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Mold: Overview

Purdue Extension > Extension Disaster Education Network > Mold: Overview

Mold: Cleanup

Mold on wood

How do I stop mold from growing?

There are two ways to keep mold out of your home:

How do I clean up and remove mold from the home?

To clean up mold, the area needs to be dried as quickly as possible. Mold will begin to grow in 24-48 hours, depending on the temperatures. Porous materials should be thrown away as they are difficult to clean. If the moldy area is less than a 3 foot by 3 foot area, in most cases the homeowner can do the job themselves. If there is greater damage, you may want to consult with a professional.

Materials such as glass, plastic, and metal can be cleaned and disinfected. Remove molds using a non-ammonia soap or detergent. Never mix bleach and ammonia. Surfaces where the entire mold cannot be completely removed should be treated with enough chlorine bleach to keep the surface wet for at least 15 minutes. Then rinse, and dry as quickly as possible. Disinfect by applying a solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water. Keep the bleach solution on the surface for 15 minutes to kill the mold. Allow the solution to dry naturally.

What are Biocides?

Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup.

In most cases it is no possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of molds pores will remain – these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes can be produced.

Resources

Extension Publications

Preserving Family Treasures (PDF)
(Source: Kansas State University, April 1996)

How to Clean and Disinfect Tiles (PDF)
(Source: Kansas State University, August 1993)

Reducing Bacteria in Clothing and Textiles (PDF)
(Source: Kansas State University, July 1993)

How do I remove mildew?

Mildew grows when it is warm, moist and dark. Mildew grows on clothing, other textiles in the home, leather, books, paper, upholstery, mattresses, rugs and wood. Treatment varies depending on the type of item or surface you need to clean.

The following detail how to clean specific surfaces and items: