It’s impossible to read labels on your food and not read the labels on the cleaners you use, too. That’s why I’m on a constant mission to switch to non-toxic cleaners and personal care products in the whole house.
Figuring out how to get rid of mold and mildew, though, has stumped me– until this year when I finally figured it out!!
Let me tell you though – this was no easy feat.
For YEARS I have tried to use natural products to clean mold and mildew.
And for years I have failed.
When we lived in California, our townhouse was literally one mile from the beach. The weather wasn’t “humid,” but everything was naturally more damp, and that included the bathrooms.
I’d clean the bathroom and it wouldn’t be two weeks later before mold and mildew showed up again ALL OVER THE PLACE– on the tile, on the sheetrock above the shower, even on the ceiling!
So I called one of my best friends who lived down the road and had dealt with the same issue, and after telling her everything I had tried that didn’t work, she recommended a certain heavy duty store-bought product.
I was very hesitant to use that cleaner, but I felt stuck: I had two little kids and two moldy bathrooms that seemed to be getting dirtier by the second. We couldn’t move and we couldn’t NOT take showers. Besides, I’d have to clean it anyway when we moved out– something had to be done!
So I bought it. And used it. And it worked.
But at what expense?
I’ve told you about the various harmful cleaners to avoid, but let me share what exactly the warning label said on this bottle of cleaner:
Do you know what scares me? It blatantly says “HAZARDOUS TO HUMANS” on the bottle.
And on top of that, all the things they say not to do, happens!
- How do you avoid breathing the spray mist when the furthest you can get away is an arm-length?
- Do you wear safety goggles when you clean your bathroom?
- I got it on my skin (and my clothes).
This cleaner is rated an F according to the Environmental Working Group, which means it’s the worst possible cleaner you could use. The ingredients have been shown to cause respiratory issues, skin allergies, developmental toxicity, dangers to the environment, and there’s even a link to one of the deadliest diseases known to man!
But I used it anyway because natural methods failed me.
How to Get Rid of Mold and Mildew Using Essential Oils
I never gave up on finding out how to get rid of mold and mildew naturally. I’d try a new DIY method or a better store-bought cleaner every few months and I’d be disappointed as usual.
We’d move and have a new bathroom and immediately I started hoping that THIS TIME would be different, that certainly I didn’t have to use the harsh chemicals in THIS bathroom!
But no. The result didn’t change…
…until I started using essential oils.
There’s a lot of information on the web about essential oils and cleaning, but there were a few consistent oils mentioned and one common denominator:
What works for one person may not work for another, so it’s best to start with one, give it a shot, and if doesn’t work, try another.
So that’s exactly what I did.
Putting Essential Oils to the Test
I waited until my bathroom was good and dirty (which doesn’t take long when your house is 20+ years old and the shower is still the original tile and grout).
I waited for it to get the point where it was too gross to shower in, then I pulled out all of the essential oils recommended for cleaning mold and mildew and methodically tested them all.
- First, I poured a drop or two on one section of grout and let it sit.
- If that didn’t work, I poured a drop or two on a section of grout and scrubbed using a grout scrub brush.
- And then if that didn’t work, I combined two oils and repeated the first two steps.
I kept going until I had exhausted all the recommended oils and ran out of grout to clean.
In the end, just one oil stood out as a clear winner to get rid of mold and mildew: tea tree.
For me, this was the only oil that actually got rid of the mold. I applied it directly onto the tile and grout, scrubbed with a brush, and within seconds, the mold was gone.
It was truly a miracle!
If you’ve been on a constant battle to find a non-toxic cleaning option for mold and mildew, here are some essential oils that might help:
As I mentioned, this was the winner for me. I tried making cleaning solutions with it, but applying it neat (undiluted) to the area and scrubbing with a grout brush is what did the trick.
Tea tree has amazing cleansing properties that the FDA won’t allow me to disclose here, but believe me when I tell you that this is a MUST-HAVE for your home.
This is super popular in store-bought cleaners and is recommended in several DIY recipes that I found, but it didn’t work for me at all.
As the saying goes though, what may work for some may not work for others. This could be for any number of reasons, including the type of mold/mildew you’re dealing with, so it might be worth a shot to try eucalyptus if you’re struggling with mold and mildew. (And if it doesn’t work, you can always diffuse it for respiratory support!).
When you look at the properties that comprise clove essential oils, you’ll find that it is very similar to tea tree essential oil. No wonder it is recommended!
I personally didn’t try this one, but it’s another one to try!
You wouldn’t think that cinnamon bark essential oil would have claim for cleaning, but it does!
Cinnamon plays an integral role in the blend Thieves Essential Oil, which is widely known for its cleansing properties. If you don’t have any of the oils mentioned so far, give cinnamon bark essential oil a shot!
Lemon is a great essential oil for cleaning, and it is what I use anytime something is greasy in the kitchen (like grease splatters) or in the bathroom (like soap scum), but it didn’t work for me on mold or mildew.
Although, it has great cleaning properties, and lemon – and any of the other oils mentioned – would be great to include in your regular cleaning to PREVENT the growth of mold and mildew.
Thieves Essential Oil
While I use tea tree essential oil for mold and mildew, I like to use Thieves Household Cleaner – which spurred off the Thieves Essential Oil blend – as my regular cleaning solution to keep mold and mildew from happening in the first place.
Thieves is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it is mentioned here along with all of those individual oils!
Just like you can’t read food labels and not read cleaning labels, you can’t be concerned about the quality of your food and not be concerned about the quality of your essential oils. The truth is, not all essential oils are created equal.
A Word about the Quality of your Essential Oils
When you are using and purchasing essential oils, I highly recommend you consider a few important things:
Quality is CRITICAL
Using anything but 100% pure therapeutic-grade essential oils defeats the purpose of getting rid of toxins from your home. Some oils are watered down with chemicals to smell more appealing, and some are watered down with inferior carrier oils. Also, be aware that some companies add “100% pure” to their bottles, even when it isn’t.
Do you know where your oil comes from
Can you find out how the plant is grown? Where the plant is grown? Who is in charge of growing and harvesting? How the garden pests are managed? Do they use pesticides? How your oil is distilled?
You get what you pay for
If you purchase “bargain brands” and don’t get the results you expected, there’s a reason why. As I mentioned, quality matters.
You can afford quality essential oils
When you’re using 100% pure essential oils, a little goes a long way! A lot of your bottles, even ones you use daily can last up to 6 months, even a year! You do not have to buy as often when you choose good quality.
Seed to Seal Promise
I choose to use Young Living essential oils because of their Seed to Seal promise. They are the only essential oil company to control EVERY aspect of the oil from when the plant is first planted, to weed management (no pesticides are used!), to harvest, to distilling, to testing, to bottling – everything is done by Young Living’s standards (which far exceed the organic industry standards, by the way).
I personally called 10+ popular essential oil companies and asked one question: Can I tour your farm so I can see how essential oils are made?
All but one said no.
Young Living is the only company that said yes, and it’s because of their transparency and their Seed to Seal promise that I confidently use their essential oils in my home. (Can you tell I’m passionate about this?)
When you use essential oils as part of your natural medicine cabinet, it’s important you know that you’re using oils that aren’t diluted or modified to smell better. Click HERE to join my Young Living community of 1300+ ladies and get education, support and encouragement as you embark on this natural living journey!
Mildew is such a pesky problem! What natural cleaners have you tried to get rid of mold and mildew?
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