Killing mold is a relatively simple process, and a number of techniques can be used to kill mold. The problem is that when mold is dead, spores can still survive, causing the mold to recur within days or weeks. Therefore, in addition to killing mold, people who want to get rid of mold will need to take some additional actions to prevent recurrence.
For people who are concerned about using harsh chemicals in cleaning, the good news is that mold can be killed with non-toxic substances which are common in many homes. Vinegar, lemon juice, and other acids are great for killing mold, and it is also possible to use a solution of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract in water to kill the mold, adding around 20 drops for every two cups of water. Bleach is not generally recommended to kill mold, because it can create staining problems on objects which are not white.
To kill existing mold, spray vinegar or one of the solutions listed above onto the moldy area, and allow it to soak in briefly before wiping away. Then, subject the area to heat, because heat kills mold and evaporates moisture, depriving the mold of the water it needs to recur. In the case of something which can fit in a washing machine, like curtains or clothes, mold can be killed by washing with a cup of vinegar and drying at high heat.
To prevent recurrence after mold has been killed, the area should be kept warm and humidity should be kept low. Using a dehumidifier can help in especially wet climates, as can opening windows and doors for cross-ventilation. Area rugs and furniture which have become moldy can be treated with a liquid solution and then brought outside on a sunny day to kill mold and the spores associated with it. In the case of moldy drywall, flooring, and other fixtures, it may be necessary to remove and replace the fixture to prevent recurrence after removing mold.
Preventing mold is definitely preferable to killing it, because even after mold is dead, it can leave unsightly stains behind, and the presence of mold in a home can have a negative impact on human health. Mold prevention can be accomplished by keeping the environment hot and dry to inhibit the reproduction of mold, and ensuring that rooms are kept well-aired. Mold should never be painted, plastered, tiled, or carpeted over, because the mold will continue to flourish under the covering, creating a distinctive stain and distributing spores to the rest of the house.