How to get rid of black mold – 6 expert tips to remove mold from your home (2023)

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 (opens in new tab) and a participant in the Clean & Tidy Homes Show (opens in new tab). '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

How to get rid of black mold – 6 expert tips to remove mold from your home (1)

(Video) 8 Tips from the CDC to Clean Up Mold

(Image credit: Future)

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 (opens in new tab) 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

How to get rid of black mold – 6 expert tips to remove mold from your home (2)

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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 (opens in new tab).

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

How to get rid of black mold – 6 expert tips to remove mold from your home (3)

(Image credit: Future)

This is a tip from Sara San Angelo, who is known professionally as The Cleaning Lady (opens in new tab). 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.

(Video) How to Kill Black Mold Safely & Forever

'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

How to get rid of black mold – 6 expert tips to remove mold from your home (4)

(Image credit: Alamy)

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

How to get rid of black mold – 6 expert tips to remove mold from your home (5)

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(Image credit: Future / © Tom Meadows)

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).

(Video) How to remove and kill mold - Bleach vs vinegar

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.

FAQs

What kills black mold permanently? ›

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 do professionals use to get rid of 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. Hydrogen peroxide-based mold killers are also very effective.

What kills mold permanently? ›

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.

How do professionals remove mold from your home? ›

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.

Does black mold ever go away? ›

Mold does not dry out and die but remains inactive for a while if moisture is not available. This means that it can still grow back and multiply when it is exposed to any sources of moisture. Professional mold remediation and moisture control help to keep mold at bay.

Can I clean 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.

What kills mold and mildew instantly? ›

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.

What illness can black mold cause? ›

Mold exposure may trigger an attack. Symptoms of a mold-induced asthma attack can be any of the following: Wheezing. Shortness of breath.
...
Symptoms of Black Mold Exposure
  • Coughing.
  • Postnasal drip.
  • Sneezing.
  • Dry, scaly skin.
  • Itchy eyes, nose, or throat.
  • Nasal congestion.
26 May 2021

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.

What stops mold from spreading? ›

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 kills mold better bleach or vinegar? ›

Is Vinegar More Effective Than Bleach? Vinegar truly is better than cleaning with bleach when it comes to killing mold. The EPA does not recommend using bleach to kill or remove mold, except in special circumstances. In most cases, “a background level of mold spores will remain” after the application of bleach.

Can I leave vinegar on mold overnight? ›

Spray vinegar onto the moldy surface and leave it for an hour. Then wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell should clear within a few hours. While it's safe to use on most surfaces, vinegar is unlikely to be effective at cleaning mold off of soft surfaces.

Can mold be completely removed from a house? ›

All houses have some mold in them: It's important to understand that complete removal of every spore is impossible, so the term “mold removal” refers to the excision of a particular growth, not the prospect of rendering the home completely mold-free.

Can a house be saved from mold? ›

Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don't fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

Can I remove mold from my house myself? ›

Some other safe yet effective products you can use to kill mold are baking soda, vinegar, Tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide, and detergent. If you're using vinegar, simply put it in a spray bottle. No need to add water. Spray the vinegar on the surface and leave it for an hour.

What are signs of mold sickness? ›

Signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis caused by a mold allergy can include:
  • Sneezing.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Cough and postnasal drip.
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Dry, scaly skin.
21 Jun 2021

How long till black mold makes you 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.

Can living with black mold make you sick? ›

On the basis of current research, black mold exposure is no more dangerous than any other type of mold exposure. It is impossible to avoid exposure to mold — the spores are almost everywhere in the atmosphere. In high amounts or in people with allergies, exposure to any mold may cause allergy symptoms.

What does toxic black mold look like? ›

Stachybotrys chartarum typically appears black or extremely dark gray in color. This mold tends to have very round splotches with a speckled appearance. Often, you see darker layers of mold over lighter layers.

What happens if you don't clean black mold? ›

Risks of Black Mold Exposure

Chronic coughing and sneezing. Respiratory irritation. Skin disorders, including rashes. Chronic fatigue.

What is the difference between black mold and mold? ›

Both mold and black mold produce health problems upon prolonged exposure. Black mold is a type of mold, which produces a toxin called mycotoxin. This toxin may cause severe health problems than a usual mold. The main difference between mold and black mold is the intensity of health problems caused by each type of mold.

What is the best homemade mold remover? ›

For really tough black mold removal, mix two parts baking soda with one part white vinegar and one part water. Stir the mixture until it becomes a thick paste. Spread your mixture liberally onto the surface and let it dry. Scrub away the black mold and stains, and wipe down with water.

What is the best mold remover? ›

Our Top Picks
  • Best Overall: RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Remover 11% OFF.
  • Runner Up: Star Brite Mold and Mildew Remover.
  • Honorable Mention: HOME ARMOR Mold and Mildew Remover 51% OFF.
  • Also Consider: CLR Mold and Mildew Remover.
  • Boater's EDGE Mold and Mildew Remover.
  • RMR-86 Pro Mold and Mildew Remover 13% OFF.
3 Aug 2021

What kills mold better vinegar or hydrogen peroxide? ›

Yes, vinegar is a mild acid that kills 82% of mold species. It's often used as a natural and nontoxic alternative to cleaning chemicals when it comes to killing household mold. Cleaning vinegar, which contains 6% acetic acid, is the best type for killing mold.

Can mold grow in lungs? ›

The mold spores can colonize (grow) inside lung cavities that developed as a result of chronic diseases, such tuberculosis, emphysema, or advanced sarcoidosis. The fibers of fungus might form a lump by combining with white blood cells and blood clots. This lump or ball of fungus is called an aspergilloma or mycetoma.

Can black mold damage brain? ›

Inflammation: Mold spores act as irritants, which can trigger the body to mount an immune response. This can lead to inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the brain can impair cognitive function, and in the case of chronic inflammation, this can lead to long-lasting cognitive impairment.

How do I test for mold in my body? ›

Blood test.

A blood test, sometimes called the radioallergosorbent test, can measure your immune system's response to mold by measuring the amount of certain antibodies in your bloodstream known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies.

How long do black mold spores stay in the air? ›

Mould spores remain airborne for an indefinite period of time. It's important to recognise that if a damp spot is present and unattended for longer than 24 hours, there is a high possibility that mould could fester and airborne spores begin congregating throughout the premises.

Do dehumidifiers remove mold? ›

If the humidity in a room increases, mold will start growing in patches on walls, clothes, and more. So, to answer your question, dehumidifiers do NOT kill mold, but they do prevent it by reducing humidity. If you have a mold problem in your home, don't wait. Mold spreads as long as it has a water source.

Does opening windows 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.

What triggers mold growth? ›

Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.

How do you get rid of mold and keep it coming back? ›

How to Prevent Mold and Mildew Throughout the House
  1. Use dehumidifiers, fans, and open windows to help reduce the moisture in your home. ...
  2. Fix plumbing leaks as soon as possible.
  3. Do what you can to prevent rainwater from seeping into your home. ...
  4. Clean the fabrics in your home routinely and keep them dry.

Can exposure to mold cause death? ›

It's rare, but exposure to mold spores can eventually cause organ damage, cognitive difficulties and even death. What's more, mold spores can irritate your lungs even if you're not allergic to mold. When introduced to your body, spores irritate your airways in your nose, mouth and throat, Dr. Ibrahim says.

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.

What is difference between mold and mildew? ›

Mildew refers to certain kinds of mold or fungus. The term mildew is often used generically to refer to mold growth, usually with a flat growth habit. Molds include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae.

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.

What type of vinegar kills 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.

Can you spray straight vinegar on mold? ›

Pour the undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray it directly onto the moldy surface. Let the vinegar sit for at least an hour. Using a brush with soft bristles, scrub the moldy surface until the mold comes off.

How long leave white vinegar on black Mould? ›

To clean mould and mildew and kill their spores you will need white distilled vinegar – the cheapest brand from the supermarket will do just fine. Mix 1 part of vinegar with 1 part water and pour into a spray bottle. Apply the solution onto the mouldy area and leave it to sit for one hour.

How long can you live in a house with mold? ›

So, how long you can really stay inside a room with mold? 2 days. Also even worse, if you don't take any action the mold will certainly continue growing until actions are taken to get rid of the problem. Drying out extensively may assist avoid prompt and long-term health problems.

Can mold grow back after removal? ›

If you don't eliminate the original source of the moisture, mold will certainly come back, even after using bleach! One of the reasons is that even when you clean a surface with bleach, mold may still be lurking deep within the material in areas your cleaning may have missed.

What happens if you sleep in a house with mold? ›

Frequently inhaling these spores leads to a plethora of health problems for both healthy and vulnerable people. These may include upper tract infections and respiratory discomfort such as coughing, wheezing and asthma.

What happens if you live with mold for years? ›

Toxic mold exposure is also connected to more serious, long-term effects like insomnia, memory loss, trouble concentrating and confusion. Mold exposure contributes to depression and anxiety. It can even lead to muscle cramps, numbness in extremities, weight gain, light sensitivity and hair loss.

How do you keep black mold from coming back? ›

To Prevent Mold Growth in Your Home
  1. Keep humidity levels in your home as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. ...
  2. Be sure the air in your home flows freely. ...
  3. Fix any leaks in your home's roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.

How do I stop Black Mould coming back? ›

The key to mould prevention is keeping air moisture to a minimum. Dry any condensation that may be gathering on your walls, ceiling to windowsills. Dehumidifiers can also help to remove moisture from the air. Try to keep your bathroom and kitchen door shut tightly and ensure your windows are open whilst cooking.

Is vinegar or bleach better for killing mold? ›

Is Vinegar More Effective Than Bleach? Vinegar truly is better than cleaning with bleach when it comes to killing mold. The EPA does not recommend using bleach to kill or remove mold, except in special circumstances. In most cases, “a background level of mold spores will remain” after the application of bleach.

What kills black mold other than bleach? ›

Hydrogen peroxide is often used as an antiseptic, oxidizer and bleaching agent. It is also effective in removing various forms of mold. Hydrogen peroxide bubbles when it comes in contact with bacteria.

Does mold come back after removal? ›

If you don't eliminate the original source of the moisture, mold will certainly come back, even after using bleach! One of the reasons is that even when you clean a surface with bleach, mold may still be lurking deep within the material in areas your cleaning may have missed.

How do you treat mold in your lungs? ›

Treatment options include oral corticosteroids, antifungal medications, and surgery.
  1. Oral corticosteroid drugs: Solid or liquid oral medications may be prescribed to treat allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. ...
  2. Antifungal drugs: These medications are generally used to treat invasive pulmonary aspergillosis.
9 Oct 2019

Can mold be permanently removed from a house? ›

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.” Even if you clean the mold, it will still come back if the room is humid and poorly ventilated or there is ...

What are the symptoms 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.

What kills mold better peroxide or vinegar? ›

Yes, vinegar is a mild acid that kills 82% of mold species. It's often used as a natural and nontoxic alternative to cleaning chemicals when it comes to killing household mold. Cleaning vinegar, which contains 6% acetic acid, is the best type for killing mold.

What type of vinegar is best for killing black 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.

How does hydrogen peroxide get rid of mold? ›

Pour 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (the standard percentage sold in pharmacies) into a spray bottle. Spray it onto the moldy surface until the area is completely covered. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or until the hydrogen peroxide stops bubbling. Scrub off the mold and hydrogen peroxide with a rag or soft brush.

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