The Best Chemicals for Killing Mold: A Review
Experience-based insight on how to get rid of mold
There are lots of different chemicals out there that are designed to kill mold, but which ones are the best? This article will clear up any confusion and provide recommendations for you, based on Moldman’s 15+ years and thousands of jobs worth of experience.
Professional mold companies charge a premium for their service, and one of the reasons for that is because they often use fancy chemicals that can only be bought at special supply stores. But the good news is that some of those fancy chemicals are now available over the counter, often at your local big-box hardware store or through Amazon.com.
Chemicals To Kill Mold
There are several types of “antimicrobials” that are designed to kill mold. All you have to do is spray them on, wait several minutes, and the mold colonies will die and can no longer reproduce and multiply.
A popular chemical for killing mold is Concrobium Mold Control, which can be bought at big-box hardware stores. It’s used by both pros and homeowners. We have used it and have found it to be effective.
Hydrogen peroxide-based mold killers are also very effective. These types of cleaning agents usually say “Mold Stain Remover – Does Not Contain Bleach” on the label. We like these because they cause the mold to “bubble and fizz” which is very cool to see ( this means that it’s working to kill the mold). What’s also nice about hydrogen peroxide-based chemicals is that their fumes are simply pure oxygen, which has an interesting and refreshing scent.
Both Concrobium Mold Control and hydrogen peroxide-bases agents remove mold with a high “kill rate.” That is, they are highly effective at killing active mold growth. Unfortunately, even though these cleaning agents kill mold, they leave dark, ugly mold stains behind. Even the hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning agents, that advertise that they remove stains, still leave plenty of stains behind. Seeing the mold stains left behind after you’ve treated and scrubbed your mold is not very satisfying and is; therefore, the reason why we recommend bleach-based cleaning agents.
Bleach-Based Cleaning Agents: Killing Mold & Effectively Removing Mold Stains
The most effective chemicals for removing mold stains contain bleach. Even though bleach does not kill mold as well as some other chemicals (the “kill rate” is not as good), it still kills the mold. These chemicals work very quickly: just spray them on, wait a few minutes, scrub with a scrub sponge, and watch the stains begin to lighten up. Repeat as needed. The chemical does most of the work!
The best of these bleach-based stain removers is called RMR-86. It works very quickly and is used by a lot of pros because saving time also saves money on labor costs. Don’t worry, homeowners can buy this stuff, too (just click on our link below). RMR-86 is very powerful stuff It contains a high concentration of bleach, so you’ve got to be very careful with the fumes. A little bit of RMR-86 goes a long way! Bleach fumes can quickly overwhelm someone if they are in a space that does not have good ventilation. So be sure to open windows to get fresh air circulating and to help create a draft. Beware that you’ll need everyone to vacate the immediate area for a few hours after treatment. Learn more about preparing your home for mold removal from our DIY mold removal guide.
A good, cheaper alternative to RMR-86 is Clorox Clean Up (we like the lemon-scent version). Clorox Clean Up is much weaker than RMR, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It still works well, just takes a bit longer, and you don’t have to worry about the fumes so much.
Natural, “Green” Mold Cleaning Agents
Over the last few years the mold industry has seen the emergence of natural, “green” cleaners. This is not surprising as the increased awareness of health and wellness has led to the popularity of natural alternatives. Most of the natural cleaning agents that are designed to remove mold contain thyme oil which is derived from the leaves of the thyme herb.
Our favorite of the natural cleaners is Benefect. The main ingredient is thyme sourced from farms in Europe. Benefect is very effective at killing mold and it leaves behind a pleasant thyme smell. Unfortunately, natural cleaners like Benefect do not remove those ugly mold stains after treatment.
Cleaning Mold Naturally with Vinegar, Baking Soda, or Soap and Water
Did you know that you can clean mold with natural cleaners you already have around the house? Products such as vinegar, baking soda, or soap and water can effectively clean mold. They are a safe and cheap alternative to store-bought mold treatments. But do we recommend them? The answer is: “not really.” We think these solutions require more work to mix, apply and scrub. Additionally, they do not remove mold stains. We like to keep things as quick and easy as possible.
Understanding the Label & Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
All chemicals that are approved by the US government and OSHA must, by law, be clearly labeled as such and will have an SDS sheet posted online. It’s worth taking a few minutes to look at the labels on the back and to read the directions. Only use the chemicals according to the directions. Using these chemicals improperly can result in health problems, which is exactly what you’re trying to prevent since you’re cleaning your mold problem in the first place!
So, what’s the best way to remove mold?
Based on 15+ years and thousands of jobs worth of experience, Moldman recommends RMR-86 as the clear winner. It’s effective for both removing mold stains and killing mold, is relatively affordable, and can be bought online.
Our runner up is Clorox Clean Up. It’s cheap, widely available, not as harsh as RMR-86, and has great “bang for the buck.”
Check out our DIY Mold Removal eBook to learn more about chemicals that can be used to treat mold at home.