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How To Remove Mold From Silicone Rubber: 4 Easy Ways

How To Remove Mold From Silicone Rubber: 4 Easy Ways

Silicone products have become so popular since they are water-resistant, and they tend to be easy to clean – but knowing how to remove mold from silicone rubber can be an invaluable skill to have.

Yes, it’s true that silicone rubber can and does mold. Knowing how to remove mold from silicone rubber may be a tricky or challenging task, but it can be done. Our favorite methods include using vinegar, baking soda, bleach or ammonia and in this article we will go through each of these 4 methods.

What is Silicone Rubber?

Silicone rubber is a rubber-like material and is not identical to natural rubber. Scientifically speaking, silicone is an elastomer that is composed of silicone. Silicone contains silicon, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

It is often one or two parts polymers with fillers. It tends to be non-reactive, stable, and resistant to extreme environments and temperatures changes. It is also easy to shape.

Silicone rubber can be formulated to be porous or non-porous.

If your silicone rubber is porous, and mold begins to form, it will be more challenging to get clean. On porous rubber, there are going to be plenty of tiny nooks and crannies in which the mold can hide and spread.

Silicone rubber also comes in a liquid form that is used for sealants.

It quickly converts to a solid form after it has completely cured. It works great as an insulating material, even in environments with high-voltage currents, and is often used to coat porcelain or glass insulators.

Silicone Rubber Flooring

Silicone rubber is used for various purposes. It makes a great adhesive or sealant as well as being molded into useful items like muffin tins or baby toys.

It is often used in flooring in the form of rubber mats, anti-slip sheets, or as a caulk between tiles on flooring.

When it is used in flooring, it tends to be used in areas that are prone to mold and mildew like a child’s playroom in a basement, a laundry room, a bathroom, or a kitchen.

Difference Between Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are words that are generally and often used interchangeably as if they are one and the same. However, while they are both types of fungi and both thrive in humid, warm environments, they are different.

Mildew – Looks powdery and flat and is often gray or white and tends to stay on the surface. Mildew tends to have a musty smell that is a lot milder than the pungent smell of mold. Mildew can cause some health issues but is a lot less severe than being exposed to mold, especially black mold.

Mold – Looks fuzzy or slimy and is usually raised up from the surface. Mold tends to be green, red, blue, or black. Mold has a pungent smell which also indicates that if the spores become airborne, they will be dangerous to breathe. Mold will burrow down beneath the surface. The health effects of mold exposure are a lot more severe than when exposed to mildew.

Problems Mold Causes

Even though silicone is less likely than other rubber to develop mold, black mold grows rapidly in warm and moist environments.

Never ignore mold or mildew when you notice it on silicone rubber. If you leave black mold unattended, it can create numerous health problems that range from itchy skin to eye irritation, or to respiratory problems. If it has spread or burrowed into the silicone rubber extensively, you will want to call in a professional to properly and safely clean it all up.

First, Take Safety Precautions

Whatever cleaning method you choose, it is important to never mix ammonia with bleach. If you do, it will create toxic fumes that can be dangerous and even deadly.

Regardless of the cleaning method you select, be sure to wear the proper safety gear. The safety gear is not only to protect you from harsh chemical cleansers but also from the mold itself. If the black mold spores release into the air while you are cleaning, it could cause health problems.

Even if you use the safest cleaning method of vinegar, you should always wear protective gear when working with cleaning up mold and mildew. Wear rubber gloves, and preferably goggles and a face mask to cover your nose and mouth. Always clean in a well-ventilated area.

Also know that the gentler, more natural cleansers, like vinegar or baking soda, will take longer, up to several hours, to clean up or kill the mold than other methods.

4 Cleaning Methods to Rid Silicone Rubber of Mold

Unfortunately, when mold is a problem, it takes more than merely soap and water to clean it up. The best way to tackle mold on silicone rubber is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Always store any silicon rubber products in a dry place away from warmth or moisture. If the silicone is used in flooring or wall tiles, it will most likely be in a high-humidity room such as a bathroom, kitchen, or in a laundry room, or basement. So, mold and mildew are likely to form.

If mold does happen, here are the four most effective methods of cleaning mold from silicone rubber.

Vinegar

Vinegar should always be your first go-to method, especially if the mold has not yet become too much of a problem.

Vinegar is the safest and one of the most gentle ways to clean a lot of household items, including silicone rubber that is moldy – which is why we recommend it for so many surfaces around the home like laminate flooring. Use distilled white vinegar for the best results.

Follow this step-by-step guide:

  1. Wear hand gloves, a mask, and goggles whenever working with mold
  2. Pour some distilled vinegar into a spray bottle
  3. Spray directly onto the moldy area
  4. Leave the vinegar to sit for a few hours, possible as many as 4 hours
  5. Use a soft, stiff brush to rub the moldy area clean
  6. Wipe the residue away with a wet cloth
  7. Spray some more vinegar onto the surface, and let it sit for 15 minutes
  8. Wash thoroughly with distilled water
  9. Dry completely

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another mild, more natural cleaner that can be used on silicone rubber to get rid of mold and mildew. Follow these steps to clean mold using baking soda:

  1. Put warm water into a spray bottle
  2. Apply 3 tablespoons of baking soda with one ounce of water until it forms a paste
  3. Apply the baking soda paste to the moldy area using a damp cloth
  4. Spread the mixture over the entire area
  5. Allow it to sit for up to 5 minutes
  6. When the 5 minutes are done, use a cloth to gently scrub the mold away
  7. After the mold has been successfully removed, rinse the area using the spray bottle filled with warm water
  8. Use a cloth to dry the area completely, and allow it to finish air-drying

Combine both vinegar and baking soda for an even more effective cleaner.

Bleach

Bleach is very useful for removing black mold. However, bleach can contain as much as 7.5% sodium hypochlorite which is very corrosive and can damage the silicone rubber if used improperly or overused. It is also dangerous for the skin, so it must be used properly.

Follow these step-by-step instructions for using bleach to clean mold off of silicone rubber:

  1. Use a 1:10 dilution with water
  2. Mix until the bleach dissolves
  3. Spray the mixture on the moldy surface
  4. Use a soft bristle brush to rub the surface well
  5. Rub the area until all mold is cleared
  6. Alternatively, damp a sponge with the solution, and use the sponge to wipe away the mold
  7. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes
  8. Rub the surface again to wipe the mold completely away
  9. Rinse the area with water
  10. Dry with natural air until it is completely dry

Ammonia

Only use this method when the mold is set in and difficult to remove.

Ammonia is very potent, especially when cleaning in close proximity, so be sure to be in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gear before attempting to clean with ammonia. If open windows do not provide sufficient air circulation, use a fan as well.

Follow these steps to clean with ammonia:

  1. Mix equal parts of ammonia and water
  2. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and mix well
  3. Spray the mixture onto the moldy area
  4. Rub the mold using a stiff brush until it is cleaned away
  5. Let the area sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rubbing it again
  6. Continue the process until the mold is completely gone
  7. Once the mold is completely cleaned away, rinse the area well with distilled water

Final Thoughts

Obviously, the best method is to prevent mold and mildew from forming in the first place. However, if you notice mold on your silicone rubber, know how to remove mold from silicone rubber before it becomes a serious health problem.