Does Vinegar Kill Black Mold? [How to Use It]

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Black mold on the floor and other surfaces in your home is not only unsightly but also dangerous to your health. It is known to cause respiratory irritation and other forms of poisoning. But, did you know you can use household vinegar to get rid of black mold?

Vinegar is slightly acidic and can kill many types of mold species including black mold. To kill black mold using vinegar, spray concentrated white vinegar on the surface with black mold and allow it to sit for 2-3 hours. Wipe the surface with a piece of cloth soaked in clean water to get rid of the mold residue.

You may be a cleaning perfectionist, but black mold can still grow in places you didn’t anticipate. As long as there’s moisture, black mold will still build up in various places in your house.

Below is a step-by-step process of how you can eliminate black mold using vinegar.

How to Use Vinegar to Kill Mold and Mildew

White vinegar stored on your kitchen shelves will do the trick because it contains 20% acetic acid, making it a potent mold killer. This mild acid can actually remove about 82% of mold species.

First address the causes of mold and mildew on your floor, before embarking on black mold removal.

Here are simple steps to remove black mold on your flooring with the use of white vinegar, once and for all.

Does Vinegar Kill Black Mold?

1. Wear leak-proof gloves

White vinegar is a natural organic component but extreme exposure to it can cause damage to your skin. Prevent the irritation by wearing non-porous gloves.

2. Fill up bottle prayer with pure white vinegar

Get a bottle of old white vinegar in your kitchen, Do not dilute it with water as this would not give the desired results. If you have a large area to clean, then you better get more bottles of white vinegar.

3. Spray white vinegar on the black mold

Spray the vinegar directly onto the mold infected area making sure to cover the whole spot with vinegar. In case you don’t have a sprayer, use a piece of cloth soaked in white vinegar and wipe the area with the black mold.

Let the vinegar rest on the affected area for a while. It will take some time for vinegar to break through the membrane of the black mold and enable easy removal, therefore give it approximately an hour before going to the next step.

Tip: If you are killing black mold on the bathroom tiles, do not use vinegar on unsealed tiles since it will cause abrasion on the surface.

3. Scrub away the mold

After one hour, use a brush and warm water to scrub away the black mold. Cleaning with a brush will break the mold’s membrane easily. Use an appropriate size and type of brush for the job. Once you can easily hold and can reach hidden corners and curves effortlessly.

Tip: Prepare a baking soda solution to use after the vinegar. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.

4. Clean the Surface

Once you have managed to break through the mold and remove it, rinse the surface using clean warm water and allow it to dry. If there are still stubborn mold stains lingering, repeat the process until it is completely gone.

Although vinegar can leave a certain smell behind, this odor usually clears within a few hours of ventilation. Remember not to dilute the white vinegar to keep its potency high.

The 20% acetic acid in vinegar is great for eliminating black mold, so there’s no need to dilute it and make a weakened solution before spraying it on the black moldy surface.

Here a video guide on how to get rid of black mold

How to get rid of mold + mildew Stains

Since vinegar kills only 82% of the mold species, then the remaining 18% of persistent strains of mold. You can mix white vinegar with elements like borax, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda or salt. Try this if white vinegar alone did not cut through the mold successfully even after repeating the cleaning process several times.

However, bear in mind that each component should be separately used when mixing with vinegar, not all of them at a go. Never mix vinegar with bleach because it produces a toxic (Chlorine) gas. If one does not work, don’t give up yet; try the others following the above steps until you successfully manage to eradicate the black mold from your flooring.

It’s a good practice to spray vinegar or mop the floor regularly on the clean mold free surface and leave it there to prevent future breakouts. Ventilate your home and fix any leaks to prevent mold from forming again. But if the mold does not break or the area infected is extensive, seek professional black mold cleaner help

Is it safe to stay in a house with black mold?

Stastistics show that 10%-50% of residential and commercial buildings have wet conditions, which means that an estimate of 50% of all buildings is ripe for mold breeding.

Staying in a mold-infested home is not a wise idea. Mold can cause severe damage to your health and property. Even most remediation professionals recommend you seek alternative temporary housing especially if multiple rooms and hallways have been infected.

The worst place for mold to breed in is in the bedrooms because of the time spent in them sleeping, you are at a high risk of exposing yourself to mold, which is dangerous.

If you are living with young kids, seniors, or those with severe health conditions, then it should be more reason to leave the house. It is up to you to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Even if you decide to hire experts for the remediation process, staying in that house while work is in progress is not a good idea. There will be noise and disruptions, especially if the process is complex due to a complicated infestation.

How do you know if it’s Black Mold?

First of all, you need to distinguish between mold and mildew. Mold grows above the surface and in circles. Mildew, on the other hand, doesn’t rise above the ground. It grows in a pattern, like an oil spill or dark stain.

Even though they both change colors as they grow, they often exhibit a greenish-black color. Mildew is also easier to remove and is less harmful. Most types of mold can cause health complications, but black mold is a special type that may even release toxic elements. 

Black mould, also known as Stachybotrys, has a distinct smell of a stale, earthy scent of dirt and rotten leaves. It likes more humid areas than the rest and feeds on drywall, cotton, and cardboards, to name a few. Wet or flooded conditions are also ideal for black mould growth.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between Mold And Black Mold?

As mentioned in the previous section, black mold is more harmful than other common molds. It also has a distinct smell of a stale, earthy scent of dirt and rotten leaves. Besides the smell, the only other way to distinguish it from the rest is that it’s black.

Scientifically, there are no mold species known as “black mold”, but studies show that Stachybotrys is the most toxic mold and is what most people refer to as black mold. It exhibits a greenish-black color but can be white or pink depending on where it grows.

Another way to identify the difference between common mold and black mold is the effects on your health. This is the most accurate way. Common mold is less harmful. But if you start experiencing heightened allergies, wood rotting, or other materials in your house discoloring, then you most likely have black mold.

Black mold is the most toxic species of molds. It has adverse effects on your health and to your home. Even though there are simple home remedies, like vinegar, to try removing molds in your home without hiring anyone, this is not an issue you should deal with on your own.

Finding the source of moisture is the key to eradicating the problem once and for all. Leave it to the experts, especially if you cannot pinpoint the source of the problem.

Is vinegar more effective than bleach?

Vinegar is more effective in getting rid of mold off your flooring surface because it is able to penetrate into the membrane and address the main cause of black mold as well as inhibit its recurrence. Bleach on the other hand only cleans the surface mold and doesn’t penetrate into the membrane. As such in many cases, the background mold spores will remain which may reoccur.

Sources and Reference

CDC: Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum(black mold?

Mayo Clinic: Mold Allergy; Symptoms and Causes?

Wikipedia: What is Stachybotrys?

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

3 thoughts on “Does Vinegar Kill Black Mold? [How to Use It]”

  1. Mixing hydrogen peroxide with vinegar creates peracetic acid, a corrosive acid that can harm the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. While it’s okay to use the two in succession on a surface, don’t ever mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar in the same bottle.

  2. Most household vinegar I see is only 5%. I buy 75% vinegar to dilute for a weed killing mixture with salt and soap. And I’ve seen 45% vinegar on line. It just gets me to wonder haw strong of a solution could one use? I wonder what concentration would do maximum mold destruction with out dangerous toxic physical effects or damage to the treated surface. In this case, it’s the thin plywood backing on the ceiling panel of a 1982 motor home.
    How much is too much when more is better?


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