How to get rid of black mold – an expert guide

Demystifying mold

Mold spores stick to surfaces and, if conditions are sufficiently warm, moist and undisturbed, extrude tendrils which turn almost any surface into food — these form the fuzzy structures creeping out of the corner of the shower. Ceiling tiles, wood, paint, rubber, carpet, soil, dust; it’s all food to the mold, just add water.

How do you know when mold has arrived? That’s easy: you’ll smell the — how to put this? — the airborne end products of its digestive processes. That’s right, mold farts. “Every time you smell that musty odor, that mold smell, that’s what you’re breathing in,” said David Denning,principal investigator at the Manchester Fungal Infection Group and a professor at the University of Manchester, in England.

What effect does all this fungal activity have on health? Broadly speaking, we know there are two main ways mold can engage the immune system, and they depend on whether your system is underpowered or overactive.

If you’re going through chemotherapy or have had a recent organ transplant, your evolved immune system firepower may have been depleted. The fungus can colonize the lungs and begin treating you as it would ceiling tiles or wood paneling, said Matthew Fisher, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London. But this is more often a problem in hospitals, home infections are exceedingly rare.

You’re much more likely to have an overactive immune system that freaks out when confronted with the irritating proteins present in spores and mold filaments. Filaments land on the mucous membranes of our eyes, nose and mouth, causing eye-watering, itching, sneezing, coughing or asthma attacks.

For most, these stop when you leave the moldy room. But experts estimate that between 5 and 10 percent of the population are more sensitive than others. “In an environment that’s colonized by fungus, you’re also going to be inhaling those spores every day and you may potentially become sensitized to them,” said Elaine Bignell, Ph.D., who co-directs the Manchester Fungal Infection Group.

Black Mold Health Effects

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Stachybotrys is responsible for mold allergies and over 100 cases of lung disorders. To avoid the risk of getting mold allergies, it is extremely important to remove all mold, regardless of what type you find. Your family’s health depends on it.

People who have allergies, respiratory disease, or any type of immune-suppressing disease should be especially wary.


Seal Off the Damaged Area

Seal the room from the rest of the house.

  • Cover the doorway with a barrier made of overlapping plastic sheeting and tape it to the wall and floor.
  • Cover all air ducts in the room with plastic and tape.

How to Get Rid of Black Mold

If you have discovered mold or mildew in your home, you may wonder what kills mold and mildew? How to kill molds and how to use a black mold treatment is accomplished with ordinary household cleaning products like chlorine bleach and vinegar.

However, disturbing large mold infestations can be bad for your health, particularly if you suffer from allergies or have a weakened immune system. If you have an extensive mold and mildew infestation, consider hiring a professional to come in and perform mold remediation to kill mold.

If you’re confident that you can remove mold from your house yourself, here are some effective natural home cleaners and mold removal techniques on how to get rid of black mold in your house.

Does Bleach Kill Mold?

When dealing with a mold infestation, you may wonder does bleach kill mold? Fortunately, bleach is a powerful ingredient that can kill virtually every kind of mold, along with its spores, leaving surfaces affected by mildew not only sanitized but resistant to future mold growth.

Unfortunately, using bleach for removing mold is only useful when removing mold from non-porous surfaces like bathtubs, tiles, countertops, and glass. Cleaning black mold spots with bleach on porous surfaces does not work as well, because it doesn’t come into contact with the natural mold growing beneath the surface of materials like drywall or wood.

Using chlorine bleach on this kind of moldy surface kills mold on the surface but does not penetrate into the wood or drywall fibers below, allowing mold to grow back and cause even more problems later.

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Bleach produces harsh fumes, so you need to make sure that the area is well vented by turning on an exhaust fan. You also need to protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves during the cleaning process. To make this DIY mold cleaner, add the bleach and water to a large bucket, and apply the solution to the mold growth with a sponge or scrub brush.

You can also add the bleach solution to a spray bottle and spray the mold directly. If the area you’re cleaning is used for food preparation or may be touched by children or pets, make sure to rinse the surface with warm water. Otherwise, you can leave the bleach to help inhibit future mold growth.

Remove Mold with Borax

There are several advantages to using Borax for killing mold. Borax is a natural cleaner that doesn’t emit dangerous fumes or contain hazardous chemicals like other mold killers. Borax is a white mineral powder that possesses a pH level around nine and low toxicity.

It is something that is commonly used to deodorize as well as for cleaning drains and toilets. You can purchase Borax for a few dollars at your local supermarket.

Here’s how to kill mold using Borax. Add a cup of Borax to one gallon of water to create a Borax and water solution. Next, use a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner to remove any loose mold and lessen the number of mold and mildew spores that get stirred into the air during the process.

Dip a scrub brush into the Borax solution and scrub the moldy area. Wipe up any moisture and mold particles with a clean cloth to prevent them from spreading through the air when the surface has dried. There is no need to rinse the area if you want to prevent mold from returning. Allow the surface to dry out completely.

Does Vinegar Kill Mold?

Vinegar has recently made the rounds on the Internet as a powerful cleaner and anti-bacterial agent that can clean anything from your windows to your floors to your stove. So, does vinegar kill mold? Vinegar can kill both mold and mildew without introducing any harmful chemicals that most household cleaners contain.

The acetic acid in white distilled vinegar kills approximately 82% of the most common mold species. Plus, it is non-toxic and will get rid of mold without emitting dangerous fumes as bleach does.

To kill mold and mildew with distilled white vinegar, pour some vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray the moldy surfaces. Allow the vinegar to sit for an hour, then wipe the area clean with hot water and allow it to dry. If you don’t prefer the vinegar smell, add some lemon essential oil to the mix.

If you want to prevent mold and mildew from growing on surfaces around your home, spray some of the vinegar on those surfaces and leave it. Repeat the process every couple of days to make sure that the surface stays mold free.

To get rid of mold in dishwasher, put a cup full of vinegar on the top rack and run a complete cycle without any dishes. Wipe the dishwasher interior clean afterward, and you should be mold-free for a while.

Remove Mold with Ammonia

Ammonia, like bleach, kills mold and mildew on non-porous materials like glass, countertops, and tiles, but is not effective at getting rid of mold in porous materials like drywall and wood. Ammonia is also incredibly toxic and a harsh chemical that can harm you and your family, especially if mixed with bleach.

When bleach and ammonia are combined, they create a toxic gas. To get rid of mold using ammonia, mix equal parts water and ammonia in a spray bottle.

Spray the solution on affected areas with mold growth and allow it to sit for several hours. Wipe the area clean with a clean, damp rag. Unfortunately, you can’t leave the ammonia on the surface to prevent mold because it is unsafe for children or pets.

How to Remove Mold with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral and will kill mold. It is a safe alternative to bleach because it doesn’t damage the environment and won’t leave behind a toxic residue. You can use it to kill mold on clothes, bathroom fixtures, walls, floors, and other items, like your refrigerator and freezer.

Since peroxide is a bleaching agent, it can also help to fade mold stains that are often left behind. Make sure that you spot test an area that you are going to clean to ensure that the hydrogen peroxide won’t fade the material.

Pour a 3% hydrogen peroxide concentration into a spray bottle. Spray the surface you are cleaning. Make sure that you completely saturate the mold with the hydrogen peroxide.

Leave the peroxide on the area for ten minutes, so it has a chance to kill the fungus. Use a soft scrub brush to scrub the area, making sure that you remove all of the mold and the mold stains from the surface. Finally, use a clean cloth to wipe down the surface to remove residual mold spores.

Remove Mold with Baking Soda

Baking soda has been popular for centuries as a natural and safe cleaner and it also works as black mold treatment. Unlike other harsh mold killers that contain toxic chemicals, baking soda is a mild alternative that is safe for your family, as well as being environmentally friendly.

Along with being an effective mold killer, baking soda also works as a deodorizer, which helps you to get rid of the musty smell of mildew that is left behind. Baking soda also absorbs moisture, which keeps mold from returning. You can also use it with vinegar since white vinegar is capable of killing different species of mold.

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Pour the water into a spray bottle and slowly add the baking soda. Replace the lid and vigorously shake the bottle to help the baking soda dissolve. Spray the mold with the cleaning solution.

Use a scrub brush or clean sponge to scrub the mold away from the surface. Rinse the area with warm water and make sure that you’ve removed any residual mold from the surface. Respray the area and let the baking soda and water solution dry to kill any leftover mold and mildew and prevent it from returning.

Remove Mold with Tea Tree Oil

The most effective natural mold removal ingredient is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is an anti-fungal essential oil, which makes it capable of killing all kinds of mold.

You can purchase a small bottle of tea tree oil for around $10 at your local natural food store. It is essential to get an oil derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, which is the scientific name for the tea tree.

Add two cups of water to a spray bottle, then add two tablespoons of tea tree oil to the container. Replace the lid and shake. Spray the solution directly on the moldy surfaces that you are treating. Leave the solution on the area to kill the mold and prevent it from returning.

Cleaning Products for Black Mold

This list is arranged from least toxic (top) to most (bottom). It's best to start with the least toxic solution. Note: never mix bleach and ammonia as they produce a toxic gas when combined.


Grapefruit Seed Extract

Natural and unscented anti-fungal

Mix 20 drops grapefruit seed extract with 2 cups water; put in a spray bottle and spray on effected areas (do not rinse)

Tea Tree Oil

Excellent natural mold-killer

Buy real tea tree oil; mix 1 tsp. with 1 cup water; in a spray bottle, shake and spray on effected areas; don't rinse

Distilled White Vinegar

Safe and inexpensive fungicide

Spray it straight on the effected area


Toxic if swallowed it but doesn't emit dangerous fumes like some other mold killers; more effective on tiles, less so on carpet

Mix 1 cup Borax and 1 gallon hot water; pour in spray bottle and spray; after a few minutes, use a scrub brush or cloth to wipe the mold away; don't rinse

Hydrogen Peroxide

Higher concentrations may be hazardous and will corrode many materials, including human skin; in a lower concentration it is safe to use, doesn't damage the environment, leave a toxic residue, or produce a toxic fume; it is a bleaching agent which may cause material to fade

Pour 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle; leave it on effected area for 10 minutes before rinsing


Harsh, toxic chemical; like bleach, ammonia will only kill surface mold on hard, non-porous surfaces

Mix a solution of 50% "clear" ammonia and 50% water; do not mix with bleach, as this will create an extremely toxic, dangerous fume; after spray on effected area and wait 2-3 hours before rinsing


Harsh, corrosive chemical which can damage the materials it's used on, emits dangerous fumes, and leaves a toxic residue

Mix a ratio of 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water; spray it on and don't rinse

Reader Success Stories

  • Jenny Page

Jul 6, 2017

    Jenny Page Jul 6, 2017

    “The use of the fans in front of the window facing out into the garden was a good insight to know to start extracting the spores in the room. As it is so dangerous and I am renting, I have asked the real estate agent to arrange for a professional to do the cleaning of the mold. Illustrations were good in explaining things, too!”…” more

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