Chemically speaking, chlorine bleach is a water solution of sodium hypochlorite. Common household laundry bleach, used to whiten and disinfect laundry, is typically either 5.25 percent (“regular strength”). OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) was one of the first federal agencies to STOP recommending the use of liquid bleach for mold remediation. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has since edited their “A brief guide to mold and moisture and your home” to exclude their once suggested use of bleach as a means to kill mold. So what actually is mold? Let’s go over the basics to get a better understanding of how it works and how it should be properly treated.
NO ONE KNOWS HOW MANY SPECIES OF FUNGI EXIST BUT ESTIMATES RANGE FROM TENS OF THOUSANDS TO THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND OR MORE. - CDC.GOV
According to scientists, mold is a type of fungi that is neither plant nor animal. This basically means, unlike plants, it cannot derive energy from the sun or actively “hunt” for food like an animal. Therefore, mold must be opportunistic to survive. In order to reproduce, it regularly sends microscopic spores into the air searching for a suitable environment to live. It only needs a few requirements to survive: water, warm temperatures, and a food source. Once it has located the perfect environment, it can begin to grow remarkably fast, sometimes within 24 hours! This is why we often see a mold bloom after flooding, water damage, and undetected burst pipes, etc…
Bleach contains 90% water and mold LOVES water. When bleach is applied, the chlorine quickly evaporates after use leaving behind A LOT of water. This water often soaks into the porous surface allowing the mold to flourish and re-grow in this moist environment. So in effect, using bleach actually feeds the internal mold spores! Although the surface may look bleached and clean, the remaining spores will root deeper, stronger and will often return worse than before. Water feeds the mold!!
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