Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Are Bleach, Vinegar or Hydrogen Peroxide Effective for Removing Mold in Buildings?

Are Bleach, Vinegar or Hydrogen Peroxide Effective for Removing Mold?

By Edward R Close, PhD, and Jacquelyn A Close
Copyright © September 6, 2017

Bleach is about 97% water and only 3% chlorine. When you use bleach, it will kill mold and bleach the color out of any mold that you might have seen, so the mold then appears to be cleaned up. However, the chlorine evaporates before the water and that leaves water in the areas where you have had mold. 

Water feeds mold. That is why when you use bleach, you will normally see mold growing in the same areas in just a few days. In fact, mold will begin re-establishing itself in areas treated with bleach within 24 hours. This is one of the main reasons Bleach is NOT recommended for removing mold from buildings.

Using bleach, you can only address mold on surfaces, and primarily visible mold. Breathing mold spores is the first pathway of admission to the body. To address mold spores in the air, you must use something that disperses into the air. Bleach has no effect on mold spores in the air. Therefore, Bleach is NOT effective for removing mold from buildings.

What about vinegar and hydrogen peroxide? 

Vinegar is about 5% acetic acid and 95% water. The same is true for most all forms of vinegar. And, like bleach, the acid will evaporate prior to the water. White Vinegar is widely used in household cleaning because it is acidic, and can dissolve mineral deposits from glass, coffee makers, and other smooth surfaces. For most uses, dilution with additional water is recommended for safety and to avoid damaging the surfaces being cleaned. Vinegar is NOT effective for removing mold from buildings for many of the same reasons bleach is not effective.

Hydrogen Peroxide (H2 O2) is generally sold in dilutions of 3% H2 O2 to 97% water. Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizing agent used in water as a bleach, and as a topical anti-infective. It is relatively unstable. Although nonflammable, it is a powerful oxidizing agent that can cause spontaneous combustion when it comes in contact with organic materials. And like bleach, it is largely water. So again, you have the same problems with using Hydrogen Peroxide as you do in using bleach and vinegar.

How do these three options, which are promoted by many as effective agents for remediating mold, stack up?
  1. All three of these options can only be applied to mold on surfaces. 
  2. All three will have some impact on mold found on surfaces, killing some of it, but not all of it. 
  3. Mold will re-establish itself within 24 hours following application of any of these three water-based solutions. 
  4. None of these three options (bleach, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide) will address mold spores in the air. And remember, it is the mold spores in the air that contribute to more than 90% of illnesses associated with mold exposure. 

What do you recommend?

We strongly recommend diffusing the EOB2 oil blend tested and using The Close Protocol for Remediating Mold in Buildings. This approach has proven over and over again in tests conducted since 2005, and verified by EPA approved independent laboratories, to be the best option for eliminating mold both in the air and on surfaces. And testing has also shown that diffusing the recommended essential oils provides a residual effect that can last at least 3-6 months. This residual effect is not available with any other known option available today.  

Diffusing EOB2 allows you to address mold on surfaces and in the air at the same time. For information on how to use essential oils for diffusing, you are invited to contact us.

If you have visible mold, then you may also need to use the recommended Household Cleaner.

We have more than 20 years of mold remediation experience, over 12 years experience using The Close Protocol to Remediate Mold in Buildings, and many hundreds of personally-supervised mold remediation projects where The Close Protocol was employed at hospitals, schools, State of Missouri agencies, and in businesses and homes across the country. We have found that EOB2 and the EOB2 essential-oil based cleaner have proven far more cost effective, as well as more complete in addressing and remediating mold in buildings.

Basic information about the Close Protocol for Mold Remediation in Buildings is presented in Chapter 7 of our book, “Nature’s Mold Rx, The Non-Toxic Solution to Toxic Mold.” The book also discusses twenty (20) case studies in detail, and most of the questions that may arise when the protocol is applied are answered in the book.

If you have questions about how to use oils and diffusers, please contact us.

May you be richly and abundantly blessed, and may you always enjoy Vibrant Health!
Very Sincerely,

Dr. Ed And Jacqui Close
Owners, EJC Advantage LLC
Copyright  © 2017

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NOTE:  The information above is copyright protected and all rights are reserved.
© EJC Advantage LLC and Edward R Close and Jacquelyn A Close, 2018 and continuing.  This information and parts thereof may not be reproduced, copied, pasted, or posted elsewhere through any means whatsoever without written permission from the authors. We invite you to provide a link to this webpage if you wish to share this information with others.


  1. I have read your book and we are implementing your protocol in remediating the mold in our house. The mold we have found is inside the walls on the back of the drywall. I am wondering if you have done testing to know how effective the protocol is in a situation like this. Thank you

  2. Hi Valerie - Thank you for your question. Diffusing oils will remove spores from the air and on surfaces. However, if you have active growth of mold on the back of drywall, you will need to do more. How, exactly, do you know you have mold on the back of the drywall? Have you had an air sample taken in the wall? Is there obvious water damage? Please explain.

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    1. Hi Michelle - The answer to your question #1 is the only way to know if it is mold is to have it tested. It sounds like it's probably mold, but there's no way to know that without testing.

      The answer to Question #2 is on our 2017 Diffuser Recommendations Page. (You can access that page from the menu on the right of this page, or if you are on a phone, with the scrolling or pull-down menu.)

      The answer to Question #3 is: You will be adding water if you clean the carpets. If you use the Thieves Household Cleaner, it may help, but it depends on the problem. If you have mold under the carpet or in the carpet, it will help short term, but it may make the problem worse long-term. Do not wash things down with warm soapy water. Use the Thieves Household Cleaner undiluted if you have visible mold, or diluted 1 part cleaner to 3 parts water, if you don't have any visible mold on the item. Airborne mold spores and surface mold spores will be addressed by diffusing Thieves oil as directed on our 2017 Diffuser Recommendations Page.

      Question #4 was mostly answered above. Yes, water does add a source for new mold, but if you have no visible mold growth, you are just dealing with spores. Diffusing takes care of most things, except porous items. Spraying with undiluted Thieves Household Cleaner is preferred, but if there is no visible mold, it isn't required.

  5. One more question...the mold remediator said don't spray the mold as that spreads mold spores. Instead he said to wipe them and toss rag in sealed baggie when it's full/dirty. What are your thoughts on that? I'm going to diffuse Thieves first, so will that help and perhaps we can spray and wipe, or do you recommend bucket of Thieves cleaner straight up and soaking our rag and start wiping vs. spray and wipe.

    Thank you again.

    1. Please be certain you are wearing protection anytime you are cleaning items that may have been affected by mold or have mold growing on them. If you don't have visible mold, spraying an item is not going to create a problem. That is why we say Diffuse, Clean, and Diffuse again. The diffusing kills the spores. We suggest you diffuse for a minimum of 24 hours in each room. Then, to clean the items you mentioned in your previous questions, stick a sprayer in the top of a small Thieves Household Cleaner bottle and spray the cleaner on undiluted on surfaces that have visible mold. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then wipe dry with a paper towel and dispose to a ziploc or zip-tied garbage bag. I would not use a rag. If you don't diffuse, spraying would create a problem, but by diffusing first, you eliminate the problem with getting spores airborne.

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  7. I do have a couple more questions. I'm going to diffuse the Thieves this weekend for 48 hours using 2 different diffusers--one up and one down. And then I'll move them into individual rooms separately and after finishing the bigger areas first.

    We'll all leave the house for the 48 hours (including our pets). I'll come back in to switch out the thieves bottles.

    Q1: How many hours should I expect to have to return to replace the bottles? I don't want it to run out and stop before I return to replace them.

    Q2: Should I cover the vents for heat and air exchange or let the oil go through the venting system?

    Q3: How long should we wait to come back in the house for us and our pets and should we air it out a bit first by opening windows? How long do you think windows should be open for to make it safe for us and our pets after diffusing for 48 hours (approximately--I know you can't know for certain)?

    Q4: When I get to the individual rooms, we'll be back to living in the house. I plan on closing the door to the room and covering the vents with plastic so as not to send it through the ducts while we're in the house. Do you think we'll be safe in the house with it diffusing in individual rooms with the door closed and ducts covered with plastic? The individual rooms I will run for 24 hours as they are smaller and not likely to have as much mold in them anyway.

    Thank you again for your help! You are a blessing!

    1. Q1 - The diffuser turns off after 10 hours, so you have to go in and replace the bottle and turn it back on then.

      Q2 - Let it go through the vent system.

      Q3 - You should be able to go back in your home within 24 hours without any problem. The smell of the Thieves oil will probably still be quite strong. I wouldn't air out or open windows, unless absolutely necessary. Certain molds are always in the outside air and will be transported back into your home, if you open windows or doors. We've never had anyone who had a problem when returning to their home after 24 hours, but each individual is different. You have to be responsible and monitor your family and pets, and give them full-fat yoghurt or full-fat milk, coconut oil, or something like that, if they show any signs of being negatively affected by the oils. Those lipid fats will reduce the action of the oils quickly.

      Q4 - Most people tell us they love the oils, and want to be right by their diffuser the whole time it is running. The vast majority of people have no problems diffusing in a room that is closed off from the rest of the house. However, we never know how a given individual will respond to the oils, so you have to be responsible and monitor the individuals and pets in your home when you diffuse oils.

      Very Best Wishes and Blessings to you and your family. Jacqui Close

  8. You said to be sure to have protection when cleaning mold. If it isn't visible mold, do we need protection if we already diffused for 24-48 hours? I plan on wearing gloves, but do you also recommend masks and goggles or even clothing covering if it's not visible?
    Thanks again.

  9. We would always recommend wearing an N-90 mask and gloves when doing any type of cleaning associated with mold, even if there is no visible mold.

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  14. Hello Jacqui, what is the best way to test for mold in a house that has no visible mold problem?

    1. Hi Murphy - Thanks so much for your questions. We strongly recommend having air samples taken indoors and outdoors. This works best when using The Close Protocol for Mold in Buildings. Gravity air samples, test kits you buy at hardware stores, and dust samples are a waste of your money. You can find articles on this website by doing a Search on the internet for the following: "Edward R Close, Natures Mold Rx, Find a Professional to do mold sampling" and you can find an articles about that published on this website. You will also find all the details about what type of sampling and why in our Book, Natures' Mold Rx, available on our PUBLICATIONS page on this site.

  15. Hello Jacqui,

    I so appreciate your help and sharing of your knowledge! Thank you!

    Question: When I run the diffuser it uses about 10 ml in the first 10 hours and about the same in the second 10 hours. That's 20 hours and 20 ml of Thieves oil. Then I run it for an additional 4 plus hours to get the full 24 hours. It usually doesn't diffuse as much because it seems it needs to be cleaned by that time, so it slows down in the rate it diffuses the oil.

    How many bottles should be used in a 24 hour period? Sometimes it diffuses about 1 ml per hour and other times it slows way down. It's still coming out but diffusing at a much slower rate. I want to make sure I'm using the correct amount of oil over the 24 hour period.

    In the 24 hour period, do you generally use 1 bottle or 2 bottles or somewhere in between? I'm guessing at least 1 full bottle should be used within the 24 hour period. After that, does it matter how fast it is coming out?

    Thank you again for your help!

  16. Hi Michelle -
    We recommend running 2 - 15 ml bottles of Thieves oil in a 24 hour period. Be certain your diffuser settings are correct. See the instructions on our 2017 Diffuser Recommendations Page on this website. Are you using an Aroma Lux purchased from Young Living since July 1, 2017?

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