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Tearing out mold; natural mold killers?  RSS feed

 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1300
Location: Denver, CO
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We are tearing out lots of mold in a house in which two bathrooms were installed by incompetent amateurs. And the more we tear things down, the more mold we find.

What I would like to know is; is their any way to keep studs and beams covered with mold in place? There are lots of chemicals that supposedly kill mold, but most of them only kill the surface, not the hypha which have grown into the surface. In other words, they would only work really well on concrete, stone, etc.

Also, are there any natural products which can effectively deep kill mold? Or am I stuck using some sort of toxic chemical? (Or should I just tear everything out?)
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1659
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I'd look to kill the surface mold then make sure that it has a chance to dry out and then stay properly dry once your new bathroom is installed. Ensure adequate ventilation etc...

The spore will still be there ready to grow again (they exist everywhere anyway - short of sterilizing your house you can't get rid of them totally) but they won't be able to breed in dry wood.
 
John Elliott
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Bleach is by far the best mold killer. It works a lot better than hydrogen peroxide and it's a lot less expensive. Repeated application to wood so that it soaks in will kill hyphae that are burrowing into the structure of the wood.

And after bleach has done its work and decomposed, it doesn't leave a toxic residue. Bleach is sodium hypochlorite, NaClO, and its killing power comes from the powerful oxidizing effect of the ClO- ion. Once it is done oxidizing something and the oxygen is gone, all you are left with is NaCl -- regular salt.

The trick with using it is to protect yourself so that none of that powerful oxidizing effect takes place on your skin, eyes, nasal passages, etc. Most commercially sold bleach preparations are around 5%, which is more concentrated than necessary to kill fungi. If you dilute it up, 1 part in 10 parts of water, it will still be efficacious and much easier to work with. Most of the bad reputation bleach has as a chemical to be avoided is because people use it carelessly at concentrations larger than are necessary.

If you give your studs and beams a thorough bleach treatment and then, as Michael says, keep it properly dry, your problems should be solved.
 
Chris Badgett
pollinator
Posts: 289
Location: Whitefish, Montana
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My opinion would be to tear it out and start over. It sounds like nature has already won the battle to start decomposing that timber.

It may be painful financially in the short term, but more sustainable and health wise in the long run.
 
Sean Abercrombie
Posts: 13
Location: southern Michigan
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Try apple cider/white vinegar, the malic and acetic acid specialize in punching holes in fungal spores and tissue.
 
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