How To Remove Mold From Walls

How to remove mold from walls from

Whether you spell it “mold” (American English) or “mould” (British English), isn’t important — so long as you know how to remove mold from walls. Just about every home gets the stuff. Surprisingly, newer homes get it more often than older ones. That’s because mold occurs in areas of higher humidity; tighter seals around windows and doors in new home construction keep in more moisture than in drafty old homes.

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Signs of Mold Problems on Walls

The most obvious sign of a mold problem is finding green, brown, orange or even black spots. But there are other, less apparent signs:

  • Cracked or peeling paint
  • Discoloration
  • A recurrent “soot” or black streaks
  • Bulging
  • A musty, damp smell

Places Most Prone To Mold

Mold often grows in areas where condensation forms from water vapor in the air meeting a cold surface which turns the vapor into a liquid. This often takes place on exterior walls or in basements.

Very humid areas in the home are prone to mold, too. Bathrooms and laundry rooms are two common places to find mold growing, particularly on grout lines or shower walls. Other areas include the walls and ceiling near humidifiers, and any room with a hot tub or jacuzzi improperly installed indoors. In these areas, one of the best ways to prevent mold is to decrease humidity by opening windows and running fans regularly.

Mold also grows where there is (or has been) a water leak. Places like the cupboards under sinks are very prone to mold. Once a pipe has leaked, there’s a good chance mold will grow in the wall without being noticed until the problem requires expert removal.

Removing Mold From Painted Walls

As with many cleaning challenges, it’s best to start with a natural, mild approach and move onto stronger methods only if necessary. My personal recommendation is to use the vinegar/borax/water method first and wait two days to see if mold returns. If it does, move on to using the bleach/water approach. (Bleach is very irritating to the lungs, eyes and skin, so I prefer avoiding its use whenever possible.)

Whether you use the non-toxic method or use bleach, it’s important to use rubber gloves to protect your skin from coming in contact with mold. Wear old clothing so you can wash it in HOT water to kill any mold spores that wind up on your clothes, and be sure to ventilate the area well while you’re working so you aren’t inhaling the stuff.

Mold Remover #1

  • 2 tablespoons borax
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups VERY warm water

Combine the ingredients above in a bowl, stirring until the borax is completely dissolved. Pour into a spray bottle and liberally apply on painted walls, tile or other non-porous surfaces. Scrub well and wipe clean. Spray again and let sit 10 minutes before wiping dry.

Mold Remover #2

  • 1/4 cup bleach
  • 2 cups warm water

Combine the ingredients above in a spray bottle and liberally apply on painted walls, tile or other non-porous surfaces. Scrub well and wipe clean. If mold remains, reapply and let sit 5-10 minutes before scrubbing. Spray again then wipe clean.

Removing Mold from Cement

Basements are often constructed with cement walls and/or floors. Since these locations are underground and cool they’re common sites for mold growth. If your home has a basement, it’s a good idea to inspect the walls and floor several times a year, particularly in your area’s wet season. If you find mold use the Mold Remover #2 solution above.

Removing Mold From Drywall

Mold can grow on unpainted surfaces like drywall and popcorn ceilings, too. Since these surfaces haven’t been sealed they’re porous which means the mold not only grows on the surface but threads its way into the structure of the drywall/ceiling material, too. In those situations, try either of the two removal mixtures above and allow the area to thoroughly dry. If mold returns, you’ll most likely need to replace the drywall. A professional mold-removal service may be able to treat the ceiling, however.

How To Prevent Mold (or Mould)

Whether you’ve just battled a mold infestation or want to prevent one from occurring, there are a few steps you should take:

  • Use your bathroom fans after every shower for at least 15 minutes.
  • No bathroom fan? Leave the bathroom lights on for at least 30 minutes.
  • Keep shower doors open to allow air to circulate.
  • Hang up towels.
  • Use vinegar-based bathroom cleaners and floor cleaners to kill mold spores regularly.
  • Spray your shower and tub daily.
  • Clean bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms weekly. (See my printable cleaning checklists here.)

Remember: regular prevention means you’ll never have to know how to remove mold because it won’t happen!

Equipment To Use For This:


  1. says

    hi there,
    I just wanted to say I have fallen in love with your website!!!! it has helped me out so much! I find that oil of cloves (which is fairly expensive for the tiny bottle that it comes in) is fantastic for getting rid of mould all together. you only need a drop or so of it on a cloth with a bit of water and then wipe away.

    Thanks again for all of the tips!

    Have a great christmas


  2. dz11 says

    Scrape it off and wash the surface with soapy water using an old disposable rag or paper towels. Throw away the rag after you have finished. Buy fungicide wash and apply it to the surface with spray or brush to kill off any mould. I really would not try to save a few pounds by following the advice in the article. Fungicide wash is the best stuff to use for this.

    The mould will come back if you don’t tackle the cause of the problem so I would take care of that urgently.

  3. Gabriel says

    Any other tips, it is apperaring in my painted wall behind my tv. and it seems to appear extremly fast. I follow your tips but the problems persist, and i have changed the wall 3 rimes already

  4. Delores Lyon says

    Thanks for sharing these different recipes! I just noticed that the corner space between the walls and ceiling of my bathroom are an odd color. The last thing I want is mold damaging my home, so I am going to spend my Saturday getting rid of it. Hopefully these homemade cleaners will do the trick!

  5. amy says

    Hi, I used the borax mixture to wash internal painted walls and there were random rings that seemed to repel the solution, almost as if there was an oily spot. It looked like mould growth patterns to me, and behind a door which would be a likely place for mould to grow. However there was no visible mould. After scratching my head, the only idea I had is that the last owners painted over some mould without cleaning it first. The round blobs that repel the solution are only visible when the light catches it the right way. Anyone else had this problem or any ideas what it could be?

    • Katie Berry says

      Rich, Borax is a laundry booster that’s available at stores like Walmart or even your grocery store. It contains sodium tetra borate, a natural mineral that’s mined in the Mojave Desert. One brand name of borax is “20 Mule Team.” You can find it here on Amazon but, honestly, it costs MUCH less at grocery stores.

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