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Discover how alcohol can effectively kill mold and mildew in your home. Explore the differences between alcohol and bleach for mold removal, and find out when to call in professional help.

If you're like me, you probably want to keep your home clean and mold-free. Mold is not just unsightly; it can also be harmful, especially black mold.

I've spent a lot of time looking for effective, sustainable ways to tackle this issue, and alcohol keeps coming up as a popular option.

But does alcohol really kill mold? Let's dive into it together.

Using alcohol as a mold killer is quite common. You might have heard of people using rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol to get rid of mold. It's an easy-to-find solution, and it doesn't have the harsh chemicals that many commercial mold killers have. Plus, it's often something you already have at home.

In this blog, I'll share what I've learned about using alcohol to kill mold. I'll cover how effective it is, the types of alcohol you can use, and how to apply it safely.

Key Takeaways

  • Rubbing alcohol effectively kills mold on hard, non-porous surfaces by breaking down its cell walls.
  • Alcohol doesn’t kill mold spores or address moisture issues, so mold may return if not properly managed.
  • For larger mold problems or porous surfaces, professional mold remediation is recommended to ensure thorough removal and prevention.

Can Alcohol Kill Mold?

So, can alcohol kill mold? The short answer is yes, alcohol can kill mold on hard and porous surfaces. Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) is effective but doesn’t kill mold spores or mycotoxins. Also, it may damage some surfaces and is flammable.

I first tried using alcohol when I noticed some mold in my bathroom. Rubbing alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol, is what I used. It’s great because it kills many microbes by dissolving lipids and denaturing proteins. I mixed one part rubbing alcohol with one part water and used it on the mold.

It worked pretty well for removing mold on hard surfaces like tiles and countertops.

While it works on mold, it doesn’t do much against mold spores or mycotoxins. These are the nasty things that can affect our health.

So, alcohol can’t tackle the root of the problem.

I also tried using vodka once because I’d read about it online. It felt fancy, but rubbing alcohol worked better. Be careful though, alcohol can damage some surfaces. My wooden table didn’t appreciate the rubbing alcohol treatment at all. It also doesn’t work well on painted surfaces, acrylic, plastic, or rubber.

Remember, alcohol is a drying agent. It helps dry out mold spots faster than bleach. But, remember, mold can be stubborn. Some say alcohol kills mold in minutes, others say hours. This means you might not kill it thoroughly, and it can come back.

Also, alcohol is flammable. Using it around the house comes with its risks. And, let’s face it, alcohol won’t fix the root cause of mold. The mold might come back if you don’t address what’s causing it in the first place.

For big mold problems, I recommend calling in mold remediation pros. They can find the cause, remove the mold, and help prevent it from returning. Sometimes, it’s best to leave it to the experts.

By the way, are you a gardener who has a compost pile in the backyard? Then, you should definitely understand whether you should be worried about mold in your compost pile. 

Can Mold Spores Survive in Alcohol?

Does alcohol kill mold spores

No, mold spores cannot survive in alcohol. However, in this case, the strength of alcohol is super important.

Ethyl alcohol, the type you find in grape juice fermentation, is a good example. Saccharomyces yeast thrives in grape juice, producing alcohol as a by-product until it reaches about 13–14%. Beyond that, the yeast slows down and stops working, though it can still function under ideal conditions up to 16–17%.

However, at 20% ethanol, nothing survives. This concentration is strong enough to preserve against molds.  In my research, I found that ethanol kill mold just as effectively as other alcohol types.

Using high-proof alcohol can be quite handy for sanitizing around the house. 

But the issue remains elsewhere.

Mold itself is pretty easy to kill. But killing a mold spore? That’s a different story! The real challenge is killing mold without causing cross-contamination and ensuring it doesn’t come back.

Think of mold like a dandelion, with the seeds being the spores. Imagine each spore has a protective layer around it, like an almond. Here’s the tricky part: when you spray mold with vinegar, bleach, or any mold killer, it’s like spraying a dandelion with weed killer. Before the spray even hits, thousands of spores are sent flying from the pressure of the droplets.

These spores can start new mold colonies wherever they land. Even the spores that get hit by the spray have that protective layer. So, like a dandelion, you can kill the plant, but if it’s gone to seed, it will spread.

Mold remediation is about mold removal, not just killing it. Removing the mold completely is the only way to ensure it doesn’t come back and spread.

How Long Does it Take for Alcohol to Kill Mold?

How Long Does it Take for Alcohol to Kill Mold

How long does it take for alcohol to kill mold? Well, the answer isn’t straightforward. From my experience, it can vary depending on the situation.

When I used rubbing alcohol to kill mold on some bathroom surfaces, I noticed it started working within a few minutes. The mold began to dissolve and wipe away easily. But here’s the catch: while alcohol can kill mold on contact, it might not be enough for stubborn infestations.

Some experts suggest leaving the alcohol on the mold for at least 15 minutes to ensure it kills the surface mold. However, this doesn’t mean the job is done. Unlike visible mold, mold spores, which are tiny and resilient, might still survive.

If you’re dealing with mold on hard surfaces like tiles or countertops, alcohol works fairly quickly. But on porous surfaces like fabrics or wood, it might take longer and may not be as effective.

You should also know that mold remediation usually takes about seven days

How To Kill Mold with Alcohol

How To Kill Mold with Alcohol

If you’re dealing with mold and want to try using alcohol to get rid of it, follow these simple steps. This mold removal process works best for small moldy areas on hard surfaces.

Alcohol can clean mold stains on porous surfaces, like fabrics. It is particularly effective for minor mold stains when combined with water, although it has a limited impact on mold and is not effective against every type of mold.

Step 1: Clean the Moldy Area

First, clean the moldy area with soap and water. This helps remove dirt and makes the alcohol more effective.

Step 2: Let the Surface Dry

After cleaning, let the surface dry completely. This is important because alcohol works better on dry surfaces.

Step 3: Mix Alcohol and Water

Next, mix together a 1:1 ratio of rubbing alcohol and water. You can use isopropyl alcohol, which is often the most effective. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle for easy application.

Ethanol can also be used to kill mold, though it's less common than isopropyl alcohol.

Step 4: Apply the Alcohol Mixture

Spray the alcohol mixture onto the moldy area. If you don’t have a spray bottle, you can use a sponge to apply it. Make sure the moldy spots are thoroughly soaked with the solution.

Step 5: Let It Sit

Allow the alcohol to sit on the moldy area for at least 15 minutes. This gives it time to kill the mold effectively.

Step 6: Wipe Clean

After 15 minutes, wipe the area clean with a cloth. Make sure to remove all the mold and alcohol residue.

Step 7: Let the Surface Dry Again

Finally, let the surface dry completely. This helps prevent mold from returning.

Does Alcohol Kill Mildew?

Does Alcohol Kill Mildew - Mold vs Mildew

Yes, alcohol can kill mildew.

When I first tried using alcohol for mildew, I was surprised at how well it worked. I mixed rubbing alcohol with water in a 1:1 ratio and applied it to the mildew spots. After letting it sit for about 15 minutes, I wiped it away easily.

Alcohol is effective on hard surfaces. Ethanol kills mildew by breaking down its cell walls, making it easier to remove. Plus, it dries quickly, helping to prevent the mildew from returning. 

However, alcohol doesn't kill mildew spores. These tiny spores can survive and spread, so it’s important to keep the area dry and well-ventilated to prevent future growth.

Mildew can usually be cleaned with household cleaners and proper ventilation. Regular cleaning and reducing humidity can help prevent mildew growth. Using alcohol is a quick and easy way to clean small mildew spots. But for larger infestations, you might need more thorough cleaning methods or professional help. Keeping your home dry and well-ventilated is key to preventing mildew in the first place.

What Kills Mold Better, Bleach or Alcohol?

What Kills Mold Better Bleach or Alcohol

When it comes to treating mold, both bleach and alcohol are popular options. But which one is better? Let’s break it down.


Bleach is a powerful mold killer. It works by destroying the mold’s cell structure. I’ve used bleach on stubborn mold in my bathroom tiles, and it was pretty effective. Here are some key points:

  • Effectiveness: Bleach can kill mold on hard, non-porous surfaces like tiles and glass. It also whitens surfaces, making them look cleaner.
  • Limitations: Bleach doesn’t work well on porous surfaces like wood or drywall. It can’t penetrate deep enough to kill mold roots, which means the mold can grow back.
  • Health Risks: Bleach is a strong chemical and can be harmful to your health. It produces fumes that can irritate your skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Always use it in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gear.


Alcohol, particularly rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol), is another effective mold killer. Here’s what I’ve found:

  • Effectiveness: Alcohol kills mold on hard surfaces by breaking down the mold’s cell walls. It works well on tiles, glass, and countertops. It dries quickly, which helps prevent mold from returning.
  • Limitations: Like bleach, alcohol doesn’t kill mold spores, so it might not prevent future mold growth. It also may not be as effective on porous surfaces.
  • Safety: Alcohol is less harsh than bleach and generally safer to use. However, it’s flammable, so be careful when using it around heat sources.

Which is Better?

It depends on the situation. For non-porous surfaces and immediate cleaning, bleach can be more effective. But for a safer, less harsh option, alcohol is a good choice.

What Do Professionals Use to Kill Mold?

What Do Professionals Use to Kill Mold

When it comes to dealing with mold, professionals use a variety of specialized tools and methods to ensure thorough removal and prevention. Here’s what they typically rely on:

For big mold problems, I recommend calling in a mold remediation company. They have the professional equipment, resources, and expertise needed to effectively tackle mold infestations. Additionally, it's wise to obtain multiple quotations and consider the reputation of each company before making a decision.

1. Commercial-Grade Cleaners and Fungicides

Professionals often use commercial-grade mold cleaners and fungicides. These products are stronger and more effective than household cleaners. They are designed to kill mold spores and prevent regrowth. One common product is Concrobium, which forms a protective layer on surfaces to prevent mold.

2. HEPA Vacuums

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuums are used to remove mold spores from surfaces. These vacuums are equipped with special filters that capture tiny particles, ensuring that mold spores are not released back into the air.

3. Dehumidifiers

To address the root cause of mold, which is often excess moisture, professionals use industrial-strength dehumidifiers. These machines reduce humidity levels in the affected area, making it less hospitable for mold growth.

4. Air Scrubbers

Air scrubbers are used to clean the air in mold-infested areas. These devices remove mold spores and other contaminants from the air, improving indoor air quality and reducing the risk of mold spreading.

5. Protective Equipment

Professionals always use protective gear, including gloves, masks, goggles, and coveralls. This ensures their safety and prevents cross-contamination when dealing with mold.

6. Dry Ice Blasting

For larger or more stubborn mold infestations, professionals may use dry ice blasting. This method involves spraying dry ice pellets onto the moldy surface. The cold temperature and force effectively remove mold without damaging the underlying material.

7. Antimicrobial Coatings

After cleaning, professionals often apply antimicrobial coatings to surfaces. These coatings help prevent future mold growth by creating a protective barrier that inhibits mold spores from settling and growing.

8. Moisture Meters

To ensure all moisture is removed, professionals use moisture meters to detect hidden moisture in walls, floors, and ceilings. This step is crucial in preventing mold from returning.

Why Professional Help is Important

While DIY methods can work for small mold problems, larger infestations require professional intervention. Professionals have the training and equipment to thoroughly remove mold and address the underlying moisture issues. This not only removes the mold effectively but also ensures it doesn’t come back.

Final Words

So, does alcohol kill mold? Yes, it does. Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) can effectively kill mold on hard, non-porous surfaces by breaking down the mold’s cell walls. It's a quick and easy solution for small mold spots and works well for immediate clean-up. However, alcohol doesn't kill mold spores or address the root cause of mold growth. This means mold could return if underlying moisture issues aren't fixed.

For a simple and immediate solution, mix a 1:1 ratio of rubbing alcohol and water, apply it to the moldy area, let it sit for 15 minutes, then wipe clean. Remember, this is a temporary fix.

For larger mold problems or infestations on porous surfaces, consider professional help. Professionals use powerful cleaners, specialized equipment, and preventive measures to ensure thorough mold removal and to address moisture issues.

While alcohol can be part of your mold-fighting toolkit, addressing the root cause of mold is essential. Keep your home dry and well-ventilated to prevent mold from coming back. If in doubt, call in the experts for a long-term solution.

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theater actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

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