How to Remove Mold from Walls and Other Surfaces
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Ways to use household ingredients to get rid of mold on painted walls and other surfaces, and steps you can take to prevent its return.
Mold does not go away on its own. If neglected, it will continue to spread and can become a permanent stain and problem. Learn the signs of mold growth and get rid of it with homemade mold killing sprays you can make from common household ingredients. Then follow a few tips that control your home’s humidity to help prevent its return.
Signs of Mold Growth
Mold produces green, brown, orange, or even black spots. But there are other, less apparent signs:
- Cracked or peeling paint
- A recurrent “soot” or black streaks, specks, or dots
- A musty odor or damp smell
- Allergy symptoms
Mold Removal Safety Tips
Wear protective clothing. A filtered dust mask can keep you from breathing mold spores. Googles prevent irritation from mold spores and sprays. To protect your skin, wear rubber gloves, long sleeves, and pants that you can launder in hot water as soon as you’re done.
Protect nearby furnishings. If the area you’re treating is large, protect the surrounding furnishings and floor by covering them with plastic sheeting taped in place.
Do not use different treatments at the same time. Never use the ingredients in the separate DIY mold killers together or at the same time in a room. The combination can produce hazardous fumes.
Stop if you feel ill. Some people have greater sensitivity to mold or mildew spores. If you are allergic to mold or experience allergy symptoms while removing it, do not proceed.
DIY Natural Mold Remover Spray
Used to remove mold on walls without damaging paint or washable wallpaper, non-textured ceilings, rugs, and washable fabrics.
- 2 tablespoons of borax
- 2 ounces of white vinegar
- 16 ounces of hot water
- Combine in a spray bottle.
- Spray the area well, then immediately scrub it with a clean cloth or brush to remove the surface layer of mold.
- Reapply lightly to just dampen the area. Wait 10 minutes and wipe it with a clean dry cloth. Do not rinse.
- Leave the area to dry overnight. Inspect the next day and repeat if needed. Otherwise, wipe the spot with a damp cloth and let it air dry.
DIY Bleach-Based Mold Remover Spray
Used to remove mold on tile, stone, concrete, popcorn or knockdown ceilings, and cement.
- 2 ounces chlorine bleach
- 16 ounces water
- Combine in a spray bottle.
- Apply to saturate the area but avoid dripping. Immediately scrub it with a rag, scouring pad, or brush and wipe away the residue.
- Lightly reapply the area, wait 15 minutes, and wipe the area with a fresh cloth dampened with water.
- Let the area dry overnight and inspect it the next day. Repeat if needed.
How to Remove Mold on Drywall
It’s best to remove and replace moldy drywall. Bare drywall or sheetrock is porous, so the mold has likely threaded its way below the surface. If you can’t remove and replace it, mist the area with the homemade bleach-based mold remover and immediately wipe the surface. Then seal the spot by applying a primer like Zinser Mold-Killing Primer or Killz Mold & Mildew — they both kill mold and cover the stain so you’re ready for paint.
See the “Mold and Mildew Control” section in my Amazon shop.
Mold Prevention Tips
• Window condensation in the summer: Some condensation on glass windows and doors is unavoidable on scorching hot days. Do not let the condensation sit in place. Aim fans at the glass or wipe away the condensation with a cloth or squeegee on them daily.
• Window condensation in the winter: This is a sign of cold outdoor air entering your warm home. Add weatherstripping around doors and caulk gaps around windows.
• Mold in bathrooms: Run exhaust fans for 15 minutes after every shower. Use a squeegee to dry off shower walls and glass shower doors, or shake excess moisture on shower curtains and leave them open 1 foot to either side to promote air circulation.
• Regularly inspect sinks, toilets, and drains. Watch for moisture at the base of toilets and beneath your sinks. Check your washing machine and refrigerator water hoses monthly, and immediately fix any leaks you find.
• Monitor your home’s humidity levels. A hygrometer monitors humidity, so you know when to use a humidifier to add more in the winter or a dehumidifier to lower it in the summer. Together, these devices help you maintain humidity around the ideal 30-50%.
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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!
And thanks for the recipe, hopefully it does the trick.
Some great info here, a lot of people just don’t realise that condensation is one of the main causes of mould on walls. Prevention is a must, bleach and water help when cleaning but proper ventilation is key when it comes to battling mould issues. Really good article with some helpful tips. Thanks for sharing.
We had a leak in a room and now there is a white coating on a wood armoire- is that mold?
No, that’s probably water damage to the wood. Here’s how to fix it. Let me know how it turns out!
I have mold in a closet next to the air conditioner filter. I’m wondering if it come from the attic and somethings leaking from Ac!
It could be something from above, or moisture building up inside the closet. You should probably schedule an AC tuneup to have it inspected.
I live in a RV and the clothing closet always has mold and if you lean something against that wall then it gets mold on it. It happens every year. How to stop it.
Donna might want to try putting damp rid in the closet. I hang it in my closets.
Damp Rid is wonderful. A box of sidewalk chalk works, too!
I have mold on wood stained doors. Do your 2 methods work for them too?
Yes, but (there’s always a “but”, right?) don’t leave the solution in contact with the wood for too long or it might lighten the wood. It’s better to lightly reapply it several times than risk having a discolored spot from a heavy-handed application. 🙂
Thank for the advise of removing mould of the wall. I live in the UK and not sure what to use instead of Borax or where I can buy it.
Any help in purchasing Borax, would be very helpful
Hello, Stephanie! Unfortunately, Borax is not available for sale in the UK due to different health and safety regulations but you can find substitutes (which are sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate) that work almost as well, though. Look for “Borax Substitute” at Tesco in the cleaning aisle — both “Dripak” and “Clear and Natural” brands work equally well. They’re also available on Amazon. Here’s a link to the UK listing.
In our RV we have a mould problem on the ceiling of the bathroom mostly in the winter when it is stored… I have tried to keep the vent open and closed.(no difference ) we use Driz.air to absorb moisture. Is the moisture coming from the toilet or/and bath drain? If I use the cleaning methods you suggest could I then paint the ceiling with special paint?
Once you’ve killed the mold you should use a primer designed to fight mold. I don’t know whether there’s a specific one for RVs but I’m sure an RV place could tell you.
I live in an apt here in Mexico. The structure here is made of cinder blocks & cement. I notice black stuff is growing on the walls. Even more I’ve been cooking beans in the Crickpot for just a few months (July-January) usually with the windows open but this winter has been cold so the last few months ive cooked with all the windows shut closed. I notice all my walls including the bathroom are soaked. Now with minimal black creeping in various places does this mean that ALL my walls & ceilings need to be washed down. If so Im gonna need some help!
It could be mold or just plain mildew but, without seeing it, I really don’t know. Either way, it’ll keep spreading unless you clean it. Sorry!
Going to go for bleach had a pipe leak and it got the walls in a closet damp 4 inches high now its green almost 3 ft high. Can’t leave the door a open my cat will go in but I can put a fan and space heater in there space heater will shut off automatically after 15 minutes come back on in a half hr. I will pull the plug if I leave the house
If it’s that bad, I think you’re smart to go straight to the bleach solution. Good luck!
I have a cinderblock building that we have insulated and finished the walls with Sheetrock. Every year we have a powdery green mildew, I presumed, form on the walls during winter and early spring. We do not have heat or air in the building and only use it during summer trade. What can we do to prevent this from occurring and best way to remove and treat.
The only real way to stop that mildew from forming is with adequate air circulation. Without it, any moisture in the air will collect on the walls and cause mildew and possibly mold, too.
I have a home on stilts near the bay. Only in the last 6 months has what appears to be mold began to grow in our very tiny hallway off the bathroom. Is this from moisture from the bathroom? Why now?
It’s hard to answer “why now.” It could be a variety of things, like a warmer season this year or less wind circulating the air, which would let mold and mildew grow.
Hello, you mentioned that sunlight helps rid of mold? If I have an area that does not get direct sun, can I use a UV light to replace the sunlight?
You can certainly try it, especially if it puts out heat since that reduces the moisture which mold needs to thrive.
We are redecorating our hallway. Hacking out some of the cracks to refill we noticed green and blue spots on the exposed areas which were underneath the emulsion. We can treat the areas shown but assume that the uncovered parts are the same. Have you any suggestions as to what we should do.
I’d suggest painting the entire hallway with a mold-blocking primer before applying new emulsion. Killz or Zinsser are two brands that work well. Be sure to look for the mold-blocking version, since it will prevent any green or blue spots from discoloring your new paint.
Hi, we had a leak under our kitchen sink and now have mould on our brick wall. We have dried out the area and are also using a dehumidifier. What option would you say is best to tackle to mould issue? I am also based in the UK. Thanks!
I’d recommend the bleach-based solution for brick.
I have a small where my bed is the exact length of the room and touches also touches the wall/window on the third side. Unfortunately mold is on the wall behind the headboard. I have painted cement walls and the mold is green. I won’t be able to scrub it because the bed cannot be moved. Can I just spray the solution on the wall above the headboard, let it run down the wall and hope for the best??
That will most likely damage your headboard and, unless you correct the air circulation issue and improve the insulation of the wall, the mold will simply return.