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Mold and Mildew Eliminator: Vinegar with Essential Oils

Mold and Mildew Eliminator: Vinegar with Essential Oils

I live in the humid Hudson Valley in New York, and I’ll never forget one of my first summers here when a green-like mildew grew inside of closets and over and inside of shoes. Being sensitive to mold I was very alarmed that the thick humidity would make such colonies flourish in my bedroom.

I have a number of tricks up my sleeve to kill mildew and mold, three of which are written about in 3 Ways to Kill Mold Naturally. These three are tea tree oil, vinegar, and grapefruit seed extract. Grapefruit seed extract is good for those who want no odor for the few days after spraying the mildew. I’ve used them all very successfully.

I’d like to add more about vinegar and essential oils. Studies by Heinz and others have shown that straight household white distilled vinegar kills 82 percent of mold when used straight up. (This means straight 7 percent acid solution from a bottle of vinegar that you buy in the supermarket.) This is a very good kill rate. And you can’t beat the price.

The problem is that many people write to me saying that they hate the smell of vinegar. What to do? I’ve been experimenting with adding a few drops of essential oil to straight white distilled vinegar and the results for smell are remarkable and unexpected. The essential oils seem to mellow out the bite of the smell of vinegar, leaving a vibrant essence that is mostly the smell of the essential oil with a bit of a sharp almost resinous touch, which would be the transformed vinegar.

A boon is that essential oils are very antimicrobial and will work to kill mold, too.

To try this yourself, place about 1/2 cup straight white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle. Add about 10 drops of essential oil, to start, shake, and smell. How do you like it? Do you need more essential oil? Just make sure not to add more than 15 drops of oil as it can be strong. I personally love lavender in this.

Spray this concoction directly on mold and mildew. Don’t rinse. The smell will dissipate.

Note: Make sure to avoid your eyes!

Read more: Home, Household Hints, Non-Toxic Cleaning, , , , , , ,

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


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8:56PM PST on Dec 6, 2013

Thank you for the important news and all of the excellent comments. I'm terribly allergic to mold.

8:51PM PST on Dec 6, 2013

You should all know that using BLEACH on mold {certain kinds of mold will create an invisible gas that will scar your lungs permanently w/o any symptoms!! } This almost killed me, after 2 years of every test known to man the Red Cross online figured it out and sent me a paper telling all about this. They say wash with a 50/50 solution {use mask and gloves} and then after dried, spray a thin layer of the vinegar on the area and let it air dry cuz the acid in the vinegar kleeps it from coming back as fast.. My entire body is infiltrated and there is no way to remove it. I had horrific headaches and could not stand, had to crawl, couldn't even stand up. Constant hospital visits to knock me out completely, could keep nothing in my stomach, not even water, lost 40 lbs in 1 month. I finally got to the point that I seriously considered ending my life as the only way to end my pain----I used BLEACH before knowing any better, almost 2 years of constant demerol, every narc known to man headaches that had me putting a gun in my mouth several times the Red Cross online contacted me, they said they care called TMJ headaches caused by this gas/mold/bleach combo.....had to get out of house permanently fast and it took 2 weeks form the headaches to stop after leaving.

3:24AM PST on Dec 2, 2013

Sorry - I meant lavender, not calendar! Must be getting ahead of myself and thinking of New Year!

3:22AM PST on Dec 2, 2013

I prefer the smell of vinegar to that of bleach! Good tip for including calendar though - thanks!

10:20AM PST on Nov 14, 2013


9:25AM PST on Nov 10, 2013

thanks for these useful tips

5:43AM PST on Nov 7, 2013

very interesting, thank you

5:03AM PST on Nov 7, 2013

Thanks Lori H. I will be trying that!

4:13AM PST on Nov 7, 2013

6 to 10 drops of pure orange essential oil in water in a diffuser will kill mold spores that you can't see in the air. I am highly allergic to mold. A few years ago, after a horrible reaction, we discovered a culprit was in a corner of our basement after a very rainy season. Despite getting rid of the visible mold, I still had problems. My dr., who is highly trained in holistic and herbal remedies as well as being an M.D., suggested I use the orange oil. I used it for 2 days on and off and it did the trick. Now, any time we get a lot of rain, I use the diffuser and have had no problems with my mold allergy. I've recommended it to several people and they say it worked for them, as well. --Not to mention the wonderful aroma of orange blossoms throughout the house. :)

3:10AM PDT on Oct 27, 2013

We don't really need chemicals for the clean-up

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