Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Mold Spores? Answers and Options

We’ve all heard that hand sanitizer is recommended for preventing the spread of germs, but does hand sanitizer kill mold spores?

Hand sanitizer is not reliable for killing mold spores. Isopropyl alcohol, the most common active ingredient in hand sanitizer, may be successful in killing fungus, but it is not effective against fungal spores. Mold spores need prolonged disinfection time, so hand sanitizers enable spores to remain dormant and not be killed.

Fuzzy mold

Molds spread by dispersing microscopic reproductive cells known as spores via the air. Mold spores are naturally prevalent in both indoor and outdoor air, although they can often not be seen without a magnifying glass.

And although hand sanitizers can kill mold fungi, they are unlikely to penetrate the mold spores.

Spores from some molds are easily disturbed and re-settled after each disturbance. Other molds produce spores that are clingy and can be removed off surfaces by brushing against them or making direct contact with them.

Hand sanitizers are not only not a reliable method of getting rid of mold spores, but the ingredients in hand sanitizers have been red-flagged by the FDA as potentially harmful to humans.

Mold spores become easily airborne, attaching themselves to surfaces and flourishing on moist, warm, porous surfaces.

Inhaling mold spores from inside and outside your house can exacerbate breathing difficulties, asthma, and seasonal allergies.

When doing your research on what kills mold spores, it’s important to remember that mold spores are different than the mold itself.

Just because a solution kills mold and other fungi does not mean it will also kill mold spores that are harder to penetrate.

The only method to effectively prevent the mold from returning is to kill the spores.

Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Mold Spores?

Rubbing alcohol is not effective in killing mold spores. However, rubbing alcohol is often effective in killing a variety of molds and is able to penetrate porous surfaces to get down deep into warm, moist crevices where mold thrives.

Although rubbing alcohol is not the most effective way to kill mold, an advantage that it does have is that it’s a drying agent, pulling moisture out of surfaces.

Molds thrive where there is warmth and moisture, so eliminating moisture helps prevent it from coming back.

Differences Between Rubbing Alcohol & Hand Sanitizer

The difference between rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer is that rubbing alcohol is made to taste terrible with poisonous ingredients to prevent recreational consumption, and hand sanitizers are a combination of water and alcohol.

Does Alcohol Kill Fungus on Surfaces?

Alcohol kills a wide variety of fungi on surfaces and is able to penetrate porous surfaces to get down deep where the fungus spreads. Although alcohol is not the most recommended solution to kill all mold and fungi, its drying components are well suited for pulling moisture out of porous surfaces to ensure mold can no longer thrive.

Does Bleach Kill Mold Spores?

Bleach kills mold spores and prevents recurring mold growth, yet is only effective on non-porous surfaces. Bleach will not be able to penetrate down into porous surfaces such as furniture, wood, drywall, or any other porous surface.

Because bleach does not get down into porous surfaces, it’s safe to say that it will not be able to kill all of the mold spores in the area you wish to sanitize.

Bleach is a harsh, toxic chemical that can easily corrode surfaces that it comes into contact with, so care should be taken when using bleach to kill mold and mold spores.

How to Kill Mold With Bleach

  • Using a spray bottle, mix one gallon of water with 1 cup of bleach.
  • Spray on non-porous surfaces and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing.

Remember, however, that bleach can easily harm surfaces, so it’s recommended to be very careful with what surfaces you decide to use the bleach on.

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Kill Mold Spores?

Hydrogen peroxide has an antimicrobial property that can kill mold spores by deconstructing their proteins and DNA, a mold spore’s crucial components. Hydrogen Peroxide is a recommended solution for potentially killing fungi, viruses, bacteria, and mold spores.

Wearing protective gloves, goggles, and a mask when cleaning mold in your house will help you avoid inhaling and coming into close contact with mold spores.

How to Kill Mold Spores with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can be used on porous and non-porous surfaces to help eliminate mold (fungi), viruses, bacteria, and mold spores.

  • Transfer 3% hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Hydrogen peroxide may be purchased at your local pharmacy.
  • Spray hydrogen peroxide liberally onto affected surfaces until the entire surface is covered.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, which is about the time the hydrogen peroxide stops bubbling.
  • Using a soft scrub brush or rag and some good old-fashioned elbow grease, completely and gently wipe or scrub making sure not to damage the surface.
  • Wipe down the surface with a clean towel when finished.

You may wish to repeat this process if you feel it’s necessary.

How Do You Stop Mold From Spreading?

Stop mold from spreading by attempting to kill the mold you see with a solution that is able to penetrate porous surfaces. Although alcohol does not kill all varieties of mold and fungi, it does provide drying properties that remove the moisture that mold needs to survive.

There are also things you can do to prevent mold growth in your home:

  • Invest in mold-killing cleaning products for your bathrooms.
  • Maintain humidity levels of no more than 50% inside your home. Dehumidifiers and air conditioning units may help to keep humidity under control.
  • Find and repair any leaks you may have in your home.
  • Always use an exhaust fan in your kitchen and bathrooms that vent to the outside.
  • Clothes dryers should also be vented to the outside.

Keeping your home dry and void of moisture accumulation is key to preventing mold.

Does Isopropyl Alcohol Kill Fungus?

Isopropyl alcohol kills fungus most effectively when the solution is a mixture of 60 to 90% alcohol and 10 to 40% purified water. Water is paramount in destroying the proteins and cellular properties of fungi.

Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Fungus?

Hand sanitizer exposure for 30 seconds has been shown to kill 7 types of fungus, according to a study at Cambridge University. Hand sanitizer has been shown to kill germs, bacteria, fungi, and other viruses.

Does Ammonia Kill Mold?

Ammonia can kill mold but is not recommended for porous surfaces. Although ammonia is effective at killing mold, it’s toxic and has a harsh odor. Just remember that although ammonia kills mold on surfaces, it will not kill mold spores that are transferred in the air.

How to Kill Mold with Ammonia:

  • Fill a spray bottle with 50% water and 50% clear ammonia. The label must say “clear ammonia”.
  • Spray this solution on all affected areas and let it sit for an extended period of time before rinsing off, preferably for a few hours.

The smell of ammonia may be off-putting, yet when mixed with 50% water, the odor is less offensive.


Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.