Antimicrobials Kill Mold”. Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is an old and misunderstood chemistry that has been used for many years to clean up mold in all kinds of applications. Many people boldly and confidently tell us that they have been using bleach products to remove molds for 30 years and are convinced that it is the best product to use. What is worse is that most will not listen to an argument against their tried and true mold killing product even if you are the professional with research backing up your statements. Most often coming from the maintenance supervisor at some multifamily housing community stating boldly, “it’s OK, I sprayed it with bleach and look it’s gone.” Which brings me us to our next point, why does bleach not kill mold if it is gone after being used? Bleach is effective against removing only mold stains because it is a strong oxidizer which removes the color of mold. Removing the color does not justify the opinion that bleach kills mold. Remember we use bleach in our laundry to bleach our clothes? It’s to bleach them white again and remove the stains…stain removal! When bleach is sprayed on nonporous surfaces the mold disappears for a short time only to reappear later. In an experiment done on roof shingles, the roof was cleaned using a mixture of diluted bleach. At first, it looked very clean only to reappear weeks later more prevalent than before. This is also the reason why those annoying mold spots keep reappearing in your shower or tub no matter how many times it is cleaned off.
What Does Bleach Kill?
The Clorox Company who manufacturers Ultra Clorox® has actually hired a third-party firm to conduct studies to determine its performance. The results of these lab reports conducted by Spore Tech Mold Investigators reveal the following “…liquid bleach mixed at 3/4 cup of Clorox per gallon of water will be effective against hard, non-porous surfaces against… Aspergillus niger and Trichophyton mentagrophytes (commonly known as Athlete’s Foot Fungus)”. These were the only two molds listed in the study and we have no other data related to its effectiveness of killing toxic molds like Stachibothris (commonly known as black mold). In addition, the study was conducted on a hard nonporous surface the known limitations of bleach. So to summarize, we have two molds out of hundreds that can be eliminated from bleach if the cleaning is done on a nonporous surface. No wonder professional mold contractors do not use or approve of the use of bleach in their remediation process as they mostly work with semi-porous surfaces. This makes common sense because mold needs porous materials to grow. Therefore bleach is arguably only useful in cleaning hard surfaces and is not sufficient for mold remediation. The properties of chlorine bleach inhibit it from penetrating into porous materials to effect and or kill the deeply embedded roots of the mold. Killing the roots of mold, the actual bacteria is really the goal of any quality mold remediation contractor. OSHA is actually the first federal agency to begin changing their recommended use of bleach for mold removal. It is only a matter of time for other federal, state and local public safety agencies also begin distancing themselves from chlorine bleach.
Every time I enter an environment where bleach has been used and I take that first breath of sodium hypochlorite I want to lose my lunch. This stuff is nasty! I can remember the pain in my burning lungs just writing about it. Every bottle of chlorine bleach has a hazard warning label for a reason, it is corrosive and toxic. As a restoration professional, I am continually exposed to all kinds of environments, chemicals & toxins. If I had to breathe in mold spores or bleach fumes I would rather breathe mold spores any day.
What Should be Used to Clean Mold?
So know you know that the common statement “bleach kills mold” is untrue, what do you use? For the common homeowner who doesn’t have experience with mold, we say to keep it simple. If you are simply cleaning molds off a hard nonporous surface simply use a green disinfectant or simply dish soap mixed into a spray bottle. Dish soap will not kill the mold but it will loosen it so it can be wiped off the hard surface and absorbed onto the paper towel for disposal. You would actually do better to spray the towel first then wipe the surface collecting the mold on the towel. As a professional, we prefer to use a nontoxic enzyme mold cleaners or essential oil based disinfectants which do penetrate into porous materials for effective killing of the underlying bio-slime (mold roots) and thereby extracting it permanently. The EPA recommends for any molded area over 30 square feet contacting a mold specialist to prevent health ramifications from improper mold removal. Bleach is a very toxic chemical and can cause burning of the lungs and breathing passages if inhaled and even lead to severe poisoning.
One final article on the subject . . .
BLEACH DOES NOT KILL MOLD ON POROUS SURFACE Mold roots can create an ongoing growth deep within porous surfaces like: Wood and Drywall.
The bleach cannot penetrate to destroy the growth at it roots. Bleach remains on the surface while the water component reaches further and can actually feed the mold growth.
BLEACH CONTAINS 90% WATER Mold loves water. When bleach is applied the chlorine quickly evaporates and leaves behind a lot of water!
The surface may looked bleached and all clean again but the remaining mold growth is more than likely going to root further and often returns worse than before.
BLEACH WILL ONLY REMOVE THE STAIN FROM MOLD GROWTH. Many homeowners won’t notice that it’s the bleach causing a bigger problem.
Bleach can terminate individual mold growth (spores) in particular places only some of the time on Non-porous surfaces: Bathtubs/Shower and tile.
JASON’S PREFERRED ALTERNATIVES TO USING BLEACH If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself.
Borax: Use a ratio of 1 cup of borax per gallon of water
-Vacuum up any loose mold with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner to assist with the number
of spores being flourished into the air during the cleaning process
– Use a scrubbing brush with the borax solution to scrub the mold off the surface.
– Don’t rinse off the borax, the solution will prevent more mold begging to grow.
– Leave the surface to dry completely.
Vinegar: Pour white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle be sure not to water this down!
-Spray the vinegar onto the moldy surface and let it sit for an hour,
-Wipe the area with water and allow the area to dry.
-Repeat this every few days to ensure the surface will continue to stay mold free