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What Should I Know About Mold Removal?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are a number of things to know about mold removal which can be useful in mold prevention, and in the event that mold needs to be removed from a home, car, or outbuilding. Getting rid of mold can be a challenging task, as molds are very determined little organisms.

The key challenge with mold removal is not removing the mold, which is relatively easy, but with cleaning up the stains left behind by the mold, and eliminating the spores. Killing mold can be accomplished very rapidly, but if the mold spores are still floating around, they can settle and start growing again at any time, causing a recurrence of the mold. Many commercial products which claim to kill mold are not effective, simply because they fail to address the spore issue.

Mold removal is best avoided altogether by making an environment very hostile to mold. Molds like moisture, and keeping a space dry is often enough to keep mold at bay. Opening doors and windows regularly for ventilation whenever possible is highly recommended, and in humid climates, a dehumidifier should be used to pull water out of the air. Vapor barrier insulation can also help to prevent mold in the walls. Using an air filter which can be purchased or rented from a home supply store can reduce the number of mold spores which drift in.

If mold does start to develop, it can be killed with the use of vinegar or lemon juice, or a solution of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract in water. As little liquid as possible should be used, to avoid giving the mold moisture to work with. Wetting a cloth with the liquid and then blotting the moldy area is a great way to kill the mold. Mold also does not like very high temperatures, so once the mold has been blotted away, the heat should be turned up in the room and the room should be closed so that if spores are present, they do not drift into other parts of the house. If possible, an air filter designed to trap mold spores should be run for a few days to take the spores out of the air.

If something washable becomes moldy, it can be washed with a cup of vinegar and dried at high heat to kill the spores. Molds on walls, floors, and other immovable fixtures can be addressed with the blotting technique, while moldy furniture can be taken outside for cleaning and a brief stay in the sun to kill off the mold spores.

Mold should never be covered over, because it will gleefully recur and proliferate behind the covering, eventually creating a stain or a health hazard. In the case of severely moldy walls and flooring, it may be necessary to tear the moldy portion out, allow the backing to dry, and install new material. This type of mold removal is also recommended for cases where mold has been covered over by a previous tenant or property owner, since it will be impossible to eliminate otherwise.

Stains left behind by molds can be difficult to get rid of. Commercial stain removing products are often effective, but they should be spot-tested on a hidden area to make sure that they do not create stains themselves. In the case of stubborn stains on painted walls, if several months pass without a recurrence, the stain can be primed and painted over.

For homeowners who are not interested in handling mold removal themselves, many areas have firms which specialize in getting rid of mold and mildew. These companies can clear out the mold and provide tips to prevent a recurrence.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon345587 — On Aug 20, 2013

Awesome. This is all great information. Thank you so much for sharing! My parents buy and rent out houses and let's just say that they don't exactly know what to do with mold aside from absolutely everything that they wiped off and that just came back afterwards and replacing it.

If this info works, which logic tells me might, this'll be totally awesome. I kept trying to tell them to go for mold removal, but since they insist on not paying for services, this should be great.

By Comment123 — On Oct 08, 2011

Here is my comment about mold. I discovered an easy way to eliminate mold in the bathroom. Simply move the shower head away from the center.

By doing this - water does not fall on the shower curtain, causing mold on the curtain or leak onto the floor, making it necessary to mop up the water.

A simple twist of the showerhead eliminated all that.

By aboveb — On Aug 19, 2011

According to the EPA, if the area contaminated with mold is greater then 10 square feet, you must seek professional mold removal.

By yournamehere — On Aug 12, 2010

Are there any foolproof bathroom mold removal tips?

I keep scrubbing out our tub and tiles every week, but the mold always seems to come back.

Should I just bite the bullet and call a mold an mildew removal specialist, or is there something else I can do?

By gregg1956 — On Aug 12, 2010

@pleats -- If your carpets are so bad that you can't use the spot cleaning methods mentioned in the article, then it may just be time to get new carpets.

Or, failing that, why don't you just get a whole house mold removal? Many mold removal companies will give you a discount if you get a whole household mold removal.

If you insist on trying to clean them yourself, then just try to get a good mold remover, and keep the area as hot and dry as possible.

I know it's in your carpets, so you can't really close your house up to isolate them, but just make sure that your carpets stay as clean and dry as possible, and spot treat the mold as needed.

By pleats — On Aug 12, 2010

Does anybody have any good tips for carpet mold removal?

It's not like I can really uproot my carpets and take them out into the sun...

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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