If you ever noticed mold growth in the damp corners of your of your bathroom or the grout of your kitchen tiles, you may have turned to natural solutions for help, and eventually settled for vinegar to combat the pesky little fungus.
But as you stand there, with the spray bottle in your hands, you may be wondering whether the suggested sitting time in all do it yourself procedures on the internet is too small to have any significant impact on the mold, and perhaps, leaving the vinegar to sit overnight might be able to reach the roots of the fungus and remove it effectively and efficiently.
Well, in this article, we’ll explore how vinegar works to combat fungus growth like mold and determine whether it’s safe and more effective to leave vinegar on mold overnight.
How Long Should Vinegar Sit To Kill Mold?
How long should vinegar sit to kill mold is a bit like asking “how long is a bit of string”.
There really is no one-size-fits-all answer for the question as the question is tied with the effectiveness of vinegar in killing mold which in turn depends on a variety of factors from the type of vinegar used to the concentration of acetic acid in the vinegar and the severity of mold growth.
That said, we can still give a rough estimate as to how long you should be leaving vinegar on mold to at least expect a decent mold removal.
Even though there is no hard and fast rule, aim to leave it for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour or 1 hour 30 minutes to allow it to properly penetrate the mold and break down its cell membrane before scrubbing it with a brush and wiping away with a damp cloth.
In case you didn’t know, vinegar kills mold through its acetic acid content which diffuses into the cell membrane and causes it to dissociate or break down. This diffusion eventually causes the cytoplasm of the mold to become acidified there by suffocating the fungus and causing it to die.
So you can see why allowing the vinegar to sit for sometime is beneficial, but for too long and you’re only wasting time because the vinegar will dry out eventually and become less effective. Also, you risk causing damage to the area beneath the mold when you leave the vinegar to sit on it for too long.
So when it comes to removing mold with vinegar, it’s best to avoid leaving it overnight and stick with the 30 minutes to 1 hour sitting time.
Does Vinegar Kill Mold Permanently? And Does It Kill Mold Spores?
Really, does vinegar defeat mold for good?
The answer is no. and here’s why.
Mold and everything it entails is not just what you’re seeing that grows on your property.
There is more to them, in the form of spores, and that is how they even get to the surfaces in your house in the first place.
Mold spores are in constant random motion in the air and they are everywhere, even in the room you are seated, searching up this query.
So while vinegar does have the capacity to destroy certain types of mold growth, it cannot kill all the spores, especially those spread out in the air, and thus it isn’t a permanent solution for getting rid of mold completely.
Even if you have eradicated all traces of mold on your grout or kitchen walls, mold spores can still persist, redeposit back onto surfaces where the conditions are right and begin growing once again, making your vinegar treatment a non-ending cycle of pain.
The only thing that can really tackle your mold problem at home is ensuring you deal with the problem right from the roots which involves key practices such as proper ventilation to dry out excess moisture that accumulates on spots, using dehumidifiers and of course regular cleaning with disinfectants.
Then, and only then, will the regular use of vinegar as a day to day cleaning agent be able to effectively prevent mold growth due its acidity.
What Kind Of Vinegar Kills Mold?
When it comes to killing mold, not all vinegar is created equal.
While it’s true that all vinegar have microbial properties due to their acetic acid content, their effectiveness in killing microorganisms differ due to their overall compositions as well concentration of the acid – which is the active ingredient responsible for the breakdown of the mold structure.
The best type of vinegar to use for mold is the “distilled white vinegar” which is so because of its clear nature that doesn’t leave any colored residue on cleaned surfaces as well as its high concentration of acetic acid content and somewhat neutral smell.
Other types of vinegar may not be suitable for cleaning mold because of their colored nature as well as the smell they give off.
When white vinegar also, make sure to go for one with an acidity of at least 6% to be able to really tackle the mold growth. It’s mostly marketed as Cleaning White Vinegar and it is 20% more strong compared to flavored vinegars which are only great for use in salads and for pickling, but they aren’t strong enough for use on mold.
How Effective Is Vinegar At Killing Black Mold?
Black mold, Stachybotrys chartaum is the strain of the fungus that strikes fear into the hearts of homeowners everywhere, but really, it is not more stubborn and deadly that other mycotoxin producing strains of mold.
If you are sensitive to mold, then you are sensitive to every kind of mold including black mold and you should try as much as possible to prevent its growth in your home, and where it has already establish a little dominion, get rid of it – with ofcourse white vinegar, because it also works for some species of black mold.
While cleaning white vinegar can successfully kill black mold growing in your home, the stains which may remain may need to be cleaned with a proper household cleaner.
When working with black mold also, ensure to stick with a cleaning vinegar which is 20% more powerful than food vinegar and make sure to ventilate and cover yourself up with protective wears.
Also, make sure to clean the area subsequently with acidic ingredients or microorganism-destroying cleansers to really make sure the area becomes inhospitable for any spores that might want to establish a colony there again.
If you have a larger infestation: one that covers more than 10 square feet, it is best to call in the professionals to tackle the problem to avoid triggering any health issues.