6 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Mold on Common Household Items

By Andrea Cannon on 10 February 2017 0 comments

Mold is everywhere. It might even be hiding on everyday items that you didn't even think to check. With continued exposure, you can begin developing respiratory problems or allergic reactions.

Where to Look for Mold

Here's where mold might be lurking.

Toys

Recent findings of mold in children's sippy cups and teething toys have led to widespread panic among parents. However, most pediatricians agree that a small amount of mold exposure is usually okay for children, except if your baby has a mold allergy or an immune deficiency. However, your child's toys should be cleaned regularly so that they don't accumulate a significant amount of mold over time. If you notice shadowing coming from inside of the toy, or the toy smells bad, then you need to clean it to reduce the chance of you or your child getting sick from mold exposure.

Children's toys, dog toys, and bath toys can become covered in mold. Mold can also grow inside of a squeaky toy or any toys with a hole. If a toy is safe for the tub, then it's also usually safe for the top rack of the dishwasher for routine cleanings. For fabric toys, consider running them through the washer and dryer regularly.

To disinfect the toys with bleach, fill up a covered container with 1 gallon of hot water and 1/4 cup bleach. Cover and allow the toys to soak for about an hour. You can also do the same thing with a mix of 1 gallon water and 1/2 cup white vinegar. If you'd like to skip the bleach altogether, then consider boiling the toys in hot water.

Going forward, make sure that the toys are allowed to drain properly so they don't get filled up with mold again. You can also plug up the holes with a drop of hot glue to prevent water from getting trapped inside. As a general rule, if an item is not meant to be wet, don't get it wet. For instance, throwing toys not meant for the bathtub into the bath may be inviting mold into your life.

Kitchen Tools

Certain items are more susceptible to mold, such as anything that may be hiding moisture or food. For butcher block cutting boards and countertops, Reader's Digest suggests dipping a brush in a solution of 1 t bleach and 2 quarts water. Scrub the area in small circles and wipe clean with a damp cloth. The bleach solution can also be used to clean countertops and plastic tablecloths.

Your trash can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew, so on occasion, flush the garbage pail out with a hose. Use the bleach solution to scrub the can clean.

Bathroom Tools

Plastic bathroom items, such as shower mats, can become susceptible to mold. To disinfect, soak the items in hot water and bleach for about an hour. You may need to scrub the items to remove any clingy mold.

The hot water and bleach solution should work well for bathroom tools, shower caulking, and bathroom tiles. You can even mix the solution in a spray bottle to spray over grout and moldy areas.

Your shower curtain can quickly grow mold, especially if you don't stretch the curtain out so it can dry properly. Wash your curtain with a load of towels, or clean it with hot water, bleach, and a small amount of laundry detergent and allow to hang dry.

Make sure to frequently wash your bathroom towels and rugs to prevent them from growing mold. Moisture invites mold, so make sure to allow items to dry completely. You may also want to squeegee your shower walls and shower doors to speed up the drying process and prevent mold.

Outdoor Items

Just as your indoor items are susceptible to mold, your outdoor items (like tablecloths, plastic lawn furniture, and gardening tools) can also be susceptible to mold if they are exposed to moisture. Sanitize these items by washing them with the bleach and water mixture. For gardening tools or items susceptible to rust, rub a few drops of tea tree oil on the surface after drying to prevent rust.

How to Get Rid of Mold

Now that we know where mold might be hiding, here are some easy ways to get rid of it.

1. Bleach

Mix 1 gallon of hot water with 1/4 cup bleach for a quick disinfecting spray. Regardless of what you use the bleach solution on, it's important to thoroughly rinse the area with hot water afterward so that you aren't exposing your home or your family to bleach. Make sure never to mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar. Bleach is the best option if you're dealing with a nonporous surface like glass or tile.

2. Vinegar

Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 1/4 cup water. Spray it on the item's surface, let it dry, and rinse and wipe clean.

3. Tea Tree Oil

Mix 1 t tea tree essential oil with 1 cup hot water or distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray it on the item's surface, allow it to sit, and wipe away.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide

Mix 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide with 1 cup water. Spray it on the item's surface, let it dry, and rinse and wipe clean.

5. Baking Soda

Mix 1/4 T baking soda into a spray bottle of water. Spray moldy surfaces, scrub, and rinse clean. You can even spray the area again and allow it to dry to prevent future growth. You can also spritz this solution into carpeting after vacuuming.

6. Store Favorites

Purchase quick cleaning solutions that can remove mold and help prevent the regrowth of mold and mildew. Items like Lysol Disinfecting Wipes and Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover can get the job done quickly. You may also want to invest in something like the OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set, which can deep clean areas that could be housing mold.

What Should You Toss?

Some items just aren't worth the trouble and should be tossed and replaced, for safety's sake. In fact, many professionals recommend throwing a toy away that shows signs of mold growth. If you notice significant mold growing inside of your child's toys, or you aren't able to clean them well enough on your own, it's best to just replace them with new toys that won't trap water.

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