MOLD: To Kill or Clean? An Easy Understand Guide To Mold Removal.

should I kill mold with bleach

Mold can be one of many thousands of species of fungi that if given the right conditions can wreak havoc on your home and if left untreated, lead to serious health problems. Whether it's a mild case on the bathroom tile or a serious infestation in the basement, finding mold can be a big deal and should be removed ASAP. So, how should you get rid of a bad case of mold? 

First generation do-it-yourselfers claim strong disinfectants such as chlorine bleach or ammonia should be used to kill the mold while today's authorities say the better solution is to remove it altogether. With an overwhelming amount of information swirling around, it can be tough choosing which products to use to not only to get rid of the mold but also keep it from coming back. The one thing we do know for sure is that using the wrong product can make a mold issue much worse and since learning the hard way is no fun, we're here to help you out. First, let's take a look at how mold operates and why when it comes to getting rid of it, the pros are right; the removal method is always best. 


    MOLd is a type of fungi that thrives in a moist environment.

    MOLd is a type of fungi that thrives in a moist environment.

Mold is unique in that scientifically, it's in a category of its own being neither plant nor animal. Mold spores can be found virtually everywhere, indoors and out, always searching for a suitable environment to grow. If favorable conditions are found, the spores will latch on and spread its roots into the material to begin the digestion process. When mold is visible, you are only viewing the portion of the mold colony that has broken through the surface. Mold roots as deep as it can into organic materials to ensure a consistent food source and continued survival. It only needs a warm, moist environment along with this food source to survive. Since mold thrives inside the materials it feeds on, it it only makes sense to remove it to discontinue the growth cycle.  

Most of the cleaners under our kitchen sink are labeled "all-purpose cleaners" or "anti-bacterial" which may work for dirt, bacteria or other common cleaning tasks, but not for mold. Mold is stubborn and isn't your regular dirt and grime so an out-of-the-ordinary solution is required to get rid of it. Mold should always be removed or pulled out of the surface, not just sprayed with a cleaner and wiped away. This is why an oxygenated cleaner has proven to be the most effective.


UltraMean2 oxygen bleach cleaner for mold

What is an oxygen bleach?

An oxygen based cleaner can come in either powder or liquid and basically uses oxygen to clean, instead of harsh chemicals. It's color-safe and non-toxic qualities make it a favorite among professionals because it can deliver the same "bleachy" clean look without the problematic side effects of other toxic cleaners.  An oxygenated cleaner is typically sodium percarbonate based which gives it the additional disinfecting power of hydrogen peroxide when active. When applied, the oxygen bleach uses oxygen bubbles to break the bond between the mold and the material then pulls the mold up and out. This process is essential because even dead mold spores remain allergenic to humans. An oxygen bleach is a safe and proven method for not only disinfection but is imperative for reducing mold exposure to your family and discouraging new growth. 

Another major plus for an oxygen bleach is it's ability to neutralize offensive odors. Anyone dealing with a mold issue knows the tell-tale musty odor mold produces. If you are already dealing with a smelly issue, the last thing you want to do is add another pungent chemical odor! Our oxygen bleach formulation, UltraMean2, was designed to not only eliminate the bad odor but to leave behind a mild, refreshing scent. This is a must for families with small children or trying to avoid unnecessary chemical exposure. 

Fast Facts: A few common household cleaners have proven effective in cleaning minor cases of mold and mildew. For instance, vinegar, baking soda and liquid dish detergent are a great non-toxic choice for small jobs on hard non-porous surfaces. These are less effective against a serious case of mold but good to keep in mind for a quick cleanup.


DID YOU KNOW? The Clorox® Company, OSHA and the EPA have determined that chlorine bleach should not be used for mold remediation.


Just as important as what you should use, is knowing what not to use. Let's go over a few...

1. Chlorine bleach

A widely perpetuated myth is that chlorine bleach will can tackle any dirty job but when it comes to mold, it might just be the worst advice. Chlorine bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite) is great at disinfecting (killing the good and the bad) and discoloring a surface. It is an extremely caustic substance that will change the color of virtually anything it touches, including mold. This is extremely deceiving because it can give the applicator a false sense of remedy when all it really did was discolor the surface mold leaving internal roots untouched. 

Additionally, chlorine bleach cannot soak in a porous material (where mold hides) and therefore, its disinfecting properties are vastly limited to surfaces such as glass or tile. The most troublesome factor when using bleach is that it is mostly comprised of water- 96% to be exact. The chlorine inside the bleach evaporates quickly after application leaving behind water that seeps into the porous materials that actually feeds the internal mold! This is why we commonly see mold grow back with a vengeance in the same spot a week or later. Using the bleach method will only leave you with a never ending cycle bleaching and a much bigger problem than you started with. For more information about bleach and mold go here.

2. Ammonia

Ammonia or azane is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH₃. In liquid form it is commonly called ammonium hydroxide. It is usually colorless but far from odorless. Like its acidic counterpart, ammonia cannot penetrate a porous surface but can be used to disinfect a hard non-porous surface. Again, this may clean the surface mold, but can not reach the underlying root of the problem. Additionally, just like bleach, it discolors and leaves the mold remaining on the surface. Dead mold and its spores are still allergenic to humans so the mold still needs to be removed from the home to decrease exposure. Health note: Both of these products are extremely toxic to humans and should never be mixed together under any circumstances.


TOP TIP: Check your label! You'll be shocked to learn how many products labeled "mold & mildew" cleaners are plain old bleach or ammonia! Learn to read the label on your cleaning products and know what to look for. Chlorine bleach is typically labelled Sodium Hypochlorite and ammonia in liquid form is ammonium hydroxide. Not only are you paying big money for a cheap fix but now you know these "MOLD KILLERS" simply do not work for mold removal. When choosing the right cleaner for a tough job, education and research is important. We strongly encourage you to do your research, after all, this is your home and potentially your family's health. The proper mold removal plan will save you time, money and a world of hurt in the future. 

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5 Awesome Uses for Oxygen Bleach

oxygen bleach powder for trex decking

For years, companies such as Clorox® have advertised chlorine bleach as the only choice for cleaning and disinfection, and for a while there, it was. As it turns out, it wasn't until a safer oxygen bleach came along did homeowner's start to realize they could get the same great cleaning results, without the toxic side effects. Oxygen bleach is an awesome alternative to chlorine bleach because it will give you the same disinfecting, "bleached" results- without the harsh fumes and toxicity to home and family. As versatile as it is easy to use, let's take a look at few reasons why we choose oxygen bleach as a safer and more effective alternative to chlorine bleach. 

1. Multi-purpose home cleaner

Move over chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is now becoming the go-to household essential! A powdered oxygen bleach is a non-toxic formula that uses the power of hydrogen peroxide and oxygen to clean. When mixed with water, this combination releases oxygen which creates hydrogen peroxide that will eventually decompose into a natural soda ash. This tough combination will not only disinfect and remove tough stains but will give you that "bleachy clean" look without exposing your family to harmful chemicals. An oxygen bleach is the ideal cleaner for families with children, pets or overall trying to reduce chemical exposure to live a healthier lifestyle. Here are a few other great uses for around the home: 

  • Septic enhancer/toilet bowl cleaner
  • Carpet deodorizer and sanitizer
  • Pet stain removal
  • Formica stained countertops
  • Garbage disposal cleaner/odor remover
 

2. Laundry Booster

best oxygen bleach laundry cleaner

One of our favorite things about an oxygen bleach is it's ability to remove ground in stains and brighten fabrics. Our product, UltraMean2, was enhanced with a stronger formulation than regular oxygen bleach to tackle those tougher than normal stains. Due to it's it's color safe properties, it won't leave your colored clothes with those white bleach stains like chlorine bleach. It is also highly concentrated so you can control the power of the clean without wasting product. 

How to boost your laundry with an Oxygen Bleach:

An oxygen bleach can be applied to boost your regular detergent's cleaning abilities or can be used to replace store bought detergents. Only a few ounces are needed to get the job done. Another favorite quality of oxygen bleach for laundry is it's agreeable fragrance. It will leave your clothes with a mild "clean" scent without the offensive odors. Some people with chemical sensitivities or choose to launder without strong scented products might just find the perfect solution in an oxygen bleach.

PLEASE NOTE: Always test for colorfastness before using UltraMean2 on an unseen area. Do not use on materials such as leather, silk, wool or anything that is not water tolerant/washable. 

 

3. Grout cleaner

Oxygen Bleach tile and grout cleaner

Cleaning the grout and tile in your home doesn't have to be expensive and labor intensive. A quick and easy solution to moldy grout and tile is an oxygen bleach paste! Unlike chlorine bleach, an oxygen bleach reaches into the porous grout to remove any mold/mildew that may be growing inside. Chlorine bleach can not penetrate a porous surface so although it may look great after use, it has only "bleached" the surface white. Choose an oxygen bleach to get the same clean look and better results without the gas mask!.

How to clean your grout with an Oxygen Bleach:

Before you begin, you will need to determine the amount needed for your cleaning strength. You can easily clean one of two ways: One, you can mix and dissolve the oxygen bleach in warm/hot water, pour into a spray bottle and spritz the areas of the grout needed. You will immediately notice the bubbling and fizzing of the oxygen working.  Second, make a paste and let it sit! UltraMean2 is highly concentrated so a paste would be best for deep cleanings or problematic areas.

 

 

4. Mold & mildew

home cleaning with oxygen bleach

Although technically this falls under the household category, we decided to make special mention and for good reason. Finding mold growth in your home is a big deal and using the wrong cleaners can make your issue much worse. OSHA and the EPA have specifically advised against using chlorine bleach for mold removal as it has been found ineffective against remediating mold and in most cases will actually make the mold problem much worse.

If you do find extensive mold growth in your home, stop and investigate. If you choose to hire a professional, insist on an oxygen bleach cleaner. This will ensure that the mold is removed from inside the material, not just cleaned from the surface.

 

5. Wooden and composite decking

non-toxic oxygen bleach deck cleaner

By far one of the favorite choices choices for deck cleaning companies is an oxygen bleach. Using chlorine bleach on wood based decking (composite decking is made from wood and plastics) is not only dangerous to your health but is extremely damaging to your deck. Additionally, although it may look clean after use, it has not only proven ineffective to get rid of mold and mildew, but actually makes the issue much worse! 

Chlorine bleach is extremely corrosive to wood fibers and the metal fastners that hold your deck together. It also will continually degrade the color of your decking when exposed to UV rays. Needless to say, you can achieve better results with a safer, more effective oxygen bleach alternative. Simply mix the desired strength in warm/hot water, (oxygen bleach works best with hot water) and use a garden sprayer to apply to the deck. Let the product sit and bubble to lift and remove tough stains on the deck. You can even give the product a boost by scrubbing the deck with a brush while it's working. Lastly, stand back and marvel at just how much dirt and grime is gone!

 

The advantages of ditching the chlorine bleach and making the switch to an oxygen bleach, far outweigh the disadvantages. Not only will your home shine but your health will thank you in the long run. Give it a try and you will be amazed at how versatile and effective an oxygen bleach cleaner really is!

Want to learn more about our non-toxic oxygen bleach cleaner, UltraMean2? Click here! 

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10 Facts About Composite Decking

10 facts about composite decking

There is nothing quite as all-American as the deck on a home. This is where the kids play, the grill is going, and summer always seems to lingers a little longer. The wooden deck attached to a home became a status symbol in the fifties, and quickly became a fixture of suburban life. Then, in the 90s, composite decking was introduced to the market, promising a longer-lived and more maintenance-free alternative.

What, then, is composite decking? Simply put, composite decks are usually crafted from mixing wood fibers with either new and/ or recycled plastics. Some composite decking is being made from 100% poly-vinyl. Combined with coloring elements and protective additives, the result is a manufactured product in the shape of a board which is relatively heavier in weight than real wood of the same size. It will not rot or splinter, is highly resistant to warping, and is generally more weather resistant than traditional wooden decking.

 

Let’s take a closer look at what everyone should know about composite decking.

trex composite decking
  1. There are essentially two types of decking – solid and hollow. Solid decking is heavier, looks more natural, but is more susceptible to temperature fluctuation. Hollow decking is cheaper, and needs greater care before installation to prevent damage.
  2. Initial costs of composite decks will likely be higher, both for materials and labor. However, over the lifetime of the deck, expenses for composite decking are likely to be lower. This is largely due to reduced upkeep, as well as its longer lifespan.
  3. Most composite deck boards will be much longer than wooden boards, because there is no fear of warpage. Boards can be 20 feet in length!
  4. It can be made in a vast array of colors. Painting or staining composite decking is unnecessary, since the color pigmentation is added at the time of manufacture. Do you want a pink deck, or alternating purple and yellow boards? You can have whatever you wish. Just remember that, whatever color you choose, you can’t just change your mind and paint over it.
  5. Your composite deck may not warp, but it can sag and buckle. Most sagging is caused by improper spacing between the joists when it is installed. Also, thermal expansion, the fluctuation of temperatures, can have a more significant effect on composite decking than on natural wood decking. Spacing between composite boards, and boards and walls, is usually greater than between wooden boards. Careful, professional quality installation is very important.
  6. Composite decking is fade resistant, but it may fade over time in strong sunlight. Composite decking will get lighter in color tone as it fades. Natural wood, left alone, fades to grey.
  7. It will also get hot under those conditions, although certainly not hot enough to melt. Shading the deck is always recommended during the hottest, sunniest days.
  8. You will need to allow for drainage under composite decks. Any moisture trapped under composite decking, on top of wood joists, makes the joists susceptible to rot and decay.
  9. These products are also stain resistant but, as with issues of fading, resistance doesn’t mean never. Attend to spills as promptly as possible, and keep the deck swept. Expect to hose it thoroughly at least twice a year.
  10. The most common complaint about composite decking is mold growth. While all deck materials can grow mold, algae, and mildew, wood must be cleaned and resurfaced. Composite decking cannot be resurfaced, and staining can be difficult to remove. It is recommended to apply and maintain a mold barrier from the start to prevent the occurrence of mold. If mold is already present, owners must use special cleaners which will remove the mold, but won’t harm the surface.

When considering a long-term investment like a deck, be sure to do your homework. Price out contractors, ask friends with decks who they’ve worked with, and make a list of wood vs. composite pros and cons. Most importantly, make sure you have enough mustard and ketchup on hand for the first cookout!

5 Signs Of Mold In Your Home

5 signs of mold in your home

Understandably, most people don’t want to talk about the M word. As unpleasant as the subject is, it is important to know the warning signs of mold in your home. Unrecognized, undetected, or simply ignored, mold can be an enormous health concern for you and your family. Let's go over a few important clues that mold might be growing in your home. 

1. A Moldy Odor

Mold has an unmistakable, ''musty'' odor. It can be quite pungent and hidden mold can often only be detected if a building, or a particular room or area in a building, emits this odor. You may not actually see the source because it can hide under carpets, beneath paneling and drywall, or inside walls beside pipes which may be leaking or wet with condensation. If you do notice any unusual odors, it could be mold.

2. Condensation

A buildup of condensation in your home could lead to mold

A buildup of condensation in your home could lead to mold

A buildup of condensation in your home, such as on window surfaces, is a sign that you have conditions which often lead to mold. It might be indicating that there is a humidity problem. Mold will grow wherever condensation builds up and collects. Rusted pipes under a sink, or in the basement, are another signal to be looking for.

 Toxic black mold growing beneath the floor

 Toxic black mold growing beneath the floor

3. Stains and Discoloration

If you notice water stains or discoloration on ceilings, walls, or floors, take steps to find the source and correct the problem because mold may be growing behind or within the material. Also, look for peeling wallpaper or cracking paint, or the presence of dampness in any of these areas. One of the worst things that you can do is to cosmetically cover up these stains.

If you see something that doesn’t look right, or seems out of place, always search the area for any other signs that it could be mold. Even the tiniest indication of mold growth ican evidence of a much greater problem.

4. History of Problems

 inspect and REPAIR areas of the home that are prone to MOISTURE damage

 inspect and REPAIR areas of the home that are prone to MOISTURE damage

Did your basement ever flood? Did a water heater burst? Was there a major leak under the kitchen sink? These areas in your home need to be periodically checked for hidden remnants of mold symptoms. You should particularly check for evidence of mold under floors or cabinetry. As we previously stated, it could remain hidden, making your family sick while growing out of sight.

5. Poor Health Inside the Home

Mold isn't always easily seen and sometimes can be hard to find and for those who are suffering the health effects of exposure, it can be life altering. Tragically, mold related illnesses are often misdiagnosed because the symptoms of mold exposure often mirror common respiratory issues such as asthma, wheezing, or bronchitis. In reality, mold is often the culprit behind these illnesses. If you're having a problem with recurring allergies, there's a good chance mold might be in your home.

 

MOLD IS A POISON

mold in the home

Imagine feeling better away from your house than in it. Sometimes, the first evidence that there is a mold problem in your home comes from recognizing that the health of your family improves when they are away. Any symptoms of a cold flaring up only in the home are a common sign of health related mold issues. Common allergic reactions to mold include sneezing, sore eyes and throat, and a runny nose or nasal congestion. Even greater concern would be symptoms of any neurological disorder. Nosebleeds, headaches, problems with memory loss, concentration, or dizziness are all evidence of a toxic mold presence somewhere in your house. This is especially true if you, or a family member, have these experiences in your home.

You should also watch for signs of abnormal behavior in your pets. Often, like the canary in the coalmine, our beloved animals can become the first indicators that toxicity is present in the home. A little investigation and knowing what to look for can literally make or break your health and home. 


Need expert advice? Call 863.665.0203 or fill out the form below to speak to one of our highly trained representatives. 

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How To Keep Your Wood Deck Looking Great All Year

wooden decking rhino hide

It would be nice to think that your new wooden deck was maintenance free for life, and that you could enjoy its benefits without any effort beyond the occasional sweep of a broom and wiping up after a passing bird. The fact is, decks are remarkably simple to care for, but you need to apply some effort in preserving your investment. You should also know that each season brings a different approach to your responsibilities.

Wooden decking, Rhino Hide

Every deck requires a thorough annual cleaning. Remember that any and all weather conditions affect your deck throughout the year. Between heat, sun, precipitation, and morning dew there is a constant assault on the wood. By cleaning your deck you will be replenishing the wood, eliminating any mold or mildew which has built up, and removing any twigs, leaves, bugs, and bird and animal waste which might be trapped between boards.

You should begin by choosing a cloudy, but rain-free two day period to perform the task. Hot sun and humidity could affect the final results. Next, take steps to protect any nearby plants, because even the mildest and most environmentally friendly cleaner can burn tender leaves.  Water plants and grass around the deck before and after cleaning. Covering the plants with plastic sheeting is a logical precaution. Then take a putty knife and scrape between the boards, pulling out any debris which is lodged there. If you discover any nails which have popped or begun to protrude then whack them back into place, or replace them outright. Never pull them out without immediately replacing them. They were there for a reason.

 

STEP 1: Clean the deck from the bottom up with Rhino Hide’s UltraMean Exterior Stain Remover or another bleach free cleaner. Always test a product before use in a small inconspicuous place. Never let whatever cleaner you are using to pool up, and always scrub and apply cleanser evenly. Use of a hard bristle brush for scrubbing is recommended. Follow all cleanser instructions thoroughly! Allow several days for a thorough drying.

Let's check out UltraMean!

 

STEP 2: Apply a moisture barrier, such as Rhino Hide’s UltraBan.  UltraBan should be applied annually for maximum protection. This will protect your deck from moisture damage and mold or mildew throughout the year. Between applications, the deck can be cleaned with a mild detergent. If a heavy duty cleaner is used, UltraBan will need to be reapplied.

Let's check out UltraBan!

Every six months, spring and fall, check the deck’s structure for any signs that repairs might be needed. Just figure that the beginning and end of each baseball season is also deck-checking season. You’ll want to inspect the joists, beams, and posts.  Always test the railings by giving them a good shake. For the safety of all, and to avoid the risk of lawsuits, never let any problem go unresolved.

To cut down on yearly maintenance, there are a few simple tasks you’ll want to perform:

  • Always keep wet leaves from building up in corners or shady spots (this will promote mold growth)
  • Trim back trees and shrubs, so they can’t damage your deck
  • Look out for puddles forming, particularly near the bottom of posts
  • Rotate furniture and plants in sunny areas, to prevent discoloration

Your deck is an oasis from work and worry, but you need to maintain it so it stays that way.

Amazing Mold Experiment- Preventing mold on wood!

We love submissions from satisfied customers. We’re even more excited when we are featured in real time experiments! We recently received a submission from a 5th grade student in Florida who tested three products to see which ones would prevent mold on untreated lumber. The experiment lasted a total of three weeks and well, (can we brag a little), UltraBan dominated the competition! The student was so impressed with the outcome he wanted to share the results with us. Here are the actual submission images and procedure…

The Science Experiment

“We used five pieces of wood for each product. We put 1.5oz of product on one half of the wood and left the other side natural. This way we could see if the products actually worked. We only had three weeks so we had to speed up the mold growth. Since mold likes to grow in yogurt we spread a really thin layer on the treated and untreated sides of the wood. Also, mold needs water to grow so I put the wood into Ziploc bags and added some water to create condensation. It took about 2 days for the wood to start growing mold.”

“After a week, the mold started to move from the yogurt and started to feed on the wood. By week 3, the mold was all over product 2 and 3’s wood (Product names have been changed to 2 and 3) on every side and top and bottom. UltraBan was the only one that kept the mold from growing. It didn’t even grow on the yogurt.” (See final image: The mold grows around UltraBan!)

The Science Behind Why UltraBan Works To Prevent Mold

UltraBan has what we call “Infusion Film™ Chemistry”. This means, UltraBan fuses to a surface and creates an invisible shield that resists mold and mildew. This Infusion Film™ microscopically penetrates and crosslinks within an absorbent surface becoming one with the product it treats. Not only does this create the toughest mold barrier, but unlike many “waterproofing” products, UltraBan allows the surface to breathe without trapping moisture below the surface. This advanced solution creates the perfect mold and mildew barrier without harming the substrate.

Want to learn more about UltraBan‘s technology? Give us a call at 863.665.0203. Our experienced staff will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Have a submission of your own? We would love to hear from you! Feel free to submit your own experience with UltraBan and how it worked for you.

LIVE MOLD FREE!

Why You Should Never Use Bleach On Composite Decking

Composite decking mold bleach

If you choose composite material for your deck, it is important to remember your decking will be exposed to natural elements that can create a number of issues for any wood based material, most commonly mold and mildew. Mold can occur on any deck and choosing the right cleaning product can literally make or break your deck.

What Is Mold and Why Is It On My Deck?

Mold, decking rhino hide

Mold is a type of fungi that thrives in a moist environment and nourishes itself by feeding on dead or decaying organic material. Wood is among one of it’s favorite meals, because of it’s high cellulose content. Composite decking boards are made up of wood and plastic and if conditions are favorable, your deck could become a food source for mold. To make matters worse, mold can penetrate the surface and spread its “roots” into the deck. If this occurs, the clear plastic in the decking could be stained green or black. Once this happens, it can be nearly impossible to remove the internal mold stains.

Amazingly, many of the products recommended (even by the manufacturer) for mold are not only damaging to the deck, but will actually make the mold problem much worse in the long run. Most decking companies even have specific suggestions and bulletins dedicated to cleaning mold. Why? If not properly prevented, mold can be hard to clean and even harder to keep from coming back, especially when the wrong chemicals are used.

Will Bleach Kill the Mold?

By far, one of the worst products you can use (and is often recommended) on your composite deck is Chlorine Bleach. If you are reading a product label, Chlorine Bleach is referred to as Sodium Hypochlorite. The misconception exists that Chlorine Bleach will “kill it all”, but when it comes to mold, nothing could be further from the truth. Chlorine Bleach has been proven to kill bacteria and viruses on non-porous surfaces, but has not been proven effective in killing mold from porous surfaces, such as composite decking.

Why Would Anyone Recommend Using Chlorine Bleach on Composite Decking?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines Bleach as: 1.) To remove color from, as by means of chemical agents or sunlight. 2.) To make white or colorless.

When applied to a mold stained deck, Sodium Hypochlorite immediately begins to activate, “Bleaching” the surface mold white and any other stains on the surface. Within a matter of minutes your deck has probably never looked better. Bleach has done its job giving you, the deck owner, a “Quick Fix”, the instantaneous illusion of cleanliness.  Mold problem solved? Unfortunately, not only is the mold still growing inside your deck, but the Chlorine in the Bleach has begun to damage it.

What Harm Will Bleach Cause?

Chlorine Bleach will cause irreparable damage and long-term problems for a composite deck. Using Bleach gives a false sense of remedy that is short lived. After summing up the costs for repair or replacement, it’s a large price to pay for a quick fix. Here are some not so fun facts about Chlorine Bleach:

Bleach and composites
  1. Bleach cannot penetrate a porous surface. Due to it’s ionic structure, Chlorine Bleach can only sit ON a surface. Mold remediation requires the need to clean and remove the mold BELOW and INTO a porous surface.
  2. Not only does Bleach leave behind internal mold “roots”, it actually feeds and promotes mold growth. Bleach evaporates within a short period of time after use. However, its water content is left behind to seep into the pores of the composite material. Mold flourishes in this moist environment. The Chlorine never actually reaches the internal mold to remove it. This is why a few days later you will notice the regrowth of mold, sometimes even darker and more aggressive. The more times Bleach is used, the more difficult it will become to remove the mold stains and keep the composite deck clean.
  3. Danger: CORROSIVE! Most manufacturers will warn you that Bleach will fade colored composites especially when used in direct sunlight. Regular use of Chlorine Bleach can eventually lead to premature chipping, splintering, and cracking that can affect the structural integrity of your composite deck. Even worse, Chlorine Bleach is extremely corrosive to any metals  that may be used as fasteners that hold the decking together. Prolonged exposure to Bleach could lead to premature breakdown of the materials which may cause serious damage to the deck or eventual collapse.
  4. Toxic. Bleach is extremely toxic to inhale and exposure can cause respiratory problems, skin burns, extreme headaches, damage to the nervous system, vomiting and a host of other side effects.

What Do The Experts Say?

This is an excerpt from OSHA’s Mold Remediation/Clean-Up guidelines:

“As a general rule, simply killing mold, for example, with biocide is not enough. The mold must be removed, since chemicals and proteins, which can cause a reaction in humans, are present even in dead mold. The use of a biocide, such as chlorine bleach, is not recommended as a routine practice.”

Well intentioned composite decking manufacturers may not truly understand the best way to remove and prevent mold on the products they manufacture. Sure, using a Sodium Hypochlorite based cleaner will look good for a while, but the mold will always return, and most assuredly, with a vengeance.

Check out this article, “Easy Care and Cleaning for Composite Decks“, for information on great bleach alternatives and to learn how to prevent mold!

How to Clean Your Composite Deck- Easy Care and Cleaning

Cleaning, composite decks

Composite Decking can be a beautiful alternative to a traditional wood deck. Whether you choose Trex®, Timbertech®, Choice Deck®, Veranda®, or one of the many other composite decking manufacturers there are some practical steps you can take to maintain your decks beauty.

Keep in mind that not all composite decks are alike and it is a good practice to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines in caring for your deck.

Below are some common questions that we are asked about composites?

mold on deck boards

How Do I Clean Dirt and Debris From My Composite Decking?

Sweep, sweep, sweep! It is always a good idea to sweep your deck regularly to discourage mold growth and staining. For an occasional cleaning, spray the surface with a water hose to remove the dirt and debris but do avoid allowing areas of the deck to pool water. For tougher areas, use warm soapy water made with a mild dishwashing detergent and a soft brush to remove any buildup. Thoroughly rinse off with a garden hose when complete.

We Grill And Eat On Our Deck. What Do I Do About Food And Grease Stains?

It's no surprise that any kind of oil or grease spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible. The longer it sits the more likely it will become a permanent stain. Use hot soapy water made with a mild dishwashing detergent and a soft sponge or rag to remove any oil or grease. For forgotten spills or tough stains, use and oxygen bleach solution (not chlorine bleach) and let it sit and work. Thoroughly rinse off with a garden hose when satisfied with the results. 

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I Think I See Mold And Mildew Spots. How Do I Clean Them?

Mold and mildew is a common occurrence for outdoor surfaces and your decking is no exception. Periodic cleaning will help prevent pollen and debris buildup but mold and mildew can still grow on the natural "bio film" on the surface of your deck. If mold or mildew is present on your deck, use a composite deck cleaner such as Rhino Hide's, oxygen bleach powder, UltraMean2.  An oxygen bleach works to remove the mold growing inside the deck, not just cleaning the surface. Follow the instructions on the label and be sure to rinse thoroughly with a garden hose when finished. NOTE: Never use Chlorine Bleach or Sodium Hypochlorite based cleaner on your deck! For more information check out these article, “Why you should never use bleach to clean mold” & Why you should never use bleach on composite decking.”

Cleaning Is Hard Work. How Can I Prevent Mold From Coming Back?

decking cleaner and mold barrier

Let's be honest, no one like's to scrub their deck year after year. If you are tired of performing those deep summer and fall cleanings, Rhino Hide’s UltraBan Mold Barrier is just what you've been looking for. UltraBan is a water-based moisture barrier that is easily applied after you have cleaned your deck to keep the mold/mildew growth down to a minimum. Once dried, it becomes an “invisible film" which will not change the look of your deck but will keep the mold at bay all year long. UltraBan is commonly applied after the deck is completely dry from cleaning or even better, apply UltraBan before you see mold and cut out the extra work. Although it may last longer, we recommended applying UltraBan once a year around the same time just to make sure your deck is protected. Most of our customers have remarked that they keep a spring or fall application routine to avoid many of the issues associated with harsh winter weather or spring time showers.  

Should I Use a Pressure Washer To Clean My Composite Deck?

We do not recommend using a pressure washer to clean composite material. It is softer than natural wood and can easily be damaged or etched if the PSI is to high. This will ultimately lead to new areas for dirt and mildew to hide and stain the deck. Of course, it's always a good idea to check with the manufacturer to see their recommendations for your specific deck but  common sense when cleaning softer materials like composite decking.

How Can I Get Rid Of Water Spots, Tannins, or Leaf Stains?

An oxalic acid based deck brightener such as UltraMean can be used to remove these spots/stains. Some of these stains may be removed by natural weathering, but UltraMean will help speed up the process.

There are many advantages to composite decking, but regular maintenance is a must to extend the life of your deck. By investing just a small amount of time now, you can be sure of the best look and performance for years to come.

Need a step-by-step walkthrough of how to clean your deck? Visit our decking page!

How To Protect Plants When Cleaning Outside

planting-865294_1920.jpg

Spring is here and once again it's time to prepare for deck season. You work hard to keep your deck looking beautiful and there is no reason to sacrifice the beauty of your plants around your deck too. So how can you protect plants when cleaning your outside deck, fence, or siding?

TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT PLANTS

The first step to protection is to choose your cleaner wisely. Avoid using toxic chemicals, such as chlorine bleach.

Even environmentally friendly chemicals can harm your plants and grass in high concentrations. If you are using a concentrated cleaner, start by mixing a small amount in the weakest strength. Test this in a small area. You can always add more concentrate if a stronger cleaning power is needed.

As a precaution, I always recommend watering the vegetation around the cleaning area before you start. Then, whenever possible, cover your plants. After the cleaning and final rinse, uncover and water your plants again. This process helps dilute the cleaner even more in the soil, limiting the amount of chemical your plants will receive.

3 Easy Spring Cleaning Tips For Decks

 

Spring is finally here! Show your deck a little TLC after a long hard winter with these 3 EASY spring cleaning tips.


 

1. REMOVE ALL DIRT AND DEBRIS FROM THE DECK

decking gap cleaning

This includes all buildup than can accumulate between the boards. If the deck cannot drain properly, water can be left standing on top of the deck, promoting mold/mildew growth and eventually deck rot.

2. CLEAN ALL MOLD AND MILDEW

deck cleaning oxygen bleach

Allowing mold  to grow untreated, even in the winter, can lead to significant deck damage. An OXYGEN bleach solution added to a common garden sprayer should be all that is needed to clean the mold. Mold likes to “root” deep into a porous surface. Always allow the OXYGEN bleach to sit so it can reach and clean these deeply embedded roots. At least 10-15 minutes should do the trick. For stubborn stains, scrubbing may be required.

Note: If you have composite decking, always use a soft bristle brush. Composite decking is a softer material than wood and may scratch more easily.

Tip: When the weather warms up, it’s time for an inspection! Regularly pay attention to loose boards, nails or areas that may pool water. A quick check up now and then can save you a lot of time and work in the future.

3. APPLY A MOLD/MOISTURE BARRIER

After the deck has been cleaned and is completely dry, apply a moisture barrier. This is one of the most important steps in deck (composite or natural wood) maintenance that is often overlooked. This will not only prevent future mold growth, it will make all the difference on how your deck looks and performs in the future. You can easily apply a liquid mold barrier with a roller or garden sprayer. Expect to repeat this step annually depending on your climate.

Well, that’s it!  Investing this small amount of time now BEFORE bad weather will ensure you’ll enjoy your deck long after summer has ended.


How Do Oxygenated Cleaners Work?

oxygen bleach bubbles

 

You are undoubtedly familiar with oxygenated cleaners, or oxygen bleach. Infomercials tout the benefits and miraculous cleaning powers of oxy-this, and oxo-that. While there can be widely variable results, as well as uses, for these types of cleaning products, they are not all made using the same ingredients. Oxygenated bleach has become the go-to house cleaning product, for both exterior and interior purposes, because it will not harm you, your pets, or your plants. Also, it will not discolor decking, vinyl siding, or painted surfaces.

Oxygenated bleach generally will contain one of three main, active ingredients:

  1. Sodium percarbonate
  2. Sodium perborate
  3. Hydrogen peroxide

Oxygenated bleach made from sodium percarbonate is an environmentally friendly, non-toxic disinfectant. Color safe, and gentler in every regard to chlorine bleach, the EPA has recognized it to be an effective mold, mildew, and contaminant remover. Sodium perborate is an oxidizing borate compound, often found in laundry detergent and tooth whitener. Depending on its level of concentration, hydrogen peroxide can be an effective cleaning agent (in liquid form), or a highly combustible propellant in powder form. All of them, used properly, will release oxygen to clean stains by decolorizing them.

oxygen bleach powder

Far and away the most popular of these active ingredients, because of its benign properties, is sodium percarbonate. This highly concentrated powder is, essentially, soda ash and hydrogen peroxide. If hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen and water, sodium percarbonate breaks down into oxygen, water, and soda ash.

How, then, does it work?

When combined with water (and you’ll want it to be fully immersed and dissolved), the oxygen becomes effervescent. The oxygen bubbles, faintly hissing and popping like a breakfast cereal in milk, break the bonds between surface and stain, pulling the stain from the surface, as well as disinfecting and deodorizing the area. Applied correctly, oxygenated bleach breaks down all organic stains and bacteria. This is an important distinction from other cleaners. You might not want to use it to clean synthetic oil stains, but for any organic stain, even mold, this is a safe and proven method for cleaning and disinfecting.

Manufacturers of sodium percarbonate cleaners add fragrances, detergents, and other surfactants. The higher the percentage of the active ingredient, the greater the level of bleaching action. Of course, too much of anything can be a bad thing. Sodium percarbonate is more effective at some pH levels than others. Mixing at higher water temperatures will affect results, as well.

When using any oxygenated cleaner, following directions is important. The good news, though, is that you can feel confident in both the efficacy, and safety, of a sodium percarbonate-based cleaner.

How To Get Rid Of Mold The Right Way

mold removal

When you have a bad case of mold, you definitely want to get the right information on how to get rid of it. Not only are most misguided suggestions toxic to you, but some will even make the mold return worse than before! Mold is different from dirt and grime and must be treated as such when seeking to remove it. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a few recommendations in a helpful guide that can get you started on the right track.*  We have provided additional information you may find useful to get rid of mold and more importantly, keep it from coming back. 

The first and most important step in mold remediation is to control moisture. You must stop the source of moisture or the mold will most likely always return. Locate and fix all water leaks. It is also important to let water damaged areas dry out completely before you begin treatment. 

Interior Mold Cleaning:

  1. NEVER USE CHLORINE BLEACH FOR CLEANING MOLD
  2. Clean mold with a non-toxic, non-chlorine based detergent, such as a sodium percarbonate based cleaner
  3. Clean and remove any visible presence of mold
  4. Allow the area to dry
  5. After surface has been cleaned and dried, treat all surfaces with a moisture barrier coating to prevent future mold growth

Places to look inside your home for leaks:

If you suspect mold growth, have a qualified inspector investigate for water leaks

If you suspect mold growth, have a qualified inspector investigate for water leaks

  • Refrigerator drain pan
  • A.C. air handler, overflow pan and condensate drain pipe
  • Any broken water pipes in the floor, wall or crawlspace
  • Remember, if you keep your living space closed up, you add moisture by bathing and cooking, etc. Always use your exhaust fans to vent moisture out of your home.

 

If you have a basement or crawlspace, moisture may be entering from:

  • Plumbing leaks
  • Water intrusion through outside walls. Call a professional or contractor. This surface will need to be waterproofed and a drain installed to redirect water to a low point away from your home. (French drain) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_drain
  • Rising damp – The process in which moisture rises from the unsealed ground in the crawlspace. Call a professional or contractor. A sump pump may be needed to extract ponding water to the outside.

NOTE: Mold WILL Grow in these conditions listed above. Around 60% of crawlspace air is circulated throughout your home. This moldy, mycotoxin infected air can cause extreme health problems in your home. 

 

How to Get Rid of Mold In a Crawlspace:

crawlspace mold
  1. Crawlspace should be first cleared of all debris.
  2. Surface should be washed. It is NEVER recommended to clean mold with toxic chlorine bleach. Always use a non-toxic cleaning solution.
  3. After surface has been cleaned and dried, treat all surfaces with a moisture barrier coating to prevent future mold growth.
  4. Seal the crawlspace from outside air.
  5. Line the floor with a minimum of 16 mil. polyethylene plastic sheeting.
  6. The walls should also be lined with the connecting ground covered poly up to the sill plate, attaching this portion of the poly with double-sided tape. NEVER use spray adhesive which can ignite.
  7. Install a dehumidifier to keep your conditioned crawlspace air dry.

NOTE: This exterior wall poly MUST be clear from the ground to sill plate. This will allow the surface to be visually inspected for termites.

Remember: Crawlspace remediation should be performed by a qualified professional. Feel free to contact us at 863.665.0203 for a free referral.

Need advice about your mold problem? We are always happy to help.

 

*http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Your Composite Deck

composite deck cleaner

 

All exterior decking requires cleaning. Although composite decking can be “less maintenance” than other types of decking, this certainly doesn’t mean “maintenance free”. In fact, there are some mistakes that can actually increase the regular care required to maintain a composite deck. Here are a few tips to avoid the extra work and get the most out of your deck.

USING THE WRONG CLEANER

Choosing the right cleaner can literally make or break your deck. Although the surface looks solid, composite decking is actually quite porous. Therefore, it needs an oxygenated cleaner that can reach deep into the material and clean inside the deck as well as the surface. When purchasing a cleaner, always check the label and NEVER use a Chlorine Bleach based “deck cleaner”. If the active ingredients read – Sodium Hypochlorite, it contains Bleach. Chlorine Bleach is extremely corrosive and will “eat” any material it’s applied to. Eventually, it will discolor your deck, damage the surface (not to mention your plants) and exacerbate any mold/mildew issues that can occur. Avoid this costly mistake and choose a non-toxic, sodium percarbonate based cleaner.

PRESSURE WASHING YOUR COMPOSITE DECKING

Pressure washing is not usually recommended for composite decking. If done incorrectly, it can be a big mistake. Pressure washing too close or using too much pressure can be ruinous for your deck. Composite decking material is softer than natural wood and therefore can be “etched” more easily. Once the material has been “opened up”, this can lead to a host of other issues including chipping, sun damage, and mold staining of the plastics inside the opening. Once mold has stained these plastics, it can be extremely hard to remove. In most cases, a garden hose should be sufficient for regular duty cleaning. If you must pressure wash, just remember to keep it at the lowest pressure possible and no closer than 8″ from the surface.

FORGETTING THE GAPS

A decking company recently contacted us for advice on how to prevent mold from growing under the deck. One of the biggest contributing factors to this problem is a simple step most people overlook during their regular cleaning – the gaps! Dirt and debris can build up over time collecting moisture providing the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Depending on your climate, the gaps between your deck boards should be cleared out at least once a year. This will allow the air to pass between the boards helping to keep the underside nice and dry.

USING THE WRONG TOOLS

The same advice applies here. Composite decking requires a little extra care when cleaning. Regular cleaning of dirt and debris can easily be done with a broom or a garden hose. For a deeper clean, always use a soft bristle scrub brush. Again, if you are using the right cleaner, less scrubbing will be required. For snow removal, choose a plastic shovel instead of metal.

PROTECTING THE DECK AFTER CLEANING

One of the most important and often excluded step in regular deck maintenance is to protect your deck against moisture intrusion. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is for composite decking! Any decking material exposed to the outdoors is susceptible to mold/mildew growth especially in climates with higher humidity levels. Water left pooling on the surface or inside your deck can create problems such as mold/mildew growth, deck rot, and warping. The good news is that mold can be prevented with a simple but consistent application of a moisture barrier. Once again, choosing the correct product is crucial to successfully protect your deck from mold. Beware of any “waterproofing” deck sealants or chemicals that “encapsulate” the deck. These products can trap moisture inside the deck causing more issues in the long run.

The most effective non-toxic solution to protect your deck is UltraBan. I can’t tell you how many customers who call and tell us they wished they knew about this product years ago. UltraBan was engineered specifically for the purpose of inhibiting mold growth on porous materials, without damaging the surface or the environment. When applied, it actually fuses with the decking creating an invisible shield protecting against mold and mildew. This technology has never been duplicated and if applied annually, you can rest assured that your deck will be protected year after year.

Composite decking is not only a beautiful addition to the home, but can offer many advantages over traditional wood decking. That being said, do your research! It is crucial to know how to properly care for a composite deck and taking the right steps will make all the difference.

Why Indoor Air Quality Should Be Important To You

Americans are spending more and more time indoors. Our homes should be a place of refuge, but unfortunately, many times the air in our home may not be as clean as we think. The EPA states that indoor air pollutants may be 2-5 times, and in some cases, more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels. With this in mind, it is important to consider the impact of poor indoor air quality in our homes and learn how to improve the air we breathe every day.

What is Indoor Air Quality and How Does It Affect Me?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality in a structure and how it affects a person’s health and comfort. Effects of poor indoor air include itchy, watering eyes, an irritated nose, and throat. Air pollutants can cause health issues that lead to chronic heart, and lung disease as well as cancer.


“Like the lungs, homes need to be able to breathe to make sure that fresh air comes in and dirty air goes out.” – American Lung Association


What Causes Poor Air Quality?

Some of the more common indoor pollutants are wood smoke, tobacco smoke, gas-burning utilities, radon gas, mold, allergens, and even insects such as cockroaches. Inadequate ventilation, high temperatures and humidity can also increase the poor air quality issue.

indoor air quality, plants

How Can I Improve My Indoor Air Quality?

Many air pollutants can be drastically reduced by proper ventilation with helpful tools such as exhaust fans, dehumidifiers and air conditioners. Be sure to clean your equipment regularly so they don’t become a cause of pollution.

Avoid using air fresheners and candles to hide odors. Cleaning the source of the odor and good ventilation is a better solution. Use less toxic household cleaners and don’t store hazardous chemicals in your home.

Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your home. Ask smokers to go outside.

Add houseplants to your decor. The NASA Clean Air Study suggests that some indoor plants may provide a natural way of removing toxic agents and leaving our homes with cleaner air.

Mold and your IAQ

The presence of mold has a huge effect on your IAQ. Mold thrives in a moist environment. If you control the moisture, you control the mold.

Proper ventilation is also essential to prevent moisture buildup and mold in high humidity areas. Be sure to install and use exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen. Eliminate water sources by repairing leaks right away and quickly drying out any flooded areas. Consider applying a moisture/mold barrier, such as UltraBan, to protect against future mold growth. We can make our homes a safer place with increased education and a little extra effort.

How To Clean Mold From A Composite Deck

rhino hide composite decking

Many choose composite decking for their home because of the long lasting materials, low maintenance, and beautiful designs. When black or green mold spots begin to appear, it can be very disappointing. All the misguided advice floating around can just add to the frustration. How can you easily clean a moldy deck, and more importantly, keep it from coming back?

 

How to Remove Mold From Your Deck

It is always a good idea to check with your manufacturer for recommendations. For instance, TREX® Composite decking recommends UltraMean2 as an eco-friendly alternative to many of the other harsh “deck cleaners” on the market. A common misconception when dealing with a moldy deck is to use Chlorine Bleach to clean it. This is NOT a good idea. Click this link to read why you should never use Chlorine Bleach to clean a composite deck.

The best solution for composite decking is a sodium percarbonate based cleaner, such as UltraMean2. It will provide you with a deep clean without damaging the deck.

How To Clean With UltraMean 2

What you will need:

  • UltraMean2
  • Pump Sprayer
  • Bucket for mixing and something to stir with
  • Soft bristle brush with long handle for scrubbing
  • Hose

Step 1:  Remove any patio furniture from deck and sweep to remove dirt and debris.

Step 2:  Start by mixing a small solution of UltraMean2 and clean water (warm or hot water preferred, but not necessary). Mix until completely dissolved. Some foaming is normal. This first solution will help you determine the cleaning strength you need. The label suggests 2-5 capfuls per 1 gallon of water for a medium duty clean and 4-8 capfuls for heavy duty cleaning. Starting on the weaker side, you can follow the next few steps and try cleaning a small area. If you determine that more concentrate is needed, just add more powder to your cleaning solutions and try again.

Step 3: Pour mixture into pump sprayer and apply to one area a deck liberally. It is best to work in one area at a time, because a wet deck can get quite slippery. As it cleans, you will see foaming action. This is the product working to clean deep inside the deck. Keep the area wet for at least 10 minutes. If it begins to dry just spray it again.

Step 4:  Scrub with a soft-bristled brush. You may notice the white foam turning black or grey, especially if your deck is very dirty.

Step 5:  Rinse with clean water. If you are satisfied, move to the next section of deck. For tough stains, spray again with fresh cleaner and let the solution sit on the deck longer. An oxygen bleach works best when allowed to sit for 20-40 minutes.  Scrub again and rinse. For stubborn areas, you can sprinkle some of the UltraMean2 powder onto the wet surface and scrub.

Step 6:  After the remaining sections of deck have been cleaned, allow to dry. If the deck was not rinsed thoroughly, a white residue will appear when dry. This is harmless soda ash and can be swept or hosed away.

How To Keep Mold From Coming Back

Cleaning a deck can be time consuming and hard work. Fortunately, that heavy duty cleaning can be avoided. If you use UltraBan Mold Barrier properly you may be able to retire the scrub brush. UltraBan is a unique formula that will penetrate the deck and create a protective invisible film that mold cannot grow on. Yes, it is completely invisible and will not change the look of your deck. You will only know it is there because mold hasn’t come back!

Regular weathering and traffic will not remove UltraBan’s invisible film. Even in harsh climates you can expect UltraBan to last for a year or longer! Once a year, do a light duty cleaning (detergent and water) and reapply UltraBan. Throughout the year, light duty maintenance such as regularly sweeping or hosing dirt or debris and cleaning up food spills immediately will keep your deck looking great.

Is using UltraBan hard? Not at all!

How To Apply UltraBan

You will need:

  • UltraBan ( 1 gallon will cover approximately  300-400 sq. ft. of composite deck.)
  • Pump sprayer
  • Clean sponge mop or something similar

Step 1:  Pour UltraBan into clean pump sprayer. DO NOT add water.

Step 2:  Spray surface to saturation. Apply to a completely dry deck for best results.

Step 3:  Keep wet for at least 15-20 minutes. If it starts to dry, spray again. It is best to do this application in the shade or when it is overcast to prevent the surface from drying too fast.

Step 4:  After about 10 minutes wet the sponge mop with UltraBan and wipe the surface once or twice. This will prevent pooling and ensure an even coverage.

Step 5:  Allow to dry. Once dry, you can relax! Your deck is now protected from mold. Repeat once a year for long lasting protection.

Need more? Visit our decking how-to page for more detailed instructions!

Why You Should Never Use Bleach To Clean Mold

For many households, chlorine bleach is generally seen as your “go-to” cleaner for tough jobs. Mold removal does requires a heavy duty cleaner, but recently, many of the hazards of bleach are gaining more media attention causing people to take a closer look at the way they clean.

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

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…

So now that we know how it works, how do we properly treat it? Big bleach labels have promised you that nothing else will do the job like bleach. Chlorine bleach is most well known for it disinfecting properties but that doesn't mean it's the best choice for mold. It’s main function is to disinfect and to, well, bleach or change the color. But after use, what usually happens? The moldy color looks like it’s gone but within a week or two the mold usually comes back and sometimes worse! Most homeowners don’t put together that it’s the bleach causing this reaction and not a really bad case of mold. The fact remains that if the mold is not removed from the material, it will most likely always return.

 

Does Bleach kill mold?

Yes, but it comes with a catch. Bleach labels will warn you that chlorine bleach will only be effective on a “hard, non-porous surface.’’ This basically means that chlorine bleach is not made to “soak in.” Therefore, its disinfecting properties are limited to a hard surface like tile or glass. So here’s the problem: To ensure survival, mold spores spread its roots (Mycelia) deep into a porous surface. Mold remediation requires a cleaner to reach deep down into wood and other porous building materials to remove or "pull out" the roots. The properties of bleach prevent it from soaking into these materials. The surface mold looks gone (it's bleached white) but the internal mold always remains to grow back.

Another issue: 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.


This chemical is considered hazardous by the 2012 OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.  Sodium Hypochlorite MSDS requires handlers in FULL Personal protection gear including respirespiratorsrs. 
 
"This chemical is considered hazardous by the 2012 OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.  Sodium Hypochlorite (Chlorine Bleach) MSDS requires handlers in FULL Personal protection gear including respirators."
 -CDC.gov   

Bleach and mold. A few facts to remember:

  • In some cases, bleach will encourage toxic mold to grow where it was not present before.
  • Bleach will only remove the green stain from mold. The surface will appear clean but internal roots will continue to grow.
  • OSHA and the EPA have specifically advised against the use of bleach for mold remediation. See link below*
  • Chlorine bleach is caustic and extremely harmful to wood and many other surfaces. If bleach is used on wood, it will weaken the wood by breaking down its fibers. This can create further problems with the structural integrity of the home.
  • When bleach is mixed with ammonia it creates a deadly gas! *Remember, Urine contains ammonia! Using bleach in the toilet could also create a toxic gas.
  • Bleach itself is considered a toxic chemical and is classified the same as gasoline.
  • In its gaseous form (room temperature) chlorine releases Dioxins, a known cancer causing compound.
  • Bleach is highly corrosive to skin. Exposure to bare skin creates a hydrolysis reaction. This means the “oily” feeling is actually the top layer of your skin beginning to dissolve!
  • Bleach is not only hazardous to your health, it will make your mold problem worse in the long run.

A safer and more effective alternative to Chlorine Bleach:

Dead or alive, mold spores can still remain allergenic. In some severe cases, depending on the material, it may need to be replaced. Hard surfaces that aren't ruined by moisture damage can be salvaged and cleaned. In this scenario, we recommend UltraMean-2, a non-toxic, non-chlorine, oxygen bleach based detergent that can penetrate to reach deeply embedded (mold) roots and pull them out. Remember to always take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. Proper steps must be taken to prevent yourself from exposure to toxic mold spores that can make you sick and spread to other areas of the house. Safety gear such as gloves, mask and safety goggles are always recommended.

After the surface has been cleaned and completely dried, it is very important to follow up with UltraBan, a mold preventative. Do NOT skip this step! If mold has occurred once, it can always occur again. UltraBan was designed to help keep this from happening and will provide your home with a protective barrier to prevent future mold growth.

These products can easily be purchased on Amazon, at rhinohide.com or over the phone at 863.665.0203. 

* [ https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html ,http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html ]

Need advice? Call 863.665.0203 or leave a message below to speak with one of our highly trained representatives.

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