How Do You Kill Mold on Porous Surfaces?

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Is there a strange odor gradually spreading all over your house and you can’t seem to figure out the source? Wondering how those unsightly, black spots on your drywall got there? Well, you probably have a mold infestation problem.

Hydrogen peroxide is the best mold cleaner for porous surfaces such as bathroom items, clothing, and others. Spray the moldy surface to saturation with 3% hydrogen peroxide then leave it for 15 minutes. Scrub the area with a stiff brush then wipe dry. Avoid rinsing since it encourages mold regrowth.

Mold fungi are common home invaders, especially in regions with hot and humid climates. These organisms spread via their spores and can cause various problems, including aesthetical issues and health issues. Porous surfaces such as fabric, paper, and untreated wood are typically more prone to mold infestations, compared to non-porous surfaces such as metal. If you have mold growing on the porous surfaces within your home, this guideline takes you through everything you may need to know regarding the same.

How Do You Kill Mold on Porous Surfaces?

Why does mold grow on porous surfaces?

Mold fungi, just like decay fungi, thrive in warm and moist conditions. Porous surfaces easily absorb moisture and retain it, thereby presenting mold with a conducive living environment. Urgent mold remediation on these porous surfaces will prevent discoloration and wider spreading of the mold fungi in your home.

By contrast, water cannot penetrate non-porous surfaces, and as such, these surfaces can’t trap moisture. Mold can still grow on non-porous surfaces, but the ability to retain water makes porous surfaces their preferred living habitats.

How to kill mold on porous surfaces

There are a number of ways to get rid of mold on surfaces that are porous.

1. Killing Mold using Vinegar

Vinegar is a prolific mold-killer, as it can eliminate more than three-quarters of all known mold species. This natural, acidic cleaning agent is safe for use as it doesn’t pose any health risks. The only downside to vinegar, however, is its strong, unpleasant smell.

Vinegar is also mild compared to stronger mold-killers like bleach solutions. It is, therefore, best used on minor mold infestations. You’ll also want to avoid adding water to your vinegar as it’s at its most effective in its concentrated, pure form. To use white vinegar to get rid of mold on porous surfaces within your home, follow the procedure detailed below:

  • Wear protective gear: Despite vinegar being non-toxic, you still need to protect yourself from the mold spores by wearing a protective face mask and a pair of hand gloves.
  • Fill an empty spray bottle with distilled white vinegar.
  • Spray the vinegar on the moldy parts of your porous surface and let it stay on the surface for about an hour to ensure maximum absorption.
  • Finish up by wiping the porous surface with a dry piece of cloth.

Dont rinse the surface since the water will only encourage mold to grow back. This method is also effective in removing white mold on carpets.

2. Killing Mold using Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a great alternative to chlorine bleach for killing mold growth on porous surfaces, as it doesn’t pose any toxicity threats to the environment. Being a natural bleaching agent, it also helps fade away the mold stains that remain on surfaces after all mold growth has been removed. You can adopt the procedure detailed below to kill mold on porous surfaces in your house using hydrogen peroxide:

  • Undertake a spot test. To ensure that hydrogen peroxide doesn’t discolor your porous surface, ensure you spot-test it on a small section of the surface before using it on the entire surface.
  • Next, fill an empty spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide. You can easily purchase 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide at your local drug store.
  • Next, spray the moldy, porous surface until it’s saturated with hydrogen peroxide. You should let it stay on the surface for roughly 15 minutes for maximum efficacy.
  • After the 15-minute wait-time has elapsed, use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the porous surface, then finish off by wiping up the surface to remove any mold residue.

Again, don’t rinse the surface with water to avoid the regrowth of mold.

2. Killing Mold using Borax

Borax is a natural cleaning agent that won’t effuse toxic fumes into the atmosphere, as is the case with chemical-based mold killers. This mold-inhibiting white mineral powder is usually readily-available in supermarket stores. To effectively kill mold on porous surfaces using borax, follow the procedure detailed below:

  • Mix a cupful of borax powder with a gallon of water in a large bucket and stir the mixture to form borax-water solution.
  • Dip a stiff-bristled cleaning brush into the cleaning solution and brush against the mold-infested, porous surface. Repeat this step until you’ve gotten rid of all the mold growth.
  • Once you’re done, let the surface air-dry and avoid rinsing off the borax solution, as it’ll help prevent any subsequent mold infestation.

Althoigh Borax is a mostly-harmless chemical, you should still wear protective gear when using it to avoid contact with the eyes, skin and your mouth.

3. Killing Mold using Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is arguably the most efficient mold-killer amongst all the numerous natural mold-elimination options. The fact that it can kill virtually all mold species without posing any health threats to your home’s inhabitants makes this anti-fungal product a popular mold-killing product. The steps for using tea tree oil for mold on porous surfaces are elaborated below:

  • Mix a cupful of water with a teaspoonful of tea tree oil in a spray container.
  • Next, spray the solution on the mold-infested porous surface and let it stay there, as the tea tree oil will ward off any further mold growth. This is because there could still be mold spores present in other parts of the room that will later on to the porous surface that you’ve already freed-up of mold.

Remember, just like vinegar, tea tree oil also has a strong, unpleasant smell. However, that shouldn’t deter you from using it, as the odor typically goes away after a short time.

4. Killing Mold using Baking Soda

Just like any other natural mold-killer, baking soda doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals that pose an environmental and health risk. It is also a natural deodorizer that will get rid of the unpleasant smell within your rooms that’s caused by mold growth.

Not only will baking soda kill mold on your porous surfaces, but also help prevent future mold infestation by soaking up moisture from these surfaces. If you want to use baking soda to get rid of mold on porous surfaces at home, follow the steps outlined below:

  • Pour water into an empty spray bottle until it’s almost full, then, add a half a teaspoonful of baking soda. Next, close the bottle and shake the mixture until the all the baking soda particles are dissolved.
  • Now, spray the baking soda solution onto the moldy area while scrubbing with a hard-bristled brush.
  • Once done, remove any residual mold by rinsing the porous surface with clean water.
  • You can repeat the above steps if the mold infestation is severe and a single baking soda wash doesn’t get rid of all the mold growth.

5. Killing Mold using Lemon Juice

If you’re concerned about the musty mold smell more than the mold spores themselves, lemon juice would be a good option for you. This natural mold-killer is acidic and leaves behind a pleasant smell that replaces the mildew-like smell of the destroyed mold. Here’s a short procedure for eliminating mold on porous surfaces using lemon juice:

  • Add some lemon juice into a spray bottle. If you’re working on a budget, you can make your own lemon juice at home by blending lemon slices. Otherwise, concentrated lemon juice is always available for purchase at local supermarkets.
  • Spray the lemon juice directly onto the mold growth. Due to its acidity, it’ll quickly kill the mold spores on the porous surface.
  • To kill the mold spores that may have already penetrated the porous surface, work the lemon juice into the porous structure using a stiff-bristle brush.

You should repeat the above steps until you can no longer spot any mold growth.

The good thing about lemon juice is that you can combine it with other natural mold-killing products like vinegar for improved results.

How to Prevent Mold from Growing on Porous Surfaces

It’s always better to take proactive measures when it comes to dealing with mold growth on porous surfaces, as the time, labor, and financial costs of removing mold are usually greater than the cost of preventing the same from invading your premises in the first place.

Once you’ve got rid of mold using the methods we detailed in the preceding sections, you can stop the mold from coming back using the methods discussed below:

1. Minimize room humidity

Mold thrives in hot and humid conditions, which is why you’ll want to keep your room humidity levels low. You can ensure this by controlling actions that increase hot moisture levels in the air. For instance, you can cover cooking pots to minimize the amount of hot steam being released into the air.

Other preventive measures include leaving your bathroom window open while taking a hot shower, dry-washing outdoors, and turning on the fans within rooms that are prone to high humidity like kitchens and bathrooms.

2. Ensure Proper Ventilation

Proper air circulation allows for humid air within your rooms to mix up with dry air, thereby minimizing the chances of mold fungi deeming your home’s interior as a suitable habitat. You can ensure proper ventilation by investing in a modern HVAC system, or by regularly opening windows to let in fresh air from outside.


Porous surfaces highly absorb and retain moisture and mold find this conducive to thrive. Other than being a health hazard, mold can stain or discolor your fabrics and other porous surfaces in your home. If you’re live in humid or mold-prone areas, always inspect and get rid of mold as soon as possible.

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