Bleach-free formula. No toxic fumes. Quickly kills mold and mildew. Removes musty mold smell. Odorless. Excellent for a huge range of surfaces. Prevents future mold growth.
The best mold killer available is one of the priciest.
Formula kills 99.99% of mold and mildew. Wipes out mold and mildew stains. Optimized for ceramic, plastic, and many other surfaces. Affordable two-pack.
Must be sprayed in a well-ventilated area due to its strong fumes.
Kills mold and mildew and gets rid of soap scum and grime. Affordable. The eco-friendly formula is non-toxic and easy to apply. Has a pleasant Eucalyptus scent.
Not as powerful as other mold killers featured.
Very strong formula dissolves mold and gets rid of tough set-in stains. Also tackles hard water stains and other grimy build-up. Safe for a variety of surfaces including granite and ceramic.
May take a few applications to completely remove stubborn grout stains.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
What can you do when mold makes an unwelcome appearance in or around your home? You could break out the soap and water, get a scrub brush, and start applying a lot of elbow grease, or you could take care of it the easy way: with a mold killer.
Mold can cause a lot of health-related problems, so you need to address it as soon as it appears. There are lots of choices on the market. Some mold killers are best used on concrete but not wood; others are designed specifically for use on wood. Mold killer can take several forms, too. There are sprays, foams, gels, and concentrates that need to be diluted before you use them.
It’s crucial that you pay close attention to safety issues with mold killers due to the chemicals they contain. There’s a lot to cover, so keep reading. In this buying guide, we present the information you need.
Mold is classified as part of the fungi kingdom. It doesn’t use photosynthesis from the sun to get its energy. In fact, UV rays from the sun inhibit mold growth. Mold derives energy from the material it is growing on, “eating” it as it grows.
Periodically, mold releases spores into the air, like tiny floating seeds. Once those spores land on a suitable material under the right conditions, they will begin a new colony of mold. Let’s take a deeper look at what causes mold.
Mold needs a food source such as cotton, drywall, or wood. It only grows in the dark, so to thrive, it needs an area that is sheltered from the sun. It also needs warmth and moisture. Mold can’t grow in freezing temperatures or dry climates.
A shaded backyard near a swimming pool is an excellent place for mold to grow.
Mold spores that are released into the air can cause health problems such as allergies and lung infections. It can even cause hair loss. In extreme cases, mold can cause death.
Given the danger posed by mold, you need to get it out of your house. Because molds “eat” the surface they’re growing on, they need to be removed before the surface is weakened or destroyed.
Step one: The first step is to spray the affected area lightly with water. This helps prevent the escape of spores into the air.
Step two: Next, scrub the area lightly with a scrub brush. This will knock off the outer layer of mold and break up the inner layers, exposing them for the next step.
Step three: Spray the area with mold killer. Be careful to follow the directions on the bottle concerning ventilation, PPE (personal protective equipment), treatment surface, and other cautions. Many mold removal products will cause damage if you use them on the wrong surface. Luckily, there are mold killers for almost any surface.
Step four: Once the mold killer has finished its chemical work, thoroughly rinse the area to remove any remaining chemicals.
The EPA recommends the use of PPE when cleaning mold, regardless of any recommendations from the product manufacturer. At a minimum, the EPA says you should always wear a respirator, goggles, and rubber gloves. This is to protect you from the mold spores, not the cleaning product. However, you may need to wear PPE to protect yourself from the chemicals in the mold remover, too.
Mold treatment inside the house poses special problems due to the strength of many mold removers. The chemicals in mold killers are often hazardous, acidic, even toxic. They can burn your skin, and the fumes can irritate your eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs.
Before using a mold remover, vent the room to the outside by opening as many windows and doors as possible. Use two or three fans to pull air from the rest of the house and blow it through the affected room out of the house. Make sure all of this is done before you begin applying the mold killer.
Note: Gels might seem like they would be safer than sprays, and some are, but some of them have been reported to create the same toxic fumes as sprays. Read the label thoroughly before use.
Dodecyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, an ingredient in some mold removers, is a surfactant (surface active agent), meaning it sticks to things. If a mold killer contains it and you get some on you, it won’t come off easily. Whatever it is mixed with will stick to you, as well.
Bleach and ammonia are common chemicals in mold removers, and both produce strong toxic fumes. Other active ingredients often used are sodium percarbonate and N,N’ethylenebis (N-alkylamide).
Sodium hypochlorite salt (hypochlorous acid and sodium) is another ingredient found in many mold killers. The MSDS (material safety data sheet) on this substance is seven pages long and contains many cautions and warnings.
In short, mold killers are excellent products, but they are composed almost entirely of hazardous chemicals. You must be cautious when using them.
Due to the chemical ingredients in mold removers, many of them should not be used on colored fabrics, aluminum, steel, copper, and metal ductwork. The chemicals can permanently stain or discolor these surfaces and materials. If you have mold growing on your wooden deck, remember that there are mold killers that can be safely used on wood, but there are others that cannot be used on wood. Carefully read the label and/or description for each product before you buy it.
Some mold killers are sold as concentrates that must be diluted with water before use. Be sure you know which is which. If you use a concentrated mold remover without diluting it, you could cause permanent damage to the surface you’re treating.
Scrub brush: Amazer Scrub Brush
Although many mold removers claim to be “scrub-free,” it’s better to have a scrub brush just in case there is some stubborn mold that doesn’t want to come off. This brush from Amazer has a strong handle so your hands don’t come into contact with the chemicals or wall.
Spray bottle: BRIGHTFROM Plastic Spray Bottle
Some mold removers come in a concentrated form that requires you to dilute it with water before using it. You’ll need a spray bottle to house the diluted mixture. This 32-ounce spray bottle from BRIGHTFROM is a heavy-duty, chemical-resistant bottle and sprayer that can be used over and over.
Rubber gloves: AmazonBasics Professional Reusable Rubber Gloves
Don’t let bleach, ammonia, and other harsh chemicals get on your skin. These yellow rubber gloves from Amazon Basics are made of professional-strength rubber that is waterproof and tear-resistant.
Safety goggles: Honeywell Uvex Ultra-spec 2000 Safety Eyewear
Even when a full face mask isn’t required, many manufacturers recommend wearing safety goggles to keep fumes and accidental splashes out of your eyes. These goggles from Honeywell come in amber, clear, gray, and orange-tinted lenses.
Inexpensive: The low price range is under $10 per 32-ounce bottle. These mold removers are usually not as effective as pricier products. Other than gloves, PPE isn’t usually required.
Mid-range: The medium price range is between $10 and $25 per 32-ounce bottle. These are strong chemicals that work, but they definitely require the use of PPE.
Expensive: The high price range for mold removers is anything over $25 per 32-ounce bottle. These are usually professional-grade cleaners. Some may require the use of a full face mask.
We like Clorox Tilex Mold & Mildew Remover. Clorox is a well-known name in household cleaners. There are strong bleach fumes associated with it, so you need to use it in a well-ventilated area where you won't breath it in. On hard surfaces, spray the surface until wet and let it stand for five minutes. Rinse it thoroughly to get all the bleach off. On soft rubber, vinyl, or porous surfaces, rinse immediately after spraying. Do not use it on wood, painted surfaces, or clothes.
We also like Concrobium Mold Control Household Cleaner. It contains sodium percarbonate and N,N'ethylenebis (N-alkylamide) but no bleach or ammonia. It can be used inside and outside on a wide array of surfaces such as aluminum, composite wood, concrete, drywall, fiberglass, grout, laminates, masonry, metal, plastic, stone, and tile. It is a professional-grade, EPA-registered solution for removing mold. It also helps prevent any recurrence. You need to wear a face mask when using it.
Q. Can any mold remover be used on clothes?
A. No. Detergent and hot water are the best way to remove mold from clothes.
Q. Are gel mold removers better than sprays?
A. There is less chance of misapplication with a gel, but it is the active ingredients that determine the effectiveness, not the method of application.
Q. Can I reapply mold killer as prevention?
A. It depends on the product. Many products can be safely reapplied once a month after the initial cleaning. As always, though, you should read the directions for your particular product (and your particular surface) before taking action.