Once you’ve seen the first signs of discoloration, you need to figure out how to remove mold from walls fast to keep it from spreading and causing both health and structural issues. Follow these tips and use the mold removal spray recipes below to get your mold situation under control.
Inspecting for Wall Mold
Just about every home develops mold at some point. Surprisingly, newer homes get it more often than older ones.
That’s because mold occurs in areas of higher humidity, and the tighter seals around windows and doors in new home construction keep in more moisture than drafty old homes.
Signs of Mold Growth
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
- A recurrent “soot” or black streaks, specks, or dots
- A musty, damp smell
Where You’ll Find It Growing
Mold on basement or exterior walls occurs when water vapor in the air meets a cold surface and turns the vapor into a liquid.
Bathrooms and laundry rooms develop mold because they’re typically very humid.
Other humid areas include the walls and ceiling near humidifiers and any room with a hot tub or jacuzzi improperly installed indoors.
Mold also grows where there is (or has been) a water leak. Places like the cupboards under sinks are very prone to it. Once a pipe has leaked, there’s a good chance mold will grow unnoticed within the wall until the problem requires expert removal.
Safe Removal Tips
1. Protect your skin. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from coming in contact with mold and mold removal sprays. Remove the gloves the instant you’re done, so you don’t spread the spores throughout your home.
2. Wear long sleeves and pants. Opt for old clothing and wash it in HOT water to kill any mold spores that wind up on your clothes.
3. Ventilate the area well. Open windows and doors while you’re working, so you aren’t inhaling the mold or mold removal spray.
4. Protect those with allergies or immune issues. If anyone in your house has a compromised immune system or a mold allergy, get them out of the house while you do this if possible. If that’s not an option, you can minimize their exposure by closing doors between rooms while you remove mold.
How to Get Rid of Mold on Painted Walls
Use the Natural Mold Removal Spray first and wait two days to see if the mold returns. If it does, move on to using the Stubborn Mold Removal Spray.
Natural Mold Removal Spray
- 2 tablespoons borax
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 cups hot water
- Combine the ingredients above in a bowl, stirring until the borax dissolves.
- Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and liberally apply on painted walls, tile or other non-porous surfaces.
- Scrub thoroughly and immediately wipe clean.
- Spray again and let sit 10 minutes before wiping dry.
Stubborn Mold Removal Spray
Do NOT use this bleach-based spray at the same time, or even on the same day, as any other cleaning product. There are some cleaning products you should never mix, and bleach is one of them. (Related: Dangerous Cleaning Product Combinations.)
- 1/4 cup bleach
- 2 cups warm water
- Open the windows to ensure adequate ventilation.
- Combine the ingredients above in a spray bottle and liberally apply on painted walls, tile or other non-porous surfaces.
- Scrub thoroughly and wipe clean.
- If any mold remains, reapply and let sit 15 minutes before scrubbing. Spray again then wipe with a clean, damp cloth.
- Direct a fan at the cleaned area to dry it quickly.
How To Remove Mold on Cement
Unfinished basements are 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.
For unfinished cement, concrete, or stone basement walls, go straight to the Stubborn Mold Removal Spray method above. Be sure to open all doors and windows in your basement, so neither loosened mold spores nor fumes from the spray get trapped in your home.
For finished basements, try the Natural Mold Removal Spray first on painted walls. If the walls are unpainted, see the next section on removing mold on drywall.
How to Remove Mold on Drywall
Mold can grow on unpainted surfaces like drywall and popcorn ceilings, too. These surfaces are porous, which means the mold not only builds on the surface but also threads its way into the structure of the drywall/ceiling material, too.
If mold returns after using both types of mold removal spray above (several days apart), you’ll need to replace the drywall.
How to Stop Mold from Growing on Walls
To get rid of mold on walls permanently, remove it using the steps above. Then, adopt the following practices to keep it from returning.
- Open curtains daily. Sunlight is a natural mold killer.
- If your basement has windows and doors, open them a few minutes each day to allow air to circulate.
- Use fans or space heaters to circulate air in basements without windows.
- Use bathroom fans after every shower or bath for at least 10 minutes.
- Use a mold-prevention spray or squeegee after every shower. (Related: Homemade Daily Shower Spray.)
- Keep shower doors open to allow air to circulate. Plastic shower curtains should be shaken well to dislodge water droplets then left partially open.
- Replace damaged caulk or grout in your shower and tub immediately.
- Clean your bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room weekly. Look for signs of moisture or leaks in cabinets. (Related: Bathroom Cleaning Checklist.)
In the Rest of Your Home
- Keep your home’s humidity levels in check. Overly humid air contributes to mold and mildew growth.
- Visually check your roof after severe storms for loose shingles or other damage that could allow water to enter your attic or home.
- Keep debris and junk away from your home’s foundation so water does not collect there and seep into your basement or under your home.
- Watch for signs of cracks in your foundation and contact foundation repair specialists immediately if you see any.
- Inspect your washing machine hose quarterly and replace it every five years even if it does not show wear. (Many homeowner insurance policies will deny claims for water damage if you don’t!)