Does Vinegar Kill Mold?

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Vinegar has long been the go-to when it comes to cleaning a small patch of mold like toilet mold, shower mold, and the like. It has been used as a cleaner for centuries and certainly has earned its place as an effective cleaning and disinfecting agent. But does vinegar kill mold? Let’s find out!

What Is Vinegar?

Vinegar is mainly an aqueous solution of acetic acid. It is produced through a fermentation process. It can take from a few months to a whole year. There are many types of vinegars, including fruits, grains, alcoholic beverages, and other fermentable materials.

The types of vinegar are:

  • White
  • Wine
  • Rice
  • Apple Cider
  • Red
  • Malt
  • Balsamic
  • Black
  • Cane

When it comes to mold and vinegar, white vinegar is the common and most effective choice. Although other vinegar, such as apple cider or wine vinegar might have an acetic acid component, their sugar content promotes mold growth which you obviously don’t want.

A bottle of vinegar, a yellow sponge, and a pair of yellow dish washing gloves. Does vinegar kill mold is written above the image.

Does Vinegar Kill Mold?

Vinegar will easily penetrate any porous surface and has the potential to remove the underlying membrane as well as the mold growth on the surface. This means it works well on both porous and non-porous surfaces. Studies have shown that white vinegar kills 82% of mold species. This is because it is mildly acidic (pH of 2.5) in nature.

How Do You Use Vinegar To Kill Mold?

  • Fill a glass spray bottle with UNDILUTED distilled white vinegar. Distilled white vinegar contains only 5-20% of acetic acid. If you dilute the vinegar in water, the acetic acid concentration will be decreased and becomes less effective.
  • Spray generously until the mold is 100% covered and wet.
  • After spraying, let the vinegar sit for 2 hours so it can penetrate the mold and kill it completely.
  • After two hours, grab a scrub brush, tooth brush, or sponge and scrub the moldy area until everything comes off. If it is tough area, you may need an electric scrub brush like this one.
  • Wipe the area down with warm water (do not saturate the area) and allow it to dry.

Pros of Using Vinegar To Kill Mold

  • Earth friendly
  • Non-toxic and safe to use around people and pets
  • Works on porous and non-porous surfaces
  • Easy to source and very cheap
  • Does kill 82% of mold species

Cons of Using Vinegar To Kill Mold

  • Leaves a strong odor that lingers for a while
  • Can leave 18% or more of mold species alive and well
  • It 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.

Popular Questions Related To Vinegar And Mold

Vinegar and mold is a highly searched for term. As such, I wanted to tackle a few of the most commonly asked questions.

Is bleach or vinegar better to kill mold?

Never, ever use bleach to kill mold. Read that post and you will understand why.

How long does it take for vinegar to kill mold?

No one really knows although the general consensus is a couple of hours.

Does killing mold with vinegar and peroxide work?

You are going to want to take a moment to read my post on hydrogen peroxide and mold. If you are short on time then the takeaway is that peroxide can oxidize surface mold which decomposes it however, it doesn’t necessarily work on all types of mold.

You don’t want to mix the vinegar and peroxide. Most people use the peroxide to remove any “leftover” mold spores or discoloration after you have cleaned with vinegar.

Does cleaning mold with vinegar and baking soda work?

The baking soda itself doesn’t hold any superpowers to kill mold. Basically, when you mix vinegar and baking soda, you create more of a scouring type of solution that helps better loosed mold spores than vinegar alone. But vinegar and elbow grease (or that electric scrubber) do the same thing and maybe even do it better.

Cost of Vinegar

It is so cheap! You shouldn’t pay more than a few dollars for a gallon it.

Where To Buy Vinegar

Any grocery store, big box store, hardware store, drugstore, and even some convenience stores. Amazon always has several choices as well.

Is Vinegar My Go-To To Kill Mold?

Not typically. 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 vinegar for mold prevention however and use it as an “after shower” spray. Spraying vinegar on wet or damp surfaces like a shower, bathtub, or inside a washing machine is a great way to prevent mold from taking root. In addition, vinegar works great at preventing mold inside toilet tanks when added weekly.

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A glass bottle of vinegar, a yellow dish towel, a scrub brush, and a blue scouring pad. The words "can you clean and kill black mold with vinegar" are written above

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  1. What studies have shown that vinegar kills 82% of moulds? I can’t find any anywhere that say that!

  2. Hi Jennifer! I absolutely love your blog. You should add Bon Ami to your cleaning solutions for mold. Although it doesn’t kill mold, it is one of those abrasive cleaners that is very safe and nontoxic but also easily removes soap scum. Soap scum is one of the foods that molds adhere to especially in my experience. You can take some bon ami and use a rough sponge which in my opinion is even easier to clean the soap scum than baking soda is. It makes for less scrubbing. Again, thanks for the blog. I am going to use your drain cleaning instructions! 🙂

    1. Hi Lila! I personally love Bon Ami! Great idea to use it in place of baking soda. I don’t think many people consider doing that. I see a possible future article…