Dry the Object(s)
- Regardless of the type of disinfectant you wish to use, you must always begin your mold-cleaning process by ridding the mold spores of their moisture. This process renders them dormant, unable to breed and therefore manageable. If you can move the affected object(s), place them outdoors in the sun. Otherwise, place an electric space heater near the mold or a portable dehumidifier. Mold clings to porous surfaces where it can germinate beneath the surface, and so simply wiping an object with a cloth or towel will not suffice.
- Acetic acid is a natural disinfectant. It can reduce mold by 90 percent and kill 99 percent of the associated bacteria, according to Gina Marino, Good Housekeeping's microbiologist. Pour a few ounces of white vinegar into an empty spray bottle, and apply it to moldy areas to kill and disinfect. After allowing about 15 minutes for disinfection, rinse the area with water and dry the surface a second time.
- Bleach is another powerful disinfectant. Unlike vinegar, though, chlorine bleach requires dilution. Pour 1 part chlorine bleach and 4 parts water into an empty spray bottle; spray the mold, and let it disinfect for about 5 to 15 minutes. Rinse and dry. As an alternative, you can use a safer natural bleaching agent, like full strength hydrogen peroxide (3 percent concentration) or per-oxygen bleach powder, mixed with water according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Boric acid is safe and natural and has no unpleasant aromas. You can find it sold in its crystallized form. To activate it, just add it to hot (not boiling) water. Use a ratio of 1 part boric acid and 4 parts water. Whereas some solutions disinfect quickly, boric acid can require several hours. Spray it onto your moldy surface, and wait 4 to 5 hours before rinsing and drying.
- Disinfecting mold may neutralize the spores, but it does not permanently solve the problem. If you leave the dried, dormant mold spores alone, they can germinate again and create new colonies as soon as they bond with a source of moisture. For this reason, you must fully remove the mold after disinfecting it. A handheld vacuum cleaner allows you to collect the spores and remove them outdoors. You may also use a full-size vacuum with hose extensions. A HEPA vacuum works even better due to its impurity filtration system. After vacuuming the area, immediately throw away the bag, or scrub your filter with household disinfectant outdoors.