Black mold doesn't just look unsightly. It is also linked with health problems such as respiratory issues, including asthma, and can be a cause of pneumonia in people with underlying health issues.
Even if you know how to clean a bathroom and cleaning a kitchen is top of your daily to-do list, black mold may still be a challenge you need to deal with. That's because black mold is a symptom of a damp problem – which is also one of the causes of cracks in walls and is cited as one of the most undesirable home decor features that put home buyers off.
Even if you need to employ a professional to deal with a deeper damp issue, you can find out how to get rid of black mold from your home. We spoke to the experts to find out more.
How to get rid of black mold – expert advice
Using bleach to kill mold is one of the most common DIY solutions to the appearance of black mold in your home. But it's not always the best or the only one. As well as natural solutions, such as cleaning with white vinegar and lemon juice, you can buy mold-busting sprays that use chemicals to tackle the issue.
But be advised, getting rid of black mold is only the first step to ensuring your home is mold-free for good.
'Mold is caused by damp, whether on a surface or a damp environment. You can clean it off as many times as you like but new mold will continue to form whilst the damp problem exists,' explains Robert Vaughn, Managing Director of Damp Detectives and a participant in the Clean & Tidy Homes Show. 'Therefore, the best way to combat mold and damp is to locate the source.'
1. Decide if you can get rid of black mold yourself
Whether you can do a DIY clean-up of black mold, or need to employ a damp and mold professional, will depend on the size of your problem.
Advice on tackling mold from the United Stages Environmental Protection Agency is to consider doing the job yourself if the area affected is less than 10 square feet.
You may want to consult a professional if you have health problems, if you think your home's heating, ventilation or air-conditioning system may be contaminated with mold, or if the black mold covers an extensive area.
2. Getting rid of black mold with soap
The jury is out on whether soap and water, bleach and chemical treatments, or natural cleaning solutions such as white vinegar are the best way to get rid of black mold. But most experts agree that the first step in dealing with the problem is a simple wash and scrub-up.
'If you have surface mold on walls or surfaces you can clean it off with a soapy solution and flush the mold away,' says Robert Vaughn from Damp Detectives. His advice on the use of bleach? 'Don’t use bleach or other chemicals which can cause health problems on their own.'
3. Getting rid of black mold with bleach
A dilute bleach solution is a good way to remove any mold growing on white surfaces and non-porous, such as countertops and tiles in a kitchen or bathroom – find out what is the best kitchen backsplash material to discover which are most mold resistant.
But take care when using, wearing gloves and a mask to protect yourself from the toxic fumes that bleach gives off.
If an initial scrub with bleach doesn't remove much of the mold, you can take a tip from professional cleaners and soak the affected area with bleach.
'Our cleaning professionals are instructed to soak patches of mold with bleach for at least 15 minutes before wiping the bleach away,' says Justin Carpenter, the founder ofModern Maids.
For badly affected areas, you could also soak some cotton cloths in bleach and leave them on the affected area overnight. Be sure that the surface will not be damaged by the bleach if it's left that long by testing an unseen patch first.
4. Getting rid of black mold with white vinegar
This is a tip from Sara San Angelo, who is known professionally as The Cleaning Lady. She recommends using white vinegar for areas of mold found on porous surfaces – advice that's useful when you want to know how to clean a clothes closet.
'Bleach will kill mold spores growing across a hard surface, but if the mold has extended below the surface, then white vinegar is the best choice,' she says. 'The vinegar will penetrate to kill the mold and mildew at the root, preventing it from regrowing.’
5. Getting rid of mold with natural cleaners
Home kitchen cleaners made with pantry staples can be a quick fix for tackling mold, although some may be more effective than others.
'Cleaning with baking soda has proven successful if you want to get rid of black mold from grout between tiles,' says Homes & Gardens' contributing editor, Hayley Gilbert.
'An easy way toclean grout is to mix together one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts baking soda. Apply the paste to the grout using an old toothbrush, then let it work its magic for 20 minutes before rinsing away with cold water.'
You might also want to try a teaspoon of tea tree oil with 1 cup of water. Spray the solution on to the mold, leave for at least one hour, then wipe away with a cloth or sponge. Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide that can kill the mold spores.
6. Getting rid of black mold in the washing machine
If you want to know how to get rid of shower curtain mold and mildew, the easiest way to do so is on a hot wash on laundry day. Even plastic shower curtains are machine washable, though always check thelaundry symbolson the care label before you start to ensure it can take a high temperature. By adding one or two bath towels to the load, you will increase the chance of removing the black mold since their textured fabric will scrub dirt from the curtain, and prevent from wrinkling and tearing by acting as a buffer.
Why should I get rid of black mold quickly?
There are a number of reasons to deal with black mold quickly.
The first is that it spreads, so the longer you leave it, the more mold there will be.
Second, black mold is linked to health problems, including allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin.
Finally, mold can damage and discolor surfaces and the items it grows across. Advice from the United Stages Environmental Protection Agency is to 'act quickly. Mold damages what it grows on. The longer is grows, the more damage it can cause.'
How can I stop black mold growing?
Black mold is caused by damp and moisture entering or becoming trapped in your home, so repairing leaks and also managing ventilation of your home, to get rid of condensation inside windows, for example, is key to preventing black mold from growing.
One way to control dampness is to protect external wood, brick or stonework from the rain. 'Driving rain can soak through masonry over 2 feet think in as little as 24 hours,' says Gordon Grainger, director at Kingfisher Building Products.
Fixing leaks in windows and doors, and reducing condensation via good ventilation, air conditioning, or the use of a dehumidifier, are all effective strategies to reduce damp and mold.
For a natural solution for getting rid of black mold, combine one part baking soda with five parts distilled white vinegar and five parts water in a spray bottle. Alternatively, you can use a chemical-based mold and mildew remover, all-purpose cleaners, bleach or dish soap.What kills black mold permanently? ›
'Bleach will kill mold spores growing across a hard surface, but if the mold has extended below the surface, then white vinegar is the best choice,' she says. 'The vinegar will penetrate to kill the mold and mildew at the root, preventing it from regrowing.What do professionals use to kill black mold? ›
A popular chemical for killing mold is Concrobium Mold Control, which can be bought at big-box hardware stores. It's used by both pros and homeowners. We have used it and have found it to be effective.Can I remove black mold myself? ›
Homeowners can handle cleaning about 10 square feet (roughly 3 feet by 3 feet) of black mold on their own. If the patch is small enough, a combination of bleach, water, scrubbing, and ventilation should do the trick. Before treating mold on your own, prioritize ventilation and protective gear.How do I completely remove mold from my house? ›
Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely. Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy.What kills 100% of mold? ›
Use a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup (8 ounces) household laundry bleach per 1 gallon of water to kill mold on surfaces.What makes black mold worse? ›
It thrives in damp areas with a lot of cellulose, such as cardboard or paper items. Black mold is also present in some foods that are high in cellulose and low acidity (e.g., nuts). However, mold can grow in any warm, wet areas of the house such as basements, showers, crawlspaces, and especially on windows.How do professionals clean black mold? ›
All contaminated surfaces will be vacuumed with a HEPA vacuum to trap the mold spores while releasing clean air, unlike traditional vacuum cleaners. Next, a professional will spray and wipe down the once contaminated surface with microfiber cleaning cloths.Is bleach or vinegar better to kill black mold? ›
While it is possible to use bleach to kill mold as well, experts agree that vinegar is a much better option. Unlike bleach, vinegar can effectively kill the mold at the root, which means it's less likely to return. Vinegar is also less toxic than bleach, making it a better choice for household use.What kills mold spores in the air? ›
Hydrogen peroxide kills mold spore on contact by breaking down proteins and DNA. It's normally used to clean mold on porous and non-porous surfaces. Ionized hydrogen peroxide can kill mold spores in the air, but it requires the use of a special fogging machine.
Bleach kills virtually every species of indoor mold that it comes into contact with including mold spores which leaves a sanitized surface making it resistant to future mold growth.Is it OK to stay in a house with black mold? ›
The Bottom Line. Being exposed to black mold is dangerous for your household's health. Those with pre-existing respiratory conditions are the most vulnerable to the dangers of black mold, but it is harmful to everyone.What happens if you stay in a house with black mold? ›
Black mold is a fungus that may cause your immune system to react. Common symptoms include sneezing, coughing, congestion and eye irritation. It rarely causes serious illness or death but may worsen asthma symptoms.What is the best mold killer? ›
Cleaning vinegar, which contains 6% acetic acid, is the best type for killing mold. White vinegar containing 5% acidity will also work just fine. If you don't already have some at home, white vinegar can be inexpensively purchased at most grocery stores.What kills mold on walls? ›
Use 1 part bleach to 3 parts water, according to Sherwin-Williams. If you don't want to use bleach but do want something other than water, try vinegar, borax or branded products that you can find at a hardware store or home center, which also kill mold.Will mold eventually go away? ›
Without constant moisture, mold will become inactive but they never die unless you get rid of them completely. They can always come back to life in the presence of moisture and multiply rapidly causing serious health problems.What kills mold the fastest? ›
In such cases, a solution of diluted bleach provides the fastest way to kill mold on walls or flooring. Prepare the solution by adding one cup of bleach into a bucket that contains about a gallon of warm water. Then proceed to scrub the mold vigorously with a stiff-bristled brush you've dipped in the bleach solution.What is the best black mold killer? ›
For a natural solution for getting rid of black mold, combine one part baking soda with five parts distilled white vinegar and five parts water in a spray bottle. Alternatively, you can use a chemical-based mold and mildew remover, all-purpose cleaners, bleach or dish soap.Why you shouldn't use bleach on mold? ›
Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup.What are signs of mold sickness? ›
Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions.
To Prevent Mold Growth in Your Home. Keep humidity levels in your home as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. You can buy a meter to check your home's humidity at a home improvement store.What not to use on black mold? ›
First things first. Bleach and mold do not mix on surfaces that absorb moisture. Spraying bleach on surfaces can actually contribute to the spread and growth of mold, especially on porous surfaces. You should never try to clean mold off walls.Does black mold go away after cleaning? ›
Before mediating the mold, you need to find out the moisture source so you can address that issue, too. You can remove the black mold yourself in many instances. Then the black mold can be killed and removed with cleaners like bleach, distilled white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or Borax.Does black mold have to be professionally removed? ›
Because of the dangers that black mold can present, it is recommended to hire a professional to complete the mold remediation process. A professional will have the proper equipment and training to safely and effectively remediate the mold.What kills black mold on drywall? ›
The best thing for removing mildew and mold from walls is a bleach/water solution. Mix one part bleach to three parts water and apply it with a sponge or rag. There are also a number of commercial solutions available at your local True Value hardware store.How long does it take for vinegar to kill mold? ›
Let the vinegar sit for at least an hour. Using a brush with soft bristles, scrub the moldy surface until the mold comes off. If you're scrubbing a rougher surface you might need a thicker brush. Dry the area completely with a clean rag and throw away the used rag and brush.Does straight vinegar kill mold? ›
To clean mold, use regular white distilled vinegar, typically sold with five percent acidity. You can also use “cleaning vinegar” with its six percent acidity. Both are effective at killing mold.What happens when you spray black mold with vinegar? ›
Black Mold Removal Using Vinegar
White vinegar is a mildly acidic product that cleans, deodorizes, and disinfects. It can also kill 82% of mold species, including black mold, on porous and non-porous surfaces. You can use it safely on most surfaces, and its offensive odor goes away quickly.
Termites. Mold releases mycotoxins into the air—these draw termites to the area. As the damp conditions cause wood to rot and deteriorate, it becomes easier for termites to penetrate the wood and eat away at it.Can I leave vinegar on mold overnight? ›
Also, you risk causing damage to the area beneath the mold when you leave the vinegar to sit on it for too long. So when it comes to removing mold with vinegar, it's best to avoid leaving it overnight and stick with the 30 minutes to 1 hour sitting time.
In some cases, people may experience symptoms of mold sickness immediately after exposure, while others may not notice any effects for weeks or even months.Is vinegar or hydrogen peroxide better for mold? ›
Using vinegar is another effective way to clean mold in your home. However, it's important not to mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together. Hydrogen peroxide is known to react with vinegar to create peracetic acid , which is a toxic substance that can irritate your eyes, skin, or lungs.What's the difference between black mold and mildew? ›
Differences Between Mold and Mildew
Mold tends to have a higher profile and can even become fuzzy, while mildew is usually flat. Mold exhibits darker colors such as deep green and black; mildew may begin as white, then turn brown or gray.
On almost all wood surfaces, distilled white vinegar is a very efficient method to kill mold effectively. It will go through the wood and kill the fungus at its source. Painted or stained wood can be cleaned with a cleaning solution of warm water and dishwashing detergent or laundry detergent.Does opening a window help with mold? ›
It is also very important that there is adequate ventilation in the room. Open a window or door so the mold spores can escape, instead of staying locked in your home.Should I move if I have black mold? ›
If the mold damage is located in your living room, kitchen or the bathroom, the experts will recommend you to find alternative lodging for the time being. Also, if you have infants and elderly people at home or have family members with a weak immune system, you should probably leave your home for a while.How long can you live with black mold before you get sick? ›
These symptoms usually first appear 2 to 9 hours after exposure and last for 1 to 3 days. Other affected persons have progressive shortness of breath and cough, as well as weight loss.Do air purifiers help with mold? ›
Do air purifiers help with mold? Air purifiers help capture mold spores from the air, preventing them from reproducing and spreading throughout your home. While air purifiers won't help treat active mold that's already present on surfaces, they are a great way to control the spread of airborne mold particles.How do you know if your house is toxic? ›
- Mold growth.
- Condensation around windows and in high humidity areas such as bathrooms.
- Lingering condensation.
- Dampness that doesn't seem to go away.
- Dust build up in your ventilation system.
Black mold, as the name implies, is often dark in color. When searching for black mold, look for circular-shaped spots that are black, dark green or dark brown. Some black mold can also take on shades of orange or have flecks of white within it. Most of the time, black mold has a slightly furry appearance.
A popular chemical for killing mold is Concrobium Mold Control, which can be bought at big-box hardware stores. It's used by both pros and homeowners. We have used it and have found it to be effective.What kills mold better than vinegar? ›
Hydrogen peroxide can remove mold.
However, it's also a powerful mold killer, especially with solutions that have more than 3 percent of hydrogen peroxide concentration. Hydrogen peroxide is best used on porous and non-porous surfaces, including clothing, bathroom items, and even kitchen appliances.
Using White Distilled Vinegar to Kill Mold
White vinegar is most commonly found with 5% acidity and works best undiluted, so don't worry about mixing it with water first.
Mold can be very difficult to completely scrub away. But as long as the mold has been properly disinfected, there is no need to remove all visible mold inside of the walls. The walls will eventually be closed up with drywall. Also, the encapsulating coating will cover up much of the visible mold.What kills black mold on walls naturally? ›
Vinegar. White distilled vinegar is an affordable, natural solution to removing black mold. Its antibacterial acidic characteristics are exactly what you need to get the job done. Pour the undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle to apply to the area, or just go for it and pour that vinegar right onto the mold stains.Is it OK to just paint over mold? ›
Covering mold with paint is a waste of resources because the mold will continue to thrive and grow underneath. Eventually, the paint will bubble and peel off, and the mold will be exposed once again. Mold and mildew are an indication of potential moisture issues that need to be remediated before painting the surface.What kills black mold instantly? ›
Getting rid of black mold with white vinegar
'Bleach will kill mold spores growing across a hard surface, but if the mold has extended below the surface, then white vinegar is the best choice,' she says. 'The vinegar will penetrate to kill the mold and mildew at the root, preventing it from regrowing.
Extreme temperatures do not kill mold, but they can deactivate them. Even when temperatures drop below freezing, mold spores don't die; they simply become dormant and will begin to multiply and grow again as soon as the temperature rises.What happens if mold is not removed? ›
Although symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms seen in people exposed to mold indoors include: Nasal and sinus congestion. Eye irritation, such as itchy, red, watery eyes. Wheezing and difficulty breathing.Can black mold be removed permanently? ›
The only effective way to permanently get rid of mould problems is by reducing the build-up of moisture in your home. This can only be achieved through better ventilation.
All contaminated surfaces will be vacuumed with a HEPA vacuum to trap the mold spores while releasing clean air, unlike traditional vacuum cleaners. Next, a professional will spray and wipe down the once contaminated surface with microfiber cleaning cloths.Can you stay in a house with black mold? ›
Black mold can cause health problems, so it is not advisable to live in a house with black mold. If you must stay in your house while black mold is being removed, make sure to seal off any areas where black mold is present and avoid coming into contact with it.How long does black mold stay alive? ›
Mold spores stay airborne indefinitely. While in the air, they remain in a dormant state until they come into contact with wet or moist surfaces, at which point they may start growing into visible mold.What is the best homemade mold remover? ›
White vinegar is a mildly acidic product that cleans, deodorizes, and disinfects. It can also kill 82% of mold species, including black mold, on porous and non-porous surfaces. You can use it safely on most surfaces, and its offensive odor goes away quickly. Pour undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle.Can mold grow back after removal? ›
The main reason mold can return after removal and abatement services is that the cause of the mold growth is not dealt with. Mold grows and thrives in damp environments. If you have underlying moisture issues that are not addressed, mold can return after removal and abatement services.What kills mold better bleach or vinegar? ›
While it is possible to use bleach to kill mold as well, experts agree that vinegar is a much better option. Unlike bleach, vinegar can effectively kill the mold at the root, which means it's less likely to return. Vinegar is also less toxic than bleach, making it a better choice for household use.What breaks up mold? ›
Use undiluted white vinegar on hard surfaces in kitchens and baths. A bleach solution also works to kill mold. Mix one cup of bleach in a gallon of water, apply to the surface and don't rinse. Mix a 50/50 solution of ammonia and water.Should black mold be professionally removed? ›
Because of the dangers that black mold can present, it is recommended to hire a professional to complete the mold remediation process. A professional will have the proper equipment and training to safely and effectively remediate the mold.What happens if you ignore black mold? ›
Respiratory Irritation — Extended exposure to black mold spores can cause respiratory irritation, including coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath. Difficulty Breathing — High mold levels can make breathing difficult, especially for those with pre-existing respiratory issues.Is it OK to live in a house with mold? ›
Mold Is Bad for Your Health
Mold can cause detrimental effects on human health, especially for children or people with pre-existing health conditions. Asthma is the most common health issue associated with long-term indoor mold exposure. Adults who live in moldy homes are up to 50 percent more likely to develop asthma.
Moulds produce allergens (substances that can cause an allergic reaction), irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Moulds can also cause asthma attacks.