If you have a mold problem but want an entirely chemical or solution free way to kill it, heat may be the best option for you.
Yes, high heat CAN absolutely kill mold!
Heat can kill mold on your food, car, walls, furniture, and even wood.
If your mold problem is not taking over a giant area, it can be worth the effort to use heat to kill the mold.
How Does Heat Kill Mold?
In order to grow, mold needs moisture, oxygen, and temperatures that allow for humidity. This tends to be mostly cooler temperatures, but also warmer temperatures, depending on the environment humidity.
An extreme heat kills mold because it takes away the moisture and oxygen in the air that is needed for it to grow.
At What Temperature Does Mold Die?
Mold does not simply die on a hot, dry summer day. It must be a minimum of 60℃ (or 140℉) for the mold to start dying.
Some mold is heat resistant, so make sure you are not dealing with a pesky heat-resistant mold when using this method.
How Long Does it Take Heat To Kill Mold?
Heat does not just zap away the mold when exposed to the element.
In order to kill mold with heat, it will need to sit in the heat for at least 25 minutes for full effect.
Taking into account the moisture in the air and where the heat is coming from plays a big role in how long the moldy item will need to fully dry out.
For example, an oven holds heat much better than trying to heat an entire room with an infrared heater.
It is about giving the heat 25 minutes to kill the mold after the hot temperature has been reached and maintained.
Ways that You Can Use Heat to Kill Mold
1. Infrared Heaters
Using an infrared space heater can help kill mold on moldy surfaces with bigger square footage.
Depending on how hot your heater gets, you may have to leave it longer to allow the mold to heat up to the proper temperature that kills the mold.
An infrared heater is a great tool that helps reduce moisture, which is a huge factor in mold growth.
Infrared heaters are great for killing mold in spaces with a high coverage of mold, such as walls and large sections of furniture.
2. Heat Gun
A heat gun is a great tool to help kill mold in the same way a hairdryer would, but it gets much, much hotter.
Be careful when using a heat gun, as some of them can reach temps up to 593℃ (or 1,100℉).
A heat gun would be convenient for baseboards, furniture, and other hard to reach areas with a smaller mold problem.
Dryers are a great resource to toss something in and let the heat cycle run.
Make sure you are using the hottest heat setting on your dryer.
You will want the item to run through a cycle for about 25 minutes to make sure the heat has time to kill the mold.
Using a dryer is best when dealing with moldy fabrics such as clothes, towels, stuffed animals, etc.
Ovens provide an easy way to kill mold with heat.
You will want to turn it on to 60℃ (or 140℉) and let the moldy item sit in there for about 25 minutes.
Ovens can kill mold on things such as wood, glass, and metal.
5. Portable Heaters
If you do not own any heating source to work for your mold problem, your local hardware store most likely has a portable heater that you can rent. Check with them for pricing and availability.
How to Use Heat to Kill & Get Rid of Mold…
For the most part, if your food has mold on it, you should not consume it. Mold grows on food and permeates it in a way that does not allow us to properly clean the mold after killing it with heat.
Some mold on food is harmless, but others can be very toxic, so it is not worth the risk of finding out.
It would be a huge health risk to still eat moldy food, even if treated by heat.
However, there are a few exceptions. For example, if your block of cheese has mold grown on it intentionally, this is okay.
Some issues with eating moldy food even after heating it is the risk you face being exposed to mycotoxins, which are extremely harmful to humans and other animals when ingested.
Cleaning mold off your grill is arguably one of the easiest spots to clean that mold can grow.
Turn the grill on and let the heat burn the mold for about 20 minutes.
Then take the grates and wash them.
Remember, heat kills mold but does not disinfect it.
Once you return the grates back to the grill, turn the heat back on and let them sit in the heat again to finish the job.
When mold grows on your clothes or other piece of fabric, you can toss it in the dryer for about 25 minutes.
Make sure you use the highest heat setting on your dryer.
Not all dryers get to an extreme heat that is recommended for killing mold, so giving the heat long enough to do its job is super important here.
After the dryer, wash your clothing with detergent disinfectant to get rid of the dead mold, followed by another cycle in the dryer.
If your moldy wood is small enough to fit in your oven, that may be the easiest way to kill the mold with heat.
Set your oven on 60℃ (or 140℉) and let the wood sit in there for 25 minutes.
If your piece of wood is too large for the oven, a heat gun might be more convenient.
If the wood is extremely large, you can also use an infrared heater.
The same heating temperature and heat time applies with all of these heat sources.
However, it is important to point out that depending on the size and shape of the wood, killing the mold with heat might not be the best option for you.
A one part vinegar, one part water solution in a spray bottle might prove more helpful.
A wall can be a tricky place to kill mold.
When the surface area is larger, an infrared heater would be most efficient in helping you kill the mold.
You’ll want to set the heater on high and leave it in the room for about 30 minutes.
The size of your room and the size of the space you are trying to treat can vary this time greatly.
In this case, using the central heating in your home to help get rid of any humidity and warm the room can help the infrared heater do its best job.
Once dried out, you will want to make sure you thoroughly clean the area.
Moldy furniture has a similar solution to wood.
Depending on the size of the moldy area, an infrared heater facing the affected area or a heat gun would be the best way to kill the mold with heat.
However, like moldy wood, this may be tricky depending on the heater and type of furniture.
Make sure the method you choose is radiating enough heat to the mold to kill it.
In the Car
To get the best outcome with killing mold in your car, first move your car into direct sunlight.
Then you’ll want to run the heater on high for about 50 minutes.
Allowing this dry heat to get trapped inside your vehicle is the best way to kill any mold growth.
As with everything else, it is important to clean the mold away after killing it, as spores can still be very harmful if trapped in the air – especially in such a small space as a car.
Can You Use Heat to Prevent Mold In House?
Using your AC or heating system to heat your house may not directly kill the mold, but it can help prevent mold growth.
Your heater can help keep humidity at bay, which is necessary for mold to grow.
Keeping your home AC and heating system set to be around 27℃ (or 80℉) is ideal for keeping mold at bay.
However, when moisture is in the air, there is no totally guaranteed way to prevent mold growth with heat alone.
Will Heat Alone Kill Mold?
While heat is a reliable killer of mold, it does not get rid of it.
You will still need to clean the moldy area to be free of spores in order to have a clean looking spot and help prevent any return of mold.
If you do not, the dead mold spores can still travel throughout the air in your home, car, or wherever the mold has grown.
This can cause health issues and other problems.
Additionally, the mold is likely to return if not properly cleaned after being killed with heat.
If you are wondering if Heat Inhibit Mold Growth…
Heat does not necessarily inhibit mold growth.
A dry heat does not foster mold growth, but a humid heat can.
Extreme heat can kill the mold, but would not stop more spores from growing if the conditions were still damp and oxygenated.
Is it Worth it to Use Heat to Kill Mold?
In conclusion, If you want a chemical free solution to your mold problem, using heat to kill it would be worth it.
Heating the mold also prevents your home from reeking of strong chemicals needed to kill mold, not just clean it away.
Heat also kills the mold prior to the area being cleaned (as mentioned above), which aids in preventing it from returning to the treated area.