How to Remove Mold

Cleaning Supplies for Removing Mold and Mildew.

How to Clean and Remove Mold Inside the House.

How to Remove Mold from Your Home

I don’t like finding mold anywhere. Either inside or outside our home. It’s not just because it makes my home look dirty and uncared for, but all of the news reports on the dangers of living with mold inside your home concerns me as well.

But the plain old truth is, mold will grow anywhere and is caused simply by mold spores that blow in on the wind and reside in an favorable environment.

We live in Western Washington State (the rainy side) and mold has to be combated regularly. It just takes the right environmental conditions to have mold spores grow and when it does, you may find nice big patches of:

  • green
  • blue
  • yellow
  • orange
  • and to infinity and beyond, I’m sure….

Keeping on top of mold growth is important and we’ve learned a few things along the way that will help you clean up mold.

Stop the Conditions That Are Allowing Mold Growth

Let’s take a look at some of the conditions that can be the right time and place for mold growth.

Mold Needs Moisture to Grow

Mold has to have moisture or high humidity in order to grow. The good news is no moisture, no mold; which is pretty simple.

The bad news is that after mold has appeared; taking away the moisture will not kill the mold. Mold can lay dormant and wait for conditions to become optimum and regenerate.

If you have water damage around windows and doors, it can cause mold to grow. Another place you may not suspect the source of mold growth is the concrete foundation of your home, moisture can seep through the concrete and cause damage to carpets and walls.

Food Source for Mold Growth

Mold requires organic material for food. This can be wood, paper, wallpaper, cotton; upholstery or if the surface is inorganic and there’s mold, you can be sure that there is dirt, grease, food or other organic particles on it.

Poor Ventilation Leads to Mold Growth

Other preferable conditions are lack of air flow and ventilation. You’ll typically find mold in the bathroom, basement, kitchen and attic; anywhere that air flow is not optimum. When moisture is combined with poor air circulation you are, most likely unknowingly, creating a humid, moist environment which is ideal for mold to grow and thrive.

Now that you know what conditions support mold growth, let’s learn the steps for mold removal.

How to Get Rid of Mold

Before you start removing mold, a great tip is to wet the area first before scrubbing at the mold. While this may seem to be counter-intuitive, spraying the mold down with water first will reduce the number of spores that become airborne as you scrub.

Be sure to wear PPE (personal protective equipment) like gloves, goggles and a face mask. When finished cleaning mold, dispose of cleaning materials (paper towels, old rags) in a garbage bag, seal and throw away.

Removing Mold from Glass, Vinyl and Plastic

There are two very effective methods listed below. Both bleach and borax are effective, inexpensive and good multitaskers. Pick the one you have on hand or use borax for a non-scented solution. Do not use bleach on metal surfaces.

Cleaning Mold with Bleach

Be sure not to mix any other product with bleach as this can create and release toxic gas.

Create a solution of:

  • 1/2 gallon of water
  • 1/4 cup of bleach.
  1. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and saturate the area.
  2. Wash the infected area and keep it wet for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Then follow with clean water to remove bleach residue.

Bleach kills spores and removes discoloration. If mold has grown due to a leak, be sure to fix the leak to prevent it from reoccurring. Opening the window to increase air flow, using a dehumidifier or air conditioner and regular cleaning will stop mold from coming back.

Cleaning Mold with Borax

Some people don’t like the smell of bleach and that’s why Borax is so handy. Borax is a natural product that does not emit fumes. It is also a fungicide and mold inhibitor. To top it off, it is inexpensive!

Mix a solution of:

  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1/2 cup plain white vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water

You can mix this in a bucket or use a spray bottle.

  1. Spray the affected area.
  2. Let it sit for 10 minutes
  3. Scrub the surface
  4. Repeat the process if necessary

After application, the mold spores have been killed and the Borax will retard any spore growth on the surface.

Removing Mold from Metal Surfaces

Cleaning with Vinegar

Metal surfaces should not be cleaned with bleach! For any mold issues here, use vinegar. Vinegar full strength kills 80 percent of mold.

  1. Pour plain undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle
  2. Spray entire area where the mold is
  3. Let it sit at least one hour. Don’t worry, the smell will dissipate as it dries

Vinegar will kill the mold and disinfect the area.

Cleaning with Borax and Vinegar

Using Vinegar and Borax will clean, disinfect and, since Borax is a fungicide it will retard mold growth.

This is a great solution to use on window frames and window sills because the old metal windows sweat and creates moisture and a breeding ground for mold. Since window replacement is a huge cost, I used this solution to keep the mold from returning until I could afford to have our windows upgraded.

After application, try to keep the surface as dry as possible. If the surface continues to get moisture, you will need to re-apply as necessary.

Mix a solution of:

  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1/2 cup plain white vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water
  1. Pour it over the affected area or saturate with a spray.
  2. Let it sit for 10 minutes
  3. Scrub the surface
  4. Repeat the process if necessary

Removing Tough Mold Stains

Tough mold stains will sometimes require a little extra help. If the above methods aren’t strong enough, I have found Mold Armour is the best at removing those stains. It’s about 2 times stronger than bleach.

It removes the mold and the stain with no pretreatment or cleaning required. Each treatment lasts for 2 months. This is helpful for areas where mold keeps coming back or it’s not possible to remove moisture completely.

Cleaning Black Colored Mold

Don’t panic. Let me share the facts according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

“At present there is no test that proves an association between Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) and particular health symptoms. Individuals with persistent symptoms should see their physician. However, if Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) or other molds are found in a building, prudent practice recommends that they be removed.”

Basically, any mold can make otherwise healthy people have hay fever like symptoms. People that already have immune system issues or breathing difficulties can experience increased symptoms. My rule of thumb is: if you see any kind of mold get busy and clean it up.

There are fairly simple, inexpensive and effective ways to get rid of all colors of mold for good, providing that it is found in the early stages.

It takes a bit of time but if you stay on top of it and take protective measures such as reducing moisture and increasing ventilation, your mold problem is easy to keep at bay!