Last week I shocked the world and discussed how coconut oil may actually be your enemy. I specifically looked at how coconut oil may be compromised with mold and mycotoxins. In that post, I mentioned that you can’t really eliminate toxic mold once it takes root. It can be rendered inactive but it is nearly impossible to completely kill it without using high heat for a very long period of time. Even then, mold spores hide themselves well. Some are even heat resistant.
My email blew with very advice from my readers. The #1 suggestion was to “clean” our home and air with essential oils as essential oils remove mold. Today, I want to share two things with all of you. First, let’s look at why essential oils will not always work and in our specific situation, will not work at all. Then, let’s go on an essential oil journey and discover WHEN essential oils will work, HOW to use them, and WHICH ones are the best choices.
While I am grateful that my readers are concerned and want to share their mold related wisdom, some of it simply doesn’t apply to our situation. You might remember that we had NO VISIBLE MOLD. None. Nada. Zip.
Can essential oils remove mold? Can they completely eliminate toxic mold?
First, the mold has to be visible in order for essential oils to possibly work. It doesn’t have magic superpowers to infiltrate walls and flooring. I know – shocking. But it’s true. So in our case, essential oils are useless.
Now – they MAY possibly work to eliminate toxic mold spores that are airborne. MAY. A big MAY. The few loose studies that have been done on this were not definitive. And as you know from my last post, mold spores don’t die.
The other big issue with essential oils is that there is no conclusive evidence that they can tackle mycotoxins. This is a huge problem if your home or workplace is teaming with them. Mycotoxins can survive after mold is removed. Since our home was literally a biohazard from the amount of mycotoxins, essential oils would not have helped us save our home.
When Essential Oils CAN Be Used On Mold
Then is a lot of debate about when essential oils can be successfully used to help eradicate mold. Some sites and companies say that essential oils can handle both new and long standing mold growth. Others say that essential oils work better on more recent mold growth. What they all agree on, mostly, is that the mold needs to be visible.
The other side of the coin is how MUCH mold essential oils can tackle. I have not found one single evidence based study that proves without a shadow of a doubt that any essential oil can totally eliminate toxic mold in large quantities. And in the case of a highly contaminated home, I think it would take a vat of essential oils to even begin to move the mold out.
I am completely on board with using the right essential oils for a small area of visible mold. I think they can help a lot. I also think that you can use them when you know you have mold spores on something, even if you can’t see mold. (For example – if your clothing brushed up against a moldy surface but there isn’t any mold on the clothing or if an item of yours was next to a moldy area). But remember – the essential oils cannot penetrate a non-porous surface. So they may of little use for any mold that grew deep into something, like a floorboard.
Which Essential Oils ARE Effective At Removing Mold
Several essential oils are very good at reducing the amount of mold and mold spores. These are the top 11 essential oils know to be effective on mold:
- Tea Tree Oil – this is the best known skin anti-fungal but it doesn’t do a complete job when it comes to environmental molds. You can use it (I have) but I think it works best in conjunction with other essential oils.
- Clove Oil – one study from the Internet Journal of Microbiology found clove oil to be powerful against such bacteria as Staphylococcus and Aspergillus. That carries a lot of weight for me.
The best oils to diffuse to prevent mold growth are blends. Synergistic blends of oils are more powerful than the individual oils. These are my favorite mold fighting blends:
How To USE Essential Oils For Mold Removal
Basically, there are two ways essential oils remove mold. Here is what you do:
Apply them directly to an impacted surface
There are all kinds of ways to do this but I would use the essential oils undiluted or barely diluted. Be sure to wipe in a DOWNWARD motion to prevent spores from flying. You can either spray the essential oils directly onto the surface or apply with a soft cloth.
Once you clean the black stuff off the surface, it does not mean you are home free. Mold spores may have been absorbed by the surface and they are most likely in the air. This means you need to take things to the next level and…
Diffuse essential oils
There is definitely some debate about the effectiveness of diffusing essential oils in a mold contaminated environment. But my philosophy is that these oils were inside the plant to help protect it from mold, so it should do the same for your air. My hope is that diffusing essential oils helps drive out those airborne mold spores.
For the best effect, use a cold-air diffuser which does not heat the oils and destroy the anti-microbial properties. You will want to diffuse your oil blend for 24-72 hours, non-stop, in the space(s) where mold was found. If possible, and for best results, leave the room closed and sealed during this intensive diffusing. This will allow maximum penetration and absorption of the essential oil blend. My suggestion is that you repeat this two or three times depending on how bad the mold infestation was.
If you are interested, this is a fascinating study about the Inhibitory Effect of Essential Oils on Decay Fungi and Mold Growth on Wood. It is very detailed!
I have a LOAD of toxic mold resources on my site so please check them out. Also be sure to read my post on my monthly mold prevention tactic.
What essential oils do I use and love? Several brands actually.
1. My hands down favorite brand is Rocky Mountain Oils (also known as Native American Nutritionals). These are seriously the BEST brand I have ever used. They are strong. And I mean strong. I have seen some amazing things happen when using this brand.
2. GEO carries a great line of essentials oils and I have always had success with their oils. They are adding new blends frequently and are definitely worth a look!
3. I am really enjoying Plant Therapy essential oils as well. They are easy on the budget as well as being a high quality oil.
Sources for mold related information include but are not limited to: