Are the rumors true? Does alcohol (in any form) actually kill mold spores? Let’s find out!
Does Alcohol Kill Mold?
When it comes to removing mold, alcohol is used as an emulsifier and also as a drying agent. This means that it can assist in the mold removal process and may even kill some types of mold but it has a lower success rates than other mold removal products.
Any form of alcohol will work, including denatured alcohol and rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol).
However, inexpensive “bottom shelf” vodka’s tend to be filtered less and distilled fewer times, meaning they contain more congeners like acetaldehyde which is far more toxic to mold than rubbing alcohol or ethanol. Because vodka has such a high, pure alcohol content, it is antimicrobial making it the better choice of alcohols for mold.
Alcohol is particularly recommended for removing mold and mildew from leather goods like luggage, purses, jackets and furniture, fabric-covered furniture, and books.
Mold Removal With Rubbing Alcohol
When using rubbing alcohol, you want to stick with a higher concentration. I use the 99% rubbing alcohol myself. When you dilute the alcohol, be sure that the alcohol concentration does not fall below 60%. When the alcohol concentration falls under 50 percent, its efficiency for sterilizing and disinfecting drops which means it is not as effective on killing mold.
In a large spray bottle add one cup of rubbing alcohol and ¾ cup of distilled water if you are using the 99% version. Otherwise you need to scale the water down if you are using a lesser concentration of rubbing alcohol. I do not suggest using anything less than a 70% concentration.
Here’s how to remove mold with alcohol
- Using a scrub brush or sponge, remove the surface mold.
- Spray the affected area again and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes wipe away the remaining mold spores with a damp rag.
Mold Removal With Vodka
- Pour the vodka into a glass spray bottle like this one.
- Spray the affected area with the vodka.
- Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
- Spray the area a second time and scrub away any visible mold.
- Wipe away the remaining mold spores with a damp rag.
Pros of Using Alcohol To Kill Mold
- Alcohol dries rapidly, making it a good choice for cleaning surfaces that would be further damaged by prolonged moisture.
- The smell dissipates quickly.
- You can use it successfully on porous and non-porous surfaces.
- It is easy to obtain and relatively inexpensive depending on which type of alcohol you choose.
- It is “natural” and therefore non-toxic from a fumes standpoint.
Cons of Using Alcohol To Kill Mold
- Drinking any form of alcohol can cause mild to severe health issues. It is best kept away from children and pets.
- It’s flammable.
- It doesn’t tackle every type of mold.
- It helps remove mold better than it renders spores inactive.
- Alcohol does NOT remove or kill mycotoxins. This is a major con. Be sure to read my post about mycotoxins so you have a better understanding of why you need those bad babies dead.
Cost of Alcohol
You can find rubbing alcohol for just a few dollars per bottle. Vodka can also be picked up relatively cheaply since you want to choose the bottom shelf varieties.
Where To Buy Alcohol
Grocery stores, drugstores, and big box stores all usually sell various kinds of alcohol. Any liquor store will have vodka.
Is Alcohol My Go-To To Kill Mold?
Nope. Like I mentioned above, it doesn’t tackle mycotoxins and where there is mold there are mycotoxins. There is only one product that I trust completely to kill both mold spores and mycotoxins. If you are interested, you can check out my favorite product to kill mold and mycotoxins here.
I DO like to use alcohol and vinegar in my floor cleaner recipe. It helps prevent mold spores from sticking to the grout and flourishing should a leak occur. You can grab the world’s best floor cleaner recipe here. It is also an awesome countertop cleaner, bathtub and shower cleaner, and window and mirror cleaner. Basically I use this on everything!
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Mycotoxins and ozone chambers aside, would you say alcohol or vinegar is more effective for treating mold on leather so that it won’t grow through a new finish? Thanks for your fantastic and informative site!
Hi again! I would choose alcohol over vinegar in this case! Glad I could help and reach out any time.
Mold Testing says
You have stated a lot of helpful and interesting information. You should clean up the mold promptly and fix the problem. If you are unsure about how to clean it consult a professional.
Hi Jen, A few months ago my bathrm. sink faucet was accidentally left on quite a while & flooded the floor, which then. leaked into the basement. Now I noticed what looks.like white mold spreadng along the basement ceiling beams. This is a very old home & the beams are large, rough cut. Would spraying the cleaner/mold killer on the beams kill the mold & stop it from spreading? I plan on ordering some of the products as they sound very good to try.
Hi Elaine! This is what I would use for this specific situation. You need to treat the beams first with a specific concentration of small batch peroxide. This is the one to use: https://biobalancenow.com/product/biobalance-peroxide-kit/?wpam_id=1
David George Lewis says
You write that the alcohol should not go below 70% to kill mould, but then go on to recommend cheap Vodka as the best alcohol carrier. But (at least where I live) Vodka is usually 40%, with premium brands going up to 50%. The cheap Vodkas are usually 37,5%. Can you please clarify?
I have mould on the fabric on the inside of the soft-top on my car. Any recommendations? I don´t want to use a spray, as that will be very difficult spraying vertically upwards, and I will get fall-out over the interior of the car. Any suggestions? Can I just as well wipe on as spray? Could steaming be an alternative?