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How Long Does it Take For Bleach to Kill Mold? Should I Use it?

How Long Does it Take For Bleach to Kill Mold? Should I Use it?

Mold is all around us. It’s in the air, our clothes, our shoes, and even in our food.

There are over 100,000 different types of mold and although some of them can be very useful such as Penicillium mold, some species like black mold for example produce mycotoxins, which can cause numerous health issues such a skin and eye irritations, fatigue, asthma attacks, and in some severe cases, they can even lead to death.

Further, mold feeds on your home material and as it grows it keeps eating the surfaces it lives on, resulting in structural damage to your home.

For these reasons, it’s very important to clean your home and get rid of these annoying fungus.

But how to kill mold?

Well, if you are looking for a detailed answer on how to kill mold, and how long does it take to kill mold, then you are just in the right place.

In this article, we will go through some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to mold cleanup using bleach such as:

  • How to kill mold with bleach
  • How long does it take for bleach to kill mold
  • How to kill mold with vinegar
  • How to kill mold with essential oils
  • How to kill mold with lemons

So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

Does bleach kill mold?

The short answer is yes, bleach can be very effective at destroying living organisms such as mold, germs, and bacteria.

However, we don’t really recommend you to use bleach for mold clean-up.

This is because mold can grow deep inside walls and surfaces and although bleach is very good at killing mold, it can’t penetrate porous materials.

In other words, bleach will only kill mold at the surface and as a result, the invisible mold that lives deep inside your walls will keep growing, damaging your home infrastructure and risking your family’s health.

How to kill mold with bleach?

If you are sure that all the mold is at the surface and no mold is growing deep, then killing mold with bleach is really easy.

All you need to do is to mix one cup of bleach with one gallon of water in a spray bottle and start spraying infected areas.

Once you are done spraying all your moldy surfaces, use a damp piece of cloth or a scrub brush to clean the area from any mold residue.

Note: Dead mold can still cause an allergic reaction, so make sure to thoroughly clean the infected area of any dead mold residue.

How long does it take for bleach to kill mold?

As mentioned, bleach is very effective at killing mold – it kills on contact. On average, you will start seeing differences within just a few minutes.

However, bleach can take from 10 minutes to 60 minutes to completely get rid of all mold. Also, in some severe cases, you might need to repeat the process more than once to get rid of these stubborn spores.

Note: Don’t mix bleach with any other ingredients, especially ammonia, as it produces chloramine gas, which can cause internal organ damage and many serious health risks

Can vinegar kill mold?

As you know, vinegar has acidic properties, which allow it to clean, deodorize, and kill over 82% of mold species.

But what makes vinegar one of the best cleaning substances to get rid of mold is the fact that vinegar can penetrate deep into porous surfaces such as concrete, dry walls, and wood and kill all the hidden mold that bleach can’t reach.

Further, vinegar is much safer to use than bleach, and its offensive smell goes away very quickly.

How to kill mold using vinegar?

Unlike bleach, you don’t need to dilute vinegar with water.

Just pour some white vinegar or apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle and go crazy.

Leave it for an hour to allow the vinegar to penetrate the surface materials and kill the hidden mold in them.

Then, wipe the area using warm water and spray again with vinegar and leave it to dry without wiping.

Other alternatives for killing mold:

1. Baking soda

What’s great about baking soda is that it won’t only kill mold and prevent its growth, but also neutralize the musty smell and absorb the surface moisture, which is the main reason for mold growth in this area.

How to kill mold using baking soda?

Add one-quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle filled with water and shake the mixture well till all the baking soda dissolves.

Once the baking soda dissolves, spray the moldy area and use a scrub brush or a fiber piece of cloth to clean the mold.

Next, rinse the surface with warm water to get rid of any baking soda residue, then spray the area again and leave it to dry without wiping.

Pro Tip: In case you are against some tough mold, mix two parts of baking soda to one part white vinegar and one part water.

Shake the mixture well till it becomes a thick paste, then spread the paste onto the affected surface.

Once it dries out, scrub away the moldy area and wipe it down with water.

  1. 2. Essential oils

Some essential oils like tea tree oil, for example, have antibacterial and antifungal properties, which makes them one of the best and easiest ways to get rid of mold and prevent mold spores from coming back.

How to kill mold using essential oils?

Add one teaspoon of tea tree oil to a cup of water and shake it well till the mixture blends.

Next, spray the infected surface and leave it to dry for an hour, then use a scrub brush or a microfiber towel to wipe and clean any residue 

Note: Essential oils can irritate your skin, so make sure to wear protective gloves and goggles when dealing with them.

3. Lemons

From making salads, sauces, and delicious desserts to deodorizing, removing stains, and killing mold. Lemons can really do it all.

Thanks to the high concentration of acids in lemons, it can easily kill microbes, germs, and of course, mold.

How to kill mold using Lemons?

Just squeeze 4 lemons into a cup and pour the juice onto any affected area. Wait for 5 minutes, then wipe the moldy surface using a dry towel.

Feel free to reapply and scrub the surface using a scrub brush as many as it takes to get rid of the challenging mold stains.


  1. Why does mold come back after cleaning with bleach?

Well, to answer your question, first, you need to understand what causes mold to grow in the first place.

For mold to grow, it needs two things: A damp, dark place and an organic material to feed on such as building materials and paper products.

As we previously mentioned, mold spores are all around us in the air and using bleach or any other cleaning method mentioned in this post is a short-term solution that won’t prevent mold from coming back.

So in order to prevent mold from coming back, you need to eliminate the source of humidity responsible for mold growth such as broken seals, leaky pipes, or humidifiers.

Another reason why did mold the mold come back after cleaning with bleach is that mold can grow deep in your walls and although bleach is very good at killing mold, it only works on porous materials like sinks and tiles, as it can’t penetrate walls and other porous materials and kill the mold hiding in them.

So if you have a moldy wall, it’s better to use a porous cleaner such as vinegar or tea tree oil to prevent invisible mold from growing and causing more damage to your home.

Does bleach make your mold worse?

In some cases, yes, it can make your mold much worse. 

This is because bleach contains water and when you clean a porous material with bleach, chemicals like chlorine evaporate quickly leaving more moisture behind, which helps invisible mold to thrive.

Further, mold can communicate with each other, so when you apply bleach on a porous surface, mold will actually move deeper into the surface to avoid the chemicals, which is horrible, as it can be very hard to deal with even if you hired professionals.

Does bleach kill mold on plastic?

Yes, bleach is very effective at killing mold on any nonporous surfaces such as glass, plastic, and metals.

Does bleach kill black mold?

Absolutely, bleach is an extremely powerful mold remover that can kill most living organisms on contact including black mold.

Just make sure to only use bleach when you are cleaning a nonporous surface, as bleach can do more harm than good if applied to porous materials like drywall and wood.

What kills mold on porous surfaces?

To answer your question, here is a list of the best cleaning agents that can penetrate porous materials and kill all the hidden mold in them:

  • Vinegar 
  • Baking soda
  • Borax
  • Tea tree oil
  • Lemon

Does Apple Cider Vinegar kill mold?

Yes, both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are equally effective at killing mold.