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
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
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
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.
'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 (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).
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 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.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.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.Does white vinegar kill black mold? ›
Vinegar can kill black mold and is best used on nonporous surfaces. White vinegar is a powerhouse for cleaning, deodorizing, and disinfecting around the house. It can also kill black mold, a mold that commonly appears when there is water damage. Spray vinegar onto the moldy surface and leave it for an hour.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 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 permanently kills mold? ›
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.What kills black mold without scrubbing? ›
Vinegar typically performs best on mold when it is used undiluted in full strength. Simply transfer the white vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar directly onto the mold. Do not rinse or scrub.What kills black mold in house? ›
Treat the Area
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.
To clean mold, use regular white distilled vinegar, typically sold with 5% acidity. You can also use “cleaning vinegar” with 6% acidity. Both are effective at killing mold.How long does vinegar need 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.What kills mold better than vinegar? ›
Yes, ammonia is a strong mold killer. In fact, many commercial mold cleaning products contain ammonia. It's stronger than vinegar and is similar to bleach in terms of potency, although make sure to never mix two together — ammonia and bleach react to produce toxic fumes.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.Can I leave vinegar on mold overnight? ›
To safely and effectively clean a small area of mold, ServiceMaster advises the following: Add full-strength white distilled vinegar to a spray bottle and spray it on the mold. Let it sit for at least an hour before wiping away mold.How do professionals remove mold? ›
Mold professionals use expensive, professional equipment such as HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums, commercial-strength dehumidifiers, etc. Regular handymen won't have that stuff.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.Does black mold ever 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.Can black mold be removed permanently? ›
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.What is the best mold killer? ›
Based on 15+ years and thousands of jobs worth of experience, Moldman recommends RMR-86 as the clear winner. It's effective for both removing mold stains and killing mold, is relatively affordable, and can be bought online. Our runner up is Clorox Clean Up.
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 does harmless black mold look like? ›
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.Is bleach or vinegar better for 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 is the best homemade black mold remover? ›
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.Is borax or bleach better for mold? ›
A solution of bleach and water is the quickest method for killing mold, but not always the best for DIY use. For safe mold and mildew removal, consider using cleaning products like borax, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide—though never combined with bleach—for a quick and safer clean.How long to leave vinegar on 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.