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Verify: Should bleach be used to kill mold?

Dr. John Carson, an associate professor of allergy and immunology from the Tulane School of Medicine, weighs in.

NEW ORLEANS — Plenty of people will spend the weekend cleaning up their homes after Hurricane Ida, many will be dealing with mold. 

Some are using one household cleaning product to get rid of it: Bleach.

“Mold can cause problems with respiratory health for the creation of spores. The spores, specifically if you’re allergic to the mold, can cause worsening of asthma or worsening of nasal sinus problems,” Dr. John Carson from the Tulane School of Medicine said.

Dr. Carson says how you treat the mold matters.

“The concern about mold leads people to spraying down walls and floors with bleach. When undiluted, bleach becomes a part of the air that people are breathing in and we’ve seen cases with significant lung injury, eye splash injury, etc.,” Dr. Carson said.

The Center for Disease control says that you should always dilute bleach to 10% or less before using it to clean surfaces. Always open windows and doors before using bleach to let the fumes escape and never mix it with ammonia or any other cleaning product.

Dr. Carson says mold can only live if it has access to water. He says it’s difficult for what he calls large porous items, such as couches, to be saved. But he says small items, like stuffed animals, should be fine.

“It may need to go through a couple of cycles of washing and drying before it can be given back to a child, but it can be done safely,” Dr. Carson said.

Dr. Carlson says those with asthma and other respiratory problems shouldn’t be going into moldy homes. He also says a big cause for concern, when it comes to those with asthma or respiratory issues, is during construction. He recommends wearing an N95 mask.

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