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February 10, 2011

Experts: Bleach Not Best At Killing Flood Mold

Contractor Advises Using Hospital-Strength Disinfectants

Various professionals who handle water damage cleanup and mold prevention on a daily basis said bleach is not the most effective product to prevent mold growth in water-damaged homes and businesses. They said the reason is that bleach is mostly water, which is one of the main contributors to mold and bacteria growth. They said it's especially ineffective with porous materials.

"Bleach and water is not going to take care of the problem because of the short kill life," said John Hill of The Cleaner Depot on Polk Avenue in Nashville. "We have sold by the pallets, case and by the gallons, to both the homeowners and an extensive amount to contractors, of these three products here that are primarily used in water restoration and mold remediation."

Hill said the professional cleaning contractors use one of three hospital-strength disinfectants: Sporicidin, Benefect and Microban, and all three are Environmental Protection Agency-registered, said Hill, but chlorine bleach is not registered with the EPA as a disinfectant to kill mold. "That's all we're selling and all we're recommending. I guess we have confidence in the EPA," he said.

A gallon of these products should be good for about 500 to 1,000 square feet of space in a home or business, but it can't be found everywhere, Hill said. It isn't at Walmart, Home Depot or Lowes, and it's more expensive than bleach, he said. "Benefect is the only 100-percent green product," Hill said. It's also the most expensive of the three, at $40 a gallon. Sporicidin is about $30, and Microban is around $28.

Some people on the street and online are scalping these products at higher prices, said Hill. Most cleaning supply stores carry them. Cleaning professionals said that even if an area has already been treated with bleach, an area can be retreated with these products.

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