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Does Apple Cider Vinegar Kill Mold

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Can Apple Cider Vinegar Mold Disappear?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of the most common staple foods in a kitchen.  Its mildly sweet flavor makes it an excellent ingredient for a wide variety of recipes, including salads, pickles, soups, hot drinks, sauces and gravies.


Besides its culinary uses, the antibacterial and preservative properties of ACV make it a powerful cleanser and a good natural remedy for certain skin and health conditions.

In fact, before the invention of new chemical cleaners, vinegar was, for centuries, one of the few cleaning solutions available to our ancestors and one of the effective means they used to treat wounds, germs, and infections.


Now, the question is, can apple cider vinegar also kill mold?


I mean, yes, ACV proved to be effective at cleaning surfaces and walls, but does this include moldy ones, too?


Let’s dig a little deeper so that we can find out if ACV is the solution for you and your mold problem.

TLDR; (Too Long, Didn’t Read!)

Apple cider vinegar is slightly acidic and can therefore kill molds.  However, ACV may not be the ideal solution for mold preservation because it can only kill 82% of all mold species.  It also tends to leave a brown stain and strong odor behind which makes it unsuitable for all surfaces.


Does ACV Get Rid Of Mold?


The quick answer is:  Yes, apple cider vinegar kills mold.


Now, in order to give a more-in-depth answer, it is very important to first discuss how we make apple cider vinegar.  Why?  Simply because the clue of whether ACV can kill mold or not lays in its making process.

It’s important to read the following below before attempting this at home.

In general, we obtain vinegar by storing something containing sugar in conditions that promote fermentation.  The goal is to wait for yeasts and bacteria to form and ferment sugar into acetic acid.


This process, which by the way takes months to happen, is common among all vinegar types.  The only thing that varies is the stored component.


As we said, it can be anything that contains sugar, including fruits, wine, vegetables, and grains.


The standard white vinegar for example comes from fermented vodka-like alcohol, rice vinegar is made of rice wine, and apple cider vinegar results from – you guessed it – fermented apples.


Now, as we said, the final output of the fermentation process is acetic.  What is acetic acid?  Well, it’s simply a colorless organic compound (CH3COOH) with a pH of 2.4, which means it’s slightly acidic, and thar’s exactly what makes vinegar capable of killing mold.


Let’s explain…


Mold spores are very sensitive to acidity.  As a rule of thumb, most species prefer a pH between 4 and 7.  So exposing them to an acidity out of this range makes it difficult for them to thrive and multiply.  This is exactly what happens when you apply apply cider vinegar to a moldy area.


ACV rarely exceeds 4 pH.  Hence, it is able to kill mold as most of the spores cannot survive below pH 4.




Apple Cider vs White Vinegar

Now that we’ve discussed apple cider vinegar’s ability to kill mold, it’s very important to note that standard white vinegar is liekly to perform better on moldy surfaces.

This is because white vinegar contains more acetic acid and is, therefore, more acidic than ACV.

To give a few figures, white vinegar contains 92-95% water and 5-8% acetic acid.  On the other hand, apple cider vinegar contains 94-95% water and 5-6% acetic cider.

Now, despite this seeming negligible, it has a significant impact on the pH levels.

On top of that, the apple is known to be moderately alkaline (around pH 4).  Therefore, using it to make vinegar results in a slightly less acidic solution than standard white vinegar.

Generally speaking, at 5% acetic acid and 95% water , white vinegar ranges from 2.5 to 2.7 pH while ACV ranges from 3.3 to 3.5 pH.

So all this is to say, apple cider vinegar is less effective at killing mold than white vinegar.

In other words, ACV is less acidic than white vinegar and therefore has a weaker impact on mold spores.

Is Vinegar The Ideal Solution Then?


After comparing white and apple cider vinegar and discussing their mold-prevention properties, let me make one thing clear: Vinegar and all of its variations are not 100% effective against mold.

According to the Mississipi State University, white distilled vinegar only kills 82% of mold species.

I know this is a decent enough percentage but it also means that depending on the type of mold you have in your property, there is an 18% chance that your vinegar solution will not be able to kill it. 

Vinegar also can not kill all mycotoxins that are associated with mold and responsible for many infections and health problems.

So in summary, vinegar is not the ideal solution to deal with mold.

Now, as stated above, the studies only mention white vinegar.  The numbers should, therefore, be worse for apple cider vinegar since it is more basic (higher pH) and contains less acetic acid.

On top of that, remember that ACV comes in a brownish color, which makes it unsuitable for all sorts of surfaces.

Applying ACV to white walls, carpets and rugs will leave a brown stain on them, which is obviously not a suitable outcome.

Moreover, apple cider vinegar contains more sugar than standard vinegar.  This sugar will provide more organic food for molds and can, as a result, make them multiply even further.  


How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Remove Mold?


If you are still interested in using apple cider vinegar to kill mold and are sure that it won’t mess up your carpet, wall, or any surface you want to use it on, then consider the following instructions:


  1. Do not dilute the vinegar.  You want to use as much acetic acid as possible to have the most impact on mold.  So use the vinegar directly form the bottle to the infected area.
  2. It is also recommended to use the ACV solution with the highest percentage of acetic acid that you find at the grocery store.  Most products are 5% but with a bit of luck, you might find a 6-7% solution.
  3. Spray an 8-oz glass of vinegar directly on the moldy area until you make sure that the entire mold colony is wet and absorbing the acid.
  4. Let the ACV sit there for 1-2 hours so the mold stays in the harsh environment for a long time.
  5. After that, use a sponge or brush to wipe the vinegar off.
  6. It is unnecessary to rinse the area with water, as this may add more moisture and promote future mold growth.  Let it air dry and do not worry about the odor.  It will fade away after a short time.
  7.  You may need to repeat the entire process multiple times for the same mold area.  As we said, apple cider vinegar is not 100% effective with mold and therefore may require more effort to work.

TOP TIPS:  Mix the apple cider vinegar with a few drops of tee tree oil.  This oil has good antibacterial properties and therefore helps the ACV to kill more spores.  Plus, the tea tree oil smells great and will camouflage the smell of vinegar.


Summary On ACV And Mold


Yes, apple cider vinegar can get rid of mold, but it’s not the ideal solution for it.

Although ACV is mildly acidic and therefore makes it hard for mold to grow, the studies show that it can only kill roughly 82% of all mold species and cannot eradicate all related mycotoxins.

Not only that, but ACV is not suitable for white surfaces and carpets because of its brown color and strong smell.  It can also promote further mold growth because of its high sugar content.

So in summary, if you have mold problems in your property, ACV can help with that and you may want to it a try, especially if you don’t have anything else at hand.  However, if you can use standard vinegar or another stronger solution, go for it and save the apple cider vinegar for your salads!


apple cider vinegar and spray bottle ready to kill mold

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Wow, this really worked, thanks!

J. Sullivan – New Orleans