If you have a mold problem, alcohol offers a simple, effective and inexpensive alternative to more complex chemicals, although it won't actually "kill" mold spores. To truly stop mold growth, you'll have to eliminate the underlying moisture problem. But alcohol will effectively clean up existing mold, and can remove it from places where you don't want to use bleach. Any form of alcohol will work, including vodka, denatured alcohol and rubbing alcohol, are less expensive alternatives. Alcohol dries rapidly, making it a good choice for cleaning surfaces that would be further damaged by prolonged moisture.
In its proper place, mold is beneficial -- it helps organic waste to decompose, and is even used to make certain medicines and types of cheese. That said, its proper place is obviously outdoors, away from your living space. Mold has been implicated in serious health problems and can cause nasty odors. Wherever there is a dark, damp spot with dirt or grease, mold will thrive.
Using Alcohol to Clean Up Mold
To remove mold stains from furniture, leather, books or other porous surfaces, mix alcohol and water in a one to one ratio. Work the mixture into fabric or leather using a cloth or soft-bristle brush. To clean books or other delicate objects, soak a cloth or paper towel, wring it out thoroughly and blot the mold spot gently. Allow the object to dry thoroughly, preferably outdoors in bright sunlight. Reapply as needed until all evidence of mold or mildew is gone.
Other products that have been found effective in mold cleanup include chlorine bleach, tea tree oil, and commercial biocides.
Anne Pyburn Craig
Anne Pyburn Craig has written for a range of regional and local publications ranging from in-depth local investigative journalism to parenting, business, real estate and green building publications. She frequently writes tourism and lifestyle articles for chamber of commerce publications and is a respected book reviewer.