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Does bleach kill bacteria, viruses, and mould?

Keeping your house hygienic is important and bleach is a great tool to help with this. But does bleach kill bacteria and viruses? Can you use bleach on mould to get rid of it? Read on to find out.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Cleanipedia Team

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Mould is a common problem in many households. In fact, studies have found that around 62% of homes contain Cladosporium moulds which are often dark brown or black, while around 41% of homes contain penicillium moulds which can appear in shades of blue or green. Not only is mould not particularly nice to look at, but it can also cause a wide range of health problems, especially in children who do not yet have strong immune systems, and in adults who suffer from allergies or asthma.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of different advice regarding how to clean mould that has resulted in many homeowners not fully understanding the best ways to get rid of existing spores and prevent new growth. Want to know ‘does bleach kill bacteria and viruses including mould?’ This guide is here to help demystify mould and bacteria cleaning methods with bleach.

Using a good quality bleach which not only kills mould, but can also help to protect your family from common household germs like Salmonella and E. coli.

Does bleach kill mould?

The short answer to ‘does bleach kill mould?’ is, yes, but it’s a bit more complicated than a yes or no answer. Bleach is great for cleaning mould on non-porous surfaces such as tiles and sinks. However, bleach can’t kill mould on porous surfaces, such as those made of wood.

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For alternatives to cleaning mould with bleach, check out our guide for removing black mould in the bathroom and kitchen.

How does bleach kill bacteria and mould?

So how does bleach kill germs such as bacteria and mould? Bleach is considered to be a powerful antifungal agent that is capable of attacking mould spores that have started to grow in your bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or any other room in your home. This is because it contains the active ingredient sodium hypochlorite which is effective at killing viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

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Cleaning mould with bleach

You may have noticed that mould seems to grow quicker in the bathroom and kitchen – this is because these rooms often have ideal conditions for growth: they’re warm and damp.

Before you start to clean with bleach, be sure to spot test the area first - particularly if you are cleaning mould off walls with bleach. Here’s how to use bleach on mould to help disinfect your home:

  • Spray – Use Domestos Bleach Spray to cover the area. You don’t have to mix anything up and the spray helps get into hard to reach corners. Allow it to soak in for a moment.

  • Wipe – With a clean cloth, wipe down the surfaces you have sprayed. Any build-up should be easy to remove at this point, but pay attention to any trouble areas. Ensure you wear gloves and protect your eyes and skin while you’re working!

  • Assess – Take a step back and reassess if you need to focus on any areas in particular for a second time.

Once you’ve cleaned the area, it’s important to wash your cloths to ensure you don’t encourage the spread of bacteria and fungi. Learn how to wash microfiber cloths

How long does it take bleach to kill germs and mould?

Using bleach on mould as well as to disinfect your home is considered one of the most effective ways to keep your home hygienic. But how long does it take bleach to kill germs lurking on your surfaces?

The answer: not very long. If you’re cleaning with bleach to disinfect the home, leave it to settle for five minutes before wiping away. If you’re cleaning mould with bleach, try and leave on for half an hour if possible for the best results. Just make sure the area is out of reach of little ones or your pets.

Does bleach get rid of mould for good?

So, you now know the answer to ‘does bleach kill mould?’ (yes) but does bleach remove mould for good and prevent regrowth?

Bleach isn’t just good for killing mould spores, it’s great for preventing mould growth in the future, too. Research has found that growth is ‘significantly inhibited’ 12 hours after treatment with an antifungal agent such as bleach or rubbing alcohol. Regular maintenance should make a big difference in growth.

Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

Cleaning mould with bleach safely

Whichever antifungal agent you choose to help tackle mould in your home, it’s important to stay safe while cleaning. Keep your windows and doors open when using bleach and vinegar to improve airflow and reduce fumes, and always wear gloves and any other necessary protective clothing as these cleaning solutions can irritate the skin. And always keep children and pets away from the area until it’s safe.

This article has focused on answering ‘does bleach kill bacteria and viruses’ and ‘how does bleach kill viruses’, as well as arming you with the tools for cleaning mould with bleach on household surfaces. For information on how to remove mould and mildew on clothing, check out our guide.

Originally published