Does bleach kill mold?

Does bleach kill mold?
Does bleach kill mold?

Many, including agencies such as the EPA, warns against using bleach for mold removal purposes.. but does it work? We’ll uncover the answer to this, and the differences between chlorinated and oxygen bleach – and which works better.

Topics Covered

  • Porous vs. non-porous surface areas
  • Pros and cons
  • What is oxygen bleach?
  • How to kill mold with oxygen bleach
  • Where can I buy bleach?
  • Conclusion

Porous vs. non-porous surface areas

Bleach kills mold effectively on non-porous surface areas because the fungus and its roots all sit on the surface.

Porous surfaces are a different story altogether because the visible mold will be on the surface, but its roots are embedded into the pores.

At first, using bleach to kill mold on a porous surface will seem like a success. However, only the surface mold gets killed and removed, but its roots, which are not visible, are still there. The bleach itself is unable to penetrate the pores, but the water content does, thereby, watering it, and in most cases, the mold returns more prominent and stronger than before.

Pros and cons

Bleach is readily available, affordable, and does a pretty good job at removing mold from non-porous surfaces.

Then again, it’s incredibly corrosive and toxic to the environment, humans, and animals. Also, it doesn’t remove mold from porous surfaces and often makes the mold infestation worse than it initially was.

Another problem is that bleach loses its potency the longer it is stored – even if stored correctly and unopened. This is because, with time, the actual bleach content starts to evaporate through the plastic bottle.

As you can see, the cons far outweigh the pros. It’s better to use more natural cleaning solutions that do a far better job at killing mold. Some of these include grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil, baking soda, vinegar, and borax.

However, if you have to use bleach, then stay away from the common chlorinated type and use oxygen bleach instead.

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What is oxygen bleach?

Oxygen bleach is not exactly bleach in the traditional sense and is worlds apart from the toxic chlorinated variety. It’s actually sodium percarbonate, which is a compound of hydrogen peroxide and natural soda crystals in powder form.

When the powder comes into contact with water, it starts bubbling because of the rapid release of oxygen – hence the name, oxygen bleach.

These bubbles are excellent stain removers, a deodorizer, and a bacteria/fungi killer. The best part is that it’s perfectly safe to use as it’s non-toxic and environmentally friendly too.

How to kill mold with oxygen bleach

We discourage the usage of chlorinated bleach for mold removal due to its ineffectiveness on porous surface areas and its high levels of toxicity. We will show you how to use powdered oxygen bleach instead – which can be purchased from most stores in the laundry detergent section.

1: Put some of the oxygen bleach powder into a spray bottle, fill it with warm water, and shake thoroughly. The quantity of powder you add will depend on the brand of oxygen bleach you purchased. Check for instructions on the back of the packaging.

2: Spray the oxygen bleach solution onto the mold and wait 20 to 30 minutes.

3: Thoroughly wipe the mold off and dry the area. Done!

Where can I buy bleach?

Bleach can be purchased from various supermarkets and pharmacies/drug stores. Discount stores like Dollar Tree or Family Dollar may also carry bleach at a lower price. It’s also available from online retailers like Amazon and Walmart.

OxiClean white revive laundry whitener and stain remover

OxiClean is a safe and easy to use chlorine-free bleach that works great as a laundry detergent. It makes colors 40% whiter than regular toxic bleach while still being safe for darker colors. Simply add to your regular washing detergent or use it to pre-soak clothes before machine washing.

It also works great as a general cleaning solution as you can add some of the powder to a water-filled spray bottle for cleaning mold, mildew or stains.


While bleach can effectively kill mold on non-porous surfaces, its use comes with several limitations and drawbacks. For example, it may not fully eliminate mold on porous surfaces, leading to regrowth and worsening the problem. Additionally, bleach is highly corrosive and toxic to both humans and the environment, making it a less desirable option for mold removal.

Instead of regular chlorinated bleach, consider using oxygen bleach, such as sodium percarbonate, which is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Oxygen bleach can effectively kill mold and is safe for use on various surfaces. Products like OxiClean White Revive offer a chlorine-free alternative for laundry and general cleaning needs, providing a safer option without compromising cleaning effectiveness.

In conclusion, while bleach has its place in certain situations, it is essential to be mindful of its limitations and potential harm. For mold removal and safer cleaning solutions, consider opting for oxygen bleach or other natural alternatives to maintain a clean and healthy living environment.

Further reading

Using ammonia for mold removal

Using Scrubbing Bubbles for mold removal

Using 30 Second Cleaner for mold removal

Using borax for mold removal

Using baking soda for mold removal

Using sunlight for mold removal