Molds can be a severe health hazard, so you often want to eradicate them from your home as much as possible.
One of the common ways of killing molds involves using chemicals, but do you know you can substitute the harsh chemicals with extreme heat?
Studies suggest that molds cannot survive in extremely low or high temperatures. So, does mold die in heat? Dive in to find out.
Does Mold Die in Heat?
Yes, molds thrive best in the same temperature range as humans and will die if subjected to extremely high temperatures over 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).
Mold grows in food and other damp surfaces such as walls, wood, and fabric as long as the conditions are conducive for their growth.
Conditions That Support Mold Growth
Killing molds is great, but unless you know what causes them to breed and thrive, they may just recur soon after you eradicate them. Therefore, the most effective way to deal with such a menace is to take a preventive approach.
Before using heat to kill molds, your best first step is to understand what caused them in the first place. Here are the common culprits of mold infestation.
Like any fungi, molds thrive in damp environments. They require the water to grow, like any living thing. The more moisture, the better their chances of growing and multiplying.
This explains why you can often see discoloration on bathroom walls and damp wood surfaces at home. Our homes have multiple opportunities for molds to grow and thrive.
The best way to deal with this problem is to use a dehumidifier to keep the excess airborne moisture in check – preferably below 75 percent humidity.
Also, you will want to clear any stagnant water, mend any leaking pipes, and dry any laundry properly before putting them away for storage.
Temperatures between 20° Celsius and 48° Celsius
As we mentioned, molds are living things and thrive in the same temperature range as humans. Ideally, this is somewhere between 20° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit) and 48° Celsius (120° Fahrenheit) for most types of molds.
If the temperatures are comfortable for you, they will likely be conducive to mold growth, provided with moisture and oxygen.
Practically every living organism requires oxygen in the air to survive, molds included. As long as there is the slightest supply of oxygen, molds will grow and reproduce. Even just a brief period of oxygen exposure is sufficient for these fungi to multiply.
Molds require some source of food to survive, and this means anything organic. They need something to obtain nutrients from.
Even though mold cannot get nutrients from glass, concrete, metal, and other such inorganic matter, it can grow on these surfaces if there is sufficient dirt.
Allowing your concrete wall or any inorganic material in your home to get wet and dirty can encourage mold growth on such surfaces.
This implies that one of the ways to ward off mold and mildew is to keep surfaces clean and dry.
Notice that you may not be able to control all the conditions that support mold growth. For instance, you can do little about the temperature or oxygen factor, but you can control dirt and moisture that support mold growth.
How to Use Heat to Kill Mold
Extreme temperatures kill mold, but how do you go about it? Read along to learn some simple ways you can use heat to treat mold infestation.
Put the infested object in the oven.
If you have glass, metal, and wood objects that can sit in the oven tray, baking them would be a quick way to exterminate any molds on them.
Turn on the oven on its low setting and let the objects bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. The oven’s heat will dry up and kill the mold, making it easy to cleanout.
The dryer method
Your laundry dryer is a perfect tool for treating any mold-infested fabric. You can toss it in the dryer to deal with the fungi, whether it is a rug, bed sheet, stuffed toy, pillow, pants, or baby clothes.
Unlike the oven, you will need to set the dryer on its highest heat setting that the specific fabric can tolerate. This means you will need to read the label on the fabric before you proceed.
Here too, let the items sit in the dryer for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Once the cycle is complete, remove the cloth items and wash them with a laundry detergent to remove the dead mold.
You could use a washing machine for this part, but hand washing makes more sense for overly moldy stuff. You can use a soft-bristled laundry brush, preferably disposable, and laundry detergent to scour out the mold.
Heaters for larger surfaces
You wouldn’t be able to throw a wall into the dryer now, would you?
Getting rid of molds on such bigger objects using heat can be challenging. But you can still use your home’s heating unit to deal with the fungi even though the heat will not be scorching.
Turning your central heater to its highest possible setting for about an hour or longer may not directly kill the molds.
However, the heat will lower the relative humidity inside your house. With the moisture gone, the fungi cannot grow and multiply.
To reach all the nooks and crannies affected by molds, consider using a portable heater. Place the heater on its highest setting and position it facing the mold-infested object or wall.
Let it stay there for at least half an hour to allow sufficient time for the mold to dry. You can then clean out the shriveled mold with ease.
Spray some white vinegar solution on the moldy area and let it sit for about 15 minutes, and then scrub it off. For better results, dunk a sponge in a soapy solution and use it to wipe the affected area clean.
After that, rinse the item thoroughly and let it dry. Once dry, consider vacuuming the area to remove any mold particles that might be remaining.
Should You Use a Hairdryer?
Now, some materials recommend using a hairdryer to kill mold on the walls and other larger objects. I would not recommend it.
While a hairdryer will likely kill molds with the high temperatures, the blower may cause more harm than good.
Blowing the fungi will cause mold spores to spread around. This will only increase their chances of spreading to sprouting in new locations.
Even worse, your family can inhale airborne spores, which can trigger allergic reactions and other ailments.
Food is one of the things that commonly harbor molds. Often, you will find these fungi sprouting on cheese slices or bread.
Will it be safe to bake such moldy foods and eat? While the molds are likely to die from the heat, they usually carry toxins called mycotoxins that do not die even from heating.
Eating a piece of moldy food will mean you are ingesting the toxins which can cause disease – even after heating it.
So, Does Heat Kill Mold?
Yes, it does. However, make sure to clean the moldy item after heating because the heat only kills molds but does not remove them from the infested item.
Heat can be an excellent alternative method of treating mold infestation, especially for people who do not prefer the smell of strong chemicals in their homes.
We hope that you found this article informative and helpful. Nonetheless, we will be delighted to hear your thoughts in the comments section. Here are other effective methods of killing humidifier molds.