How to Use Borates to Kill Mold

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Mold can damage your home and belongings and even your health, especially if you suffer from allergies or asthma. A thorough cleaning that includes a borate-based detergent can eliminate mold on surfaces and keep it from growing back. Borate is a colorless and odorless material made from the element boron. It is non-toxic to humans but toxic to mold.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Plastic sheeting or drop cloths
  • Goggles
  • Plastic gloves
  • Mask
  • Scrub brushes
  • Clean rags
  • Bucket
  • Mild liquid detergent
  • Borate-based detergent, such as borax
  • Put on the goggles, gloves and mask. If you are cleaning a large or very contaminated area, consider wearing a particle mask that carries Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approval.

  • Remove any furnishings from the contaminated room. Vacuum the room to pick up loose mold spores. Throw out the vacuum bag.

  • Cover vents and openings with plastic sheeting or drop cloths to seal off the area so that loose mold spores cannot spread to other areas. Open a window for ventilation.

  • Scrub the moldy surface with a mild liquid detergent dissolved in warm water. Use enough detergent to make a sudsy solution. Rinse and allow the surface to dry. Discard the solution.

  • Mix one cup of borate-based detergent with one gallon of water and scrub the surface again. Scrub hard with a clean, sturdy brush until the area appears mold-free.

  • Wipe up any drips or mold dust. Do not rinse the area; the borate needs to stay behind to kill any remaining mold. Dispose of the solution and cleaning materials.

  • Allow the cleaned area to dry before painting or refinishing.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you need to clean a moldy area larger than 10 square feet, hire a professional cleaning company skilled in mold remediation.
  • Never paint over mold. It will continue to grow and cause the paint to peel.

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