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The Truth About Bleach & Mold

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The Unless It Smells Like Bleach It Is Not Clean Misconception

Amongst the Holiday TV commercials this weekend was an ad for a bleach company selling a kitchen cleaning product. The message was, “unless it smells like bleach it is not clean.” This was a move to cast doubt on the efficacy of better smelling, non-bleach cleaning products sold by their competitors. The commercial ended with something close to: unless it smells like bleach the germs are not gone.

I get it, I understand advertising. The company is using a smell we easily recognize, calling it their smell, and connecting it to a result we all want: a clean and germ free home. But, does the smell of bleach in the air really mean the room is clean and safe? Will your mother-in-law walk into the house and think, “wow, what a clean and germ-free place to be,” just because it smells like a swimming pool?

Labels on bleach-based cleaners clearly state that they are intended (and effective) for cleaning hard (non-porous) materials. Germs or mold in porcelain sinks, on shower tile and Formica counter tops are probably cleaned away (for the moment) when you use these products. But what about the germs on your furniture, in the air, on the door and walls, or in the musty entry mat? What about all the porous materials in our homes?

The real problem is that we fall for these ads and equate the smell test to being proof something is a universal super cleaner. Thinking, “it smells like bleach, therefore it is clean,” does not mean it truly is.

Basement and Crawl Space mold is seldom on non-porous materials. Yet, people spray bleach based cleaners in these areas and think it is clean. It is not. The mold and mildew are not dead. Most laundry bleach is 3% chlorine and 97% water. Most bleach-based cleaners are not that strong.

Moldy drywall, cement block, and wood floor joists are not “clean” because they have been sprayed with a bleach based cleaner. In most conditions, Chlorine evaporates faster than water. Giving the moldy drywall a good soaking with these cleaners will kill some of the mold on the surface, and then when the chlorine has evaporated, the water left behind gives the mold what it needs to flourish – water.

But there is good news! Some Peroxide-based cleaners or cleaner/disinfectants are effective at killing mold, mildew, and germs on hard and soft porous materials alike. Some Peroxide-based cleaners, like Anabec Cleaner, dry deep in wood and drywall, thus creating a barrier that slows or prevents future growth. And they do it without the acrid smell of chlorine. If you want to make sure your mother-in-law knows your house is clean, deal with the mold and mildew growing in the basement or crawl space using a cleaner designed to get the job done.

For more information on Anabec’s Peroxide based mold cleaners and disinfectants visit our website at: www.crawlspace-DIY.com

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