Got Mold at Home? These 6 Essential Oils May Be Your Best Mold-Fighters

by HJ Tagupa May 15, 2023

woman afraid of black mold in kitchen wearing hazmat suit

You never want to find mold in your house. This pesky type of fungi can trigger health issues in humans, sometimes as serious as chronic pulmonary illnesses. You could be the healthiest, tidiest person in the world, and mold could still get you. So what do you do when you unexpectedly find moldy spots on your walls or tiles?

First thing’s first: if the mold problem is widespread or if you can smell it, get out of the room and contact a professional mold removal team. Thankfully, such severe cases don’t happen often. Mold can be visible at its earlier stages, when you can get rid of it with home remedies.

Our favourite DIY solution for mold is an essential oil spray. Essential oils like clove are natural yet powerful antifungal agents that inhibit mold growth and stop their spores from spreading.

At the early signs of mold, I prefer spraying a blend of these oils rather than using chemical disinfectants like bleach which only hides mold and doesn’t remove its roots. Harsh cleaning chemicals irritate my skin and nose, while essential oils remain gentle on me.

Let’s get to know these mold-fighting oils and how you can use them at home.

Why You Should Stop Mold As Soon As You Notice

Once you find those first splotches of mold, it’s already time to remove them. These fast-growing fungi can quickly spread throughout your house if you don’t take action immediately. The longer you’re exposed to mold, the more likely you could experience health problems.

There are many kinds of mold with varying degrees of health effects. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it.” One real risk is that the mold could release compounds called mycotoxins. When inhaled by humans, mycotoxins poison the respiratory system and may cause pulmonary haemorrhage. If you’ve been exposed to mold and feel shortness of breath, see a doctor right away!

Even molds that don’t produce mycotoxins can also trigger adverse health reactions such as itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, skin irritation, and lethargy. Long-term mold exposure is also linked to memory loss and even depression. Children and immunocompromised persons are more vulnerable to mold-triggered health conditions, so if you have these family members, it’s all the more reason to sanitise against mold. Mold sensitivity is also genetic, so just because you’re feeling fine doesn’t mean everyone in your household is as tolerant as you are!

The best course of action against mold is prevention. Remember, mold requires water, food, and oxygen to grow. If you eliminate water, it will never grow in the first place, so ensure you don’t have any leaks in your home, there is no condensation occurring, and that you run the ceiling fan for ~1 hour after every bath/shower, especially in the winter!

Now you might be here because you currently have a mold problem so just read on for my EO mold-fighting tips!

Top 6 Essential Oils That Can Stop Mold

Based on scientific evidence and our own experience, our top six essential oils to fight mold are clove, cinnamon, mustard, thyme, oregano, and orange. Here’s a quick breakdown of how they work to get rid of mold.

Clove oil

Numerous studies (such as this one) show the fungicidal effect of clove oil, thanks to its main compound called eugenol. This compound damages the cell membrane of a fungus, causing its cell contents to leak out and ultimately destroying the fungus itself.

One study examined various herb oils against the mold genera Aspergillus and Penicillium, which are both ubiquitous in indoor spaces. It found that “cloves, cinnamon, and mustard seem to be the most effective of those tested,” completely inhibiting mycotoxin production even when the amount of spice in the solution was less than one percent.

And get this: a separate review concluded that the fungicidal effect of clove EO is comparable to that of commercial disinfectants! This is the scientific research that convinced me to incorporate clove oil in my homemade mold solution (which I’ll share with you further below).

Cinnamon oil

When you get a whiff of that well-loved cinnamon aroma, it means mold-fighting is happening! Cinnamon’s taste and smell come from a natural compound called cinnamaldehyde, which happens to be antifungal. Research found that even cinnamaldehyde vapours are “strong antimicrobials against airborne microbes.”

On top of that, cinnamon oil is also packed with the fungicidal compound eugenol – the same ingredient that makes clove oil so powerful against mold.

Mustard oil

Allyl isothiocyanate – AITC for short – is the compound that gives mustard seeds their pungent flavour plus fungus-fighting power. Scientists believe that AITC (and other ITCs) creates a chemical reaction that destroys fungi proteins. This substance is so effective that some organic farms in Asia use it as a fumigant to protect their plants from fungi.

Want more proof? One study saw that black mustard oil, when deployed as vapour, impeded the growth of Aspergillus and Penicillium on bread and prevented these molds from recovering!

Thyme oil

Thyme oil contains the aptly-named substance thymol, known to stop mold. It works similarly as eugenol by breaking down the cell membranes of fungi and causing them to die out.

A group of Croatian scientists investigated how this would work on mold growing on walls. Not just Aspergillus and Penicillium, mind you, but also a handful of other common types such as Cladosporium and Trichoderma. They found that thyme oil vapours “strongly suppressed” mold growth after 60 days, and that this suppressive activity could be long-lasting.

Oregano oil

Oregano essential oil also has thymol, plus its own mold-killing compound called carvacrol. Just like eugenol and thymol, carvacrol disrupts the cell walls of fungi, causing cell death. In one lab test, oregano EO inhibited the growth of three species of Aspergillus mold: A. niger, A. flaous, and A. ochraceus. As a bonus, the oil also helped impede Staph and Salmonella bacteria!

Orange oil

We all know oranges as immune-boosting foods through the vitamin C they provide, but they can also protect us through their essential oils! Orange essential oil is rich in limonene, a volatile organic compound that disrupts the growth of mold. Dozens of studies have found the antimicrobial actions of limonene against all sorts of fungi, from Aspergillus to Penicillium to Trichophyton.

In one journal article I particularly like, scientists created a type of paper meant to be applied on fungal-infected skin. The paper, made with orange oil, “exhibited complete inhibition of growth” of the Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Rhizopus molds they tested. Such a potent result from something so sweet-smelling!

How to Use Essential Oils to Get Rid of Mold: 2 Methods

There are two easy ways to clear household mold using essential oils: you can spray an oil blend to target moldy surfaces, or use a nebulizing diffuser to purify the air. Here are the steps.

How to Use an Essential Oil Spray Against Mold

  1. Blend your oils of choice in a spray bottle. Here’s my favourite mold-stopping EO recipe:
    95 parts water
    2 parts dishwashing liquid
    2 parts clove oil
    1 part orange oil.

  2. Spray on moldy surfaces like walls and floors. Let sit for at least one hour.

  3. For this step, wear rubber gloves and a face mask if you’re sensitive to contaminants. Brush the sprayed area with a pasty mixture of baking soda and water, then wipe dry with a microfibre cloth. Baking soda gives you extra scrubbing power with some antimicrobial effect of its own.

  4. For good measure, spray and wipe the area again. Mold thrives in damp spaces, so it’s vital to keep your walls and floors as dry as possible.

How to Use EO Diffuser to Clear Airborne Mold

Some of the studies we cited above showed the power of essential oil vapours in suppressing mold. To cleanse a room of airborne mold spores, use a freshly cleaned nebulizing diffuser with your mold-fighting EO of choice. It’s important to use a nebulizer instead of an ultrasonic water diffuser because water particles would only moisten the air and make it more ideal for mold to thrive!

How long do you have to diffuse the EO? I’ve heard the advice that the EO diffuser should stay on continuously for 24 hours to work against airborne mold. But there’s also scientific evidence that essential oil vapours start reducing mold spores as quickly as 10 minutes! I would leave the diffuser on for two hours or so if I want to be confident about having cleaner air.

Do note that people have different reactions to EO diffusion. I personally experience no issue with it, but some people (and pets) may have sensitive noses and respiratory tracts. To be safe, keep everyone out of the room and close its doors and windows during oil diffusion.

My Final Notes

It’s so comforting to know that natural oils may work as well as commercial chemicals in stopping mold. And I love that the EO spray recipe above smells wonderful! Clove oil gives it a warm, spicy kick, while the orange oil balances that with citrusy sweetness.

Speaking of wonderful oil blends, have you tried our Refreshing & Restorative Mouth Drops? We’ve packed it with fungi-fighting oils including clove, cinnamon leaf, oregano, thyme, and more. If these oils are powerful enough to stop toxic mold, imagine its cleansing effect against bad breath and cavity-causing microbes!

I’m now thinking of a long-lasting essential oil formulation that you can store on your shelf and grab whenever you need an antimicrobial spray. Would you like to see an EO spray on Glowing Orchid? Leave a comment and let me know!



HJ Tagupa
HJ Tagupa


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