Did you come across some green or sooty looking spots on your wall while cleaning? Or maybe you found orange mold blotches on your painted walls? Although it’s an alarming discovery, it’s possible to safely remove mold from walls using common household cleaners.
As someone with mold allergies, I encourage you to slip on the rubber gloves, wear long sleeves and pants, and open those windows wide for proper ventilation. If you wear glasses like I do, great, otherwise maybe add some eye protection, too. Removing mold stirs up spores that can cause an awful lot of misery if you’re not careful.
Understanding Different Types of Mold
Naturally, you’re not interested in getting on a first name basis with the different types of mold, but it’s worth noting that not all dark mold is the dangerous “black mold.” That stuff—Stachybotrys chartarum—grows where it’s been wet for a long time, like after a flood. Also, it’s slimy and black.
Other dark molds that show up in homes are green, blue, even white. They grow where it’s damp, like bathrooms and laundry rooms or kitchens, but they aren’t nearly as dangerous as the slimy stuff.
Removing Mold from Painted Walls
In steamy rooms, humidity clings to paint and practically invites mold to settle in. But here’s some good news: mold on painted walls is usually more superficial than your ex, and probably easier to get rid of.
If soapy water doesn’t do the job, scrub it with a mixture of 1 tablespoon borax, 1 ounce of white vinegar, and 1 cup of hot water. Reapply the solution lightly and leave it in place for 10 minutes, then wipe the spot dry without rinsing.
The combination of borax and vinegar kill mold spores and help loosen them from your painted wall, so they’re easy to wipe away. Once the spot’s dry, follow the prevention tips further down to keep it from returning.
Always perform a spot test for colorfastness before using a new cleaning product or technique.
Treating Mold on Washable Wallpaper
To remove mold from washable wallpaper, dab the area with a solution of 2 parts water to 1 part white vinegar. (For example, ½ cup of water and ¼ cup vinegar.) A dash of tea tree oil in a cup of water can also work.
Focus on dabbing the spot—not rubbing—with a clean section of cloth dampened with your preferred solution. Avoid saturating the area or you’ll damage the wallpaper adhesive—it’s better to work at the area, let it dry, and repeat.
Non Washable Wallpaper
To get mold off nonwashable wallpaper, like seagrass or silk, you’ll need a dry cleaning chemical sponge. Start by vacuuming the area with a HEPA vacuum’s dust brush attachment. Then press the dry cleaning sponge to the surface, lift, and repeat. Avoid rubbing.
When mold develops on drywall that hasn’t been primed or painted, it can thread its way inside. Then, even if you get rid of the surface problem with the spray above or a bleach and water solution, it can spread further into the structure where you won’t see it. So, if you find it growing on bare drywall, it’s best to cut out and replace that section.
Chlorine bleach does more than just bleach mold—it kills it on non-porous surfaces. However, on porous surfaces like drywall, it’s less effective as it doesn’t penetrate deeply enough to kill the root of the mold.
You know the saying, prevention is easier than the fix. That goes for dealing with mold on walls, too. Since this stuff grows where there’s an abundance of moisture, your focus should be on controlling humidity and dampness in your home.
If mold keeps returning to the same spot, it’s time to investigate the reason. Do you need to improve ventilation with a fan? Is there a leak? Water is tricky, and can travel far so check thoroughly.
Wipe up window condensation. In the summer, wipe up condensation or aim a fan at your windows to dry it. In the winter, seal gaps to stop ice and condensation from forming.
Keep bathrooms dry. Steamy bathrooms lead to mold on your walls. Keep this from happening by running your bathroom exhaust fan for at least 15 minutes after every shower. Leave your shower doors or curtain open so the fan can dry up water in there, too.
Check for leaks. Plumbing gaskets wear out. Connections get knocked around. Leaks can form under sinks and toilets without warning, so check them routinely and repair any problems ASAP.
Monitor home humidity. Pick up a simple hygrometer to monitor your indoor humidity and use a dehumidifier to keep it within the ideal range of 30-50%. Allowing your home’s humidity to get over 60% consistently is like letting your troublesome ex move back in: before long, you’ll be trying to fix the same old problems, including removing mold from your walls.