Killing Mould Naturally – A Man Versus Oils Mansperiment

Ok oily dudes, it is time for another world renowned Man Versus Oils Mansperiment. You see there has been quite a bit of rain around here lately – which is often the case in this part of the world as we move into summer. This time however was a little more than usual… about two weeks worth to be exact. Not exactly conducive to manly outdoor past times but it did give some time to oil it up real nice for these posts.

Eventually though the sun did come out and two things happened… The grass needed to be mowed and there was mould everywhere. I wanted to clean it, and as usual I wanted to do it in a chemical free manner. So my latest mansperiment – Killing Mould Naturally was born. Here we go…

Why?

Because I have mould all over the cement in the outside entertainment area.

Mould on cement

In the past, I have usually gone to two options:

1. Specialised bathroom mould cleaning spray

Active Ingredient – Bleach – Risks (according to MSDS*) – Irritation to eyes and skin – risks to aquatic environments.

Cost – $6 to $7 AUD

2. Bleach

Highly effective for killing mould however also extremely caustic and can cause damage to surface where mould is present.

Risks (according to MSDS*) – Irritation to eyes, skin and respiratory systems. Extremely corrosive and should not be released into any drainage system.

Cost – $2 to $4 AUD.

For both of these options, the mould would be spayed and left for 10-15 minutes then wiped or hosed off.

What am I trying to achieve?

As with my cleaning the BBQ mansperiment, I want to be able to remove mould from the back entertainment area with the use of harsh chemicals. And, as per previous posts, I am all about less risk to my family and the effects of residue chemicals flowing to the drains and the ocean.

And again, my acceptance criteria is simple – the cement is mould free!

What am I going to use?

For my choices here I have gone back to my dear old dad and his “vinegar kills everything” philosophy. I also remember my grandmother using tea tree to clean mould – she lived on the Mornington Peninsula of Australia where tea tree is absolutely everywhere. She used to add the leaves to water and spray it everywhere – I still can’t smell Tea Tree without thinking of that house – we used to complain about the smell as kids. And if you have ever tasted water that has been contaminated by tea tree leaves then you can feel my pain! But at the end of the day it seemed to work… So on that note – I have decided to mansperiment with the following three options:

Option1:

  • Plain Vinegar

That’s it, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray it directly onto the mouldy cement, wait 15 to 20 minutes and hose it off with a hard spray setting.

Option 2:

  • 1 Cup Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Water

Trying this to basically reduce the vinegar smell. Testing it with the same process as option 1 above.

YL Tee Tree Essential Oil
Click here to purchase

Option 3:

The magic mix – a double whammy of vinegar and tea tree oil. Again applied via a spray bottle directly into said mould.

The Test

Here we go… We need to:

  1. Mix ingredients into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray ingredients directly onto the cement.
  3. Leave for 15 minutes.
  4. Blast/Wash off with hose – clean hot water might help here too.

It should be noted that I did try to just bypass the above and blast with a hose prior to this test with very limited results. However, a high pressure water cleaner would work very well here – and severely reduce the amount of water used.

What happened?

Spray pump water bottle

The results were indeed interesting. Firstly, let’s address Option 2 – the water and vinegar mixture – this is useless. I actually think the blast from the hose made it look better than it was. Obviously the vinegar to water ratio is not strong enough to kill the mould. It didn’t have the strong vinegar smell but that was its only advantage.

Option 1 – Plain Vinegar.

Perfect! – cement was clean and mould free. Dad was right and this can be used indoors or outdoors – the only concern here would be the vinegar smell but it dissipates quickly once the hose is introduced.

Option 3 – Vinegar, Water and Tea Tree Essential Oil

This option also worked perfectly. The vinegar ratio was lower so the tea tree obviously has some effect here too. The cement was just as clean as option 1 after the hose was applied

The Verdict

Mould results

To kill mould naturally without the use of chemicals – consider Vinegar your manly go-to product. To be honest, the only real reason I can see to add Tea Tree is for the post use aroma – and it may continue to keep mozzies away I guess – but don’t hold me to that!

Pros

  1. The mould has been removed.
  2. No chemicals were used.
  3. The tea tree essential oil cuts down the strong acidic smell of the vinegar and hangs around – the vinegar smell however seems to wash away when hosed.

Cons

  1. It can take a couple of goes to get it really clean
  2. Post application hose down is required to fully remove all mould.

Alternatives

A good water pressure cleaner will not only remove the mould but clean the cement as well. Obviously you can’t use this in the shower but now you have the vinegar option so you really can have the best of both worlds!

Total Cost (for recipe above noting I only used about a 1/3 of the solution)

15 Drops of Young Living Essential Oils – approx $3**

White vinegar – approx 50c

Total Cost: Approx $3.50 (without the Essental Oil brings the cost down to about 50c)

And there you go! Another successful mansperiment done and dusted. Now to find some fish and chips for that leftover vinegar…

Have Fun

Paul

* A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that provides health and safety information about products,
substances or chemicals that are classified as hazardous substances or dangerous goods. MSDS’s can usually be found on the website of the manufacturer.

** Price calculated on the rate of 15 drops used from 85 drops per 5ml vial of Essential Oil


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27 thoughts on “Killing Mould Naturally – A Man Versus Oils Mansperiment”

  1. I’ve been looking into essential oils and their benefits and it’s great to see a man’s perspective of it all – I’ll have to send my husband to this site so he can see the benefits of oils. I’ve also heard great things about vinegar – I will have to incorporate it more into my house. I’ve just started using it in my washing machine in the place of fabric softener. 

    Reply
  2. Tea tree essential oil is an awesome essential oil that has so many different uses.  I literally use it for a number of different things:

    Acne.  Has been proven to be effective with 5% dilution.Germs.  Can use it in household cleaner mixed with vinegar and water.  Also add rosemary essential, too.Airborne germs.  Diffuse it throughout the day to kill airborne germs.Shampoo.  Good for healthy hair and it even kills lice.

    I have used Young Living’s essential oils in the past.  However, my preferred company to use is Plant Therapy.  Their oils are cheaper and the quality of them is amazing, too.  Have you ever heard of them or used them?

    Reply
    • Hi Garen – No,I havent seen those ones.  But I will certainly look out for them and see if I can do a little review – watch this space

      Reply
  3. Vinegar and tea tree oil now this is a keeper. I am always looking for ways to reduce the chemical element in cleaning. Now I have a more natural way to clean and kill outdoor mold. Wonderful! In your opinion though you really do not need the teat tree oil? If that is the case it will be even cheaper.

    Reply
    • Hi Cathy – If i am being honest.. No.  Vinegar on its own is fine.  If the vinegar smell was hanging around you could try adding lemon, orange or lime essential oils to mask it (on hard surfaces only).  Paul

      Reply
  4. Hey Paul! How are you doing? I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog post on “Killing Mould Naturally” as you’ve provided us with tonnes of valuable information. One of my personal favorite ways in removing mould would be with the help of Bleach. When you you other stuff, you might have to scrape of the layer a bit but bleach is a lot powerful. I use bleach and then spray a bit of hot water on top of that so hat i comes of easily. The mould literally melts!

    Reply
    • Thanks AV – I just went out and re-tried my mansperiment with hot water instead of cold… actually worked very well.  Thanks for the tip. Paul

      Reply
  5. Nice little experiment you did there and the results were clear. Moulds can be really annoying and can be a problem for our health if not properly dealt with. I have never really made use of any of the methods you experimented on. I am going to have to go with the vinegar method because I can see that it is really effective. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Thanks Jay – true – didn’t consider the health risks there..  I know for some it can be very serious.  thanks for your comments.. Paul

      Reply
  6. We are in the rainy season in my country now, and we are similarly receiving more rain than usual. The moulds will come and they will need controlling. Thanks to your ‘mansperiment’, I now have a plan on what I am going to do to get rid of the mould.

    Many thanks and best regards

    Reply
  7. Thanks for sharing your experiment!

    I have been trying to find safer ways to clean my house now that I have a baby. The idea of keeping harmful cleaning solutions in my house while there’s a curious little person roaming about does not sit well with me.. I just tried cleaning my shower with the vinegar solution and it worked wonders. Though, the vinegar smell is still lingering. I think next time I’ll try it with the tea tree oil and see if that works better.

    Thanks once again!

    Reply
  8. Thanks! I never  used Tee/tree oil in combination with vinegar. That´s completely new to me. We always spray all green algae attack, weeds and mold outside with vinegar. That´s so much better for the environment than roundup. But you are right, the vinegar smells quite acidic. I am going to try out your formula.

    Loes

    Reply
    • Thanks Loes – working on a weed killing mansperiment as we speak to watch this space – As a little revealer though I am finding vinegar to be the killer ingredient there too..  pardon the pun ;-0 

      Reply
  9. This is a great post on killing mould naturally. It is good practice to do it without dangerously chemicals that can irritate our eyes and kill our fishes; 😰 oh how I love fishes.

    Vinegar is awesome. I have seen it being used for different stuffs. But the smell is disgusting. Good to know about combining it with tea tree.

    Reply
  10. Thanks for sharing your experiment! 

    I have been trying to find safer ways to clean my house now that I have a baby. The idea of keeping harmful cleaning solutions in my house while there’s a curious little person roaming about does not sit well with me.. I just tried cleaning my shower with the vinegar solution and it worked wonders. Though, the vinegar smell is still lingering. I think next time I’ll try it with the tea tree oil and see if that works better.

    Thanks once again!

    Reply
    • Thanks Maurissa – if using in the shower (as in on hard tile or glass surfaces), you could also add a little lemon essential oil to the mix to cut the smell down a bit..  Paul

      Reply
  11. Dear Paul,

    Thanks for the helpful and informative post.

    Removing mould is a big challenge and my wife use Bleaching powder to clean it. As you said it causes many problem the smell is heavy and causes many discomfort.

    Never thought of Vinegar and tea tree thanks a lot for the great advice. The best thing is we can do it without chemicals is the good news from your post.

    I am going to share your post with my wife and we are going to try your recommendations next time when we clean the mould.

    Wishing you great success!

    Paul

    Reply
  12. I love essential oil because it have good smell, can do on skin, and mood. Do you know what essential make from? Is it make from medication and mix with plant? It very interest to know about that! I love your home site because it show all different that essential oil can do A to Z 🙂 I suggest you to change font style because it not same all words style. 

    Reply
  13. Very Down to earth I never knew the benefits of Himalayan salts I bought it because it was staring at me on the shelf as a last minute might need it and it turns out I actually like it not a big salt fan not even on my fish n chips I do like the the taste next time I will  take a bath in it sounds good I have a friend looking for essential oils to kill mold Bleach dosnt actually kill anything it just takes the colour out of everything so now it looks clean if there is bacteria Bleach will have a very different smell like its not good but I will try your tip on Tea Tree oil we were thinking of Oil of cloves the White cleaning vinegar sounds good too thank you for the tips I was looking for shall let my friend know 

    Reply
    • Hi Angelique – cloves might work too.  I will let you in early on another mansperiment I am working on though..  I tried cloves and water to kill weeds…  think it actually made them healthier haha…  Will give it a shot on the mould and let you know.  thanks for your comment.  Paul

      Reply
  14. I have definitely been looking into alternative cleaning solutions as I do not like the fumes that most cleaning solutions give off. I am curious about a couple of things.

    Does the option to clean with tea tree oil and vinegar require that you have water in the mixture? Or can I clean the mould of the surface with just the vinegar and tea tree oil mixed together with no water?

    Reply
    • Hi Jessie – to be honest I didn’t try the tea tree and vinegar together without water but I see know reason why you couldn’t..  It might even reduce the need for such hard hising afterwards.  I will give it a try and update the blog post.  

      Paul

      Reply

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