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Can bleach remove mold and mildew?

Published on Feb 18, 2011 with 15 comments

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There is now additional scientific evidence that the allergenic potential of environmental mold and mildew can be effectively eliminated by the use of common household bleach.

Investigators have found that the allergen epitopes (the part of the molecule that is recognized by the immune system, specifically allergy antibodies) that are present in the common outdoor and indoor mold spores Alternaria and Cladosporium are denatured when treated with sodium hypochlorite, the active ingredient in bleach. They also showed that treatment with hypochlorite was effective at concentrations commonly used for household cleaning.

Sodium hypochlorite solution is frequently used as a bleaching agent or disinfectant. Household bleach used in laundering clothes is sold as a 3-6 % solution of sodium hypochlorite. A 1 to 5 dilution of household bleach with water (1 part bleach and 4 parts water) is effective against many bacteria and some viruses, and is frequently used in hospitals as the disinfectant of choice, due to its effectiveness and relative low cost.

The Online Allergist recommends aggressive environmental control to minimize the exposure to allergenic mold spores. If mold and mildew can be seen in the home, particularly in damp, moist areas such as bathrooms, it should be treated aggressively with diluted bleach. Such treatment should also be done periodically to prevent the reemergence of the mold and mildew.


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Bleach can kill common molds on nonporous surfaces, making it a convenient household tool to combat mold and mildew. Bathroom showers and tubs, counter tops and toilets are areas that allow chlorine bleach to sit for the time it takes to penetrate the mold cell walls.

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Bleach can kill common molds on nonporous surfaces, making it a convenient household tool to combat mold and mildew. Bathroom showers and tubs, counter tops and toilets are areas that allow chlorine bleach to sit for the time it takes to penetrate the mold cell walls.

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