Bleach is often used to kill mildew in homes. But it can have dangerous effects. Chlorine bleach produces toxic fumes and can etch into finished metals. There are other effective ways you can kill mildew without using bleach.
Step 1: Take Safety Precautions
While alternative ingredients are less caustic than bleach, they can give off odors and be unpleasant. Take proper safety precautions by ventilating the area. Turn on fans, an air conditioner, or open windows. Use rubber gloves when coming into contact with any chemicals so as to avoid skin irritations.
Step 2: Clear the Area
Clear any objects in the area where you are treating the mildew. Remove tables, chairs or rugs.
Step 3: Cleaning
Mix hot water and dish soap in a bucket. Using the scrub brush and a sponge, remove surface mildew.
Step 4: Rinse Afterward
Rinse the area with fresh hot water and a clean sponge. Try to remove as much soap as possible. Mildew can grow on any soap residue left behind. For floors, you may find a mop works better.
Step 5: Treating with Rubbing Alcohol
Using the sponge or a spray bottle, apply rubbing alcohol to the affected area. For floors with grout joints, be sure that the rubbing alcohol soaks into the grout. Allow the alcohol to sit for about 15 minutes. For deep mildew, you can soak paper towels in the rubbing alcohol and cover the affected area.
Step 6: Re-rinsing
Re-rinse with clean hot water and a clean sponge.
Step 7: Inspecting the Area
After the treated area has dried, inspect it for any remaining mildew. If mildew is still present, reapply the rubbing alcohol and re-rinse. Below are also alternative ways you can kill mildew without bleach.
Step 8: Other Non-bleach Alternatives
In addition to rubbing alcohol, there are other non-bleach alternatives that are safe, effective and typically cheaper. White vinegar is an effective ingredient at removing mildew. Apply it undiluted using a spray bottle or a sponge. Work the vinegar in using a scrub brush or sponge. Allow the area to dry and then rinse with hot water. Use rubber gloves when handling the vinegar to avoid its acidity.
Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to kill mildew by applying it straight to the affected area. Allow it to sit for about 15 minutes and then rinse.
Baking soda is a safe alternative as an abrasive to clean deep mildew growth. It can be used effectively with vinegar to make a paste that destroys mildew. Apply using a scrub brush, toothbrush or sponge. Allow the baking soda or baking soda and vinegar mix to sit on the affected area for 30 minutes. Rinse using a scrub brush, hot water and a clean sponge.
Step 9: Prevention
The best method for addressing mildew growth is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Reducing the relative humidity levels in your home through fans, air conditioning or a dehumidifier will greatly help. If you have questions concerning mildew, you can find answers to mildew cleaning questions here.