How to get rid of black mold – expert tips to remove mold from your home

Find out how to get rid of black mold using these easy techniques from cleaning and damp professionals

how to get rid of black mold with natural and professional cleaning products
(Image credit: Future)

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.

Certain types of mold are a symptom of damp problems, so it's hardly surprising that black mold is cited as one of the most undesirable home decor features that put home buyers off. Indeed, 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. 

While some more serious cases of black mold may require professional intervention, we spoke to mold and damp experts to find out how to get rid of black mold from your home using simple DIY methods.

How to get rid of black mold in your home

As well as natural solutions, such as cleaning with white vinegar and lemon juice, you will find a huge range of mold-busting sprays available to buy online that promise to get rid of mold quickly. 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. 'Therefore, the best way to combat mold and damp is to locate the source and remedy it.'

What causes black mold in a home?

black ceiling mold

(Image credit: Alamy)

'Water intrusion of any kind is always the source of black mold growth,' explains Bethany Uribe, AHERA-certified building inspector at ASAP Restoration. 'Leaks, floods, pipe bursts, overflows, seeps, RO system failures, refrigerator ice maker line ruptures, AC line clogs, AC drip pan backups, sewage system failures, and water heater blowouts are some of the major sources and most common reasons that water finds it’s way into porous surfaces which then grow mold colonies.'

Essentially the main causes of mold involve failures of other systems that keep things dry, or that transport water from one location to another. 'The main sources of black mold growth that I encounter in my line of work are found in drywall and wood,' explains Bethany. 'The causes of these contaminations almost always amount to the water damage variables listed above.'

Headshot of Bethany Uribe from ASAP Restoration
Bethany Uribe

Bethany is an AHERA-certified building inspector at ASAP Restoration. With almost a decade of experience in the construction and water damage mitigation industries, she has identified her fair share of mold and water damage issues over the years. 

Decide if you can get rid of black mold yourself

how to get rid of black mold with natural and professional cleaning products

(Image credit: Future)

The size and scale of your black mold problem will be the best indication as to whether or not you can get rid of black mold yourself. 

Advice on tackling mold from the United States Environmental Protection Agency is to consider doing the job yourself if the area affected is less than 10 square feet.  However, you may want to hire a professional mold removal service if black mold covers a more extensive area. Similarly, you should consider calling an expert if you have health problems, or if you suspect your home's heating, ventilation, or air-conditioning system is contaminated with mold spores.

Methods to get rid of black mold

A marble bathroom with a walk in shower and a freestanding bath tub

(Image credit: Future / Billy Bolton)

1. Getting rid of black mold by removing affected materials

'Our favored method for removing black mold at ASAP Restoration is to extract the affected material, usually drywall, and to then sand down any affected wood sources to remove existing spores,' explains Bethany Uribe. 'After the wood is sanded and the wet drywall removed, our technicians apply an antimicrobial agent to the surfaces that have been contaminated.' 

This antimicrobial agent sits for 24 hours to kill any mold spores that might be embedded in the materials. 'On some occasions and in some locations, heat treating the entire area to elevate the ambient temperature above the level that mold can survive may be necessary,' Bethany continues. 'After the mold has been killed, and the area has been completely dried out, then and only then can the reconstruction begin.'

If this method sounds like it might be too much to tackle on a DIY basis, you may want to call professional mold removal experts to combat the problem for you. 

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 DIY step in dealing with the problem is a simple wash and scrub-up.

'If you have surface black mold on walls or kitchen/bathroom surfaces, you can usually clean it off with a soapy solution,' says Robert Vaughn from Damp Detectives. However, this will not get rid of black mold entirely, as you are not remedying the source of the mold. 

3. Getting rid of black mold with bleach

Bottle of bleach on a neutral toned background

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Using bleach to kill mold may be the first anti-mold remedy that springs to mind, but this common DIY solution is not advised by mold removal experts. 

'Bleach doesn’t work to kill mold and has been proven to not affect most mold species at all,' explains Bethany Uribe. 'The act of wiping off the mold colony will make it look like bleach is working, but in the end, it has no practical effect.'

However, if you want to remove surface-level mold growing on white and non-porous surfaces, such as countertops and tiles in a kitchen or bathroom, bleach may do the trick. Just make sure you take care when using it, wearing gloves and a mask to protect yourself from the toxic fumes that bleach gives off. Also, never mix bleach with vinegar when cleaning under any circumstances. 

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 of Modern Maids.

4. Getting rid of black mold with white vinegar

how to get rid of black mold with natural and professional cleaning products

(Image credit: Future)

This is a tip from Sara San Angelo, who is known professionally as The Cleaning Lady. 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.

'If mold has extended below the surface, 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

Baking soda in a pot and in a spoon plus pots

(Image credit: Alamy)

Homemade 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 to clean grout affected by mold is to mix 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 onto the mold, leave for at least one hour, then wipe away with a cloth or sponge. 


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Get rid of black mold using the washing machine

Washing machine

(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 the laundry symbols on 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 wrinkling and tearing by acting as a buffer.  

Black Mold FAQs

Why should I get rid of black mold quickly?

There are several 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 States Environmental Protection Agency is to act quickly because mold damages what it grows on. The longer it grows, the more damage it can cause.

How can I stop black mold coming back?

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.

'One of the best ways to kill mold is to dry out the area in which it is attempting to grow. Typically, this happens in bathrooms, under kitchen sinks, or laundry rooms with poor drainage,' says Bethany Uribe. 'Keeping these areas heated will help to reduce the chances of mold growth simply because mold has an ideal temperature and moisture range in which to live and thrive.' 

'If a surface is too warm or too cold, the mold spores will die on contact. If the surface is too dry, the mold spores will never have a chance to take root. Any surface with a moisture reading below 15 percent will not support mold spore proliferation, so to keep mold at bay, keep the area dry and outside of the temperature mold growth zone.'

Remember, while solutions such as bleach or baking soda will help wipe away surface-level mold, the key to eliminating black mold for good is to root it out at the source. Once you have tackled the root cause of black mold in your home, we recommend using a dehumidifier in problem areas to reduce high humidity levels.

Gabriella Dyson
Head of Solved

Gabriella is Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens. She is a DIY enthusiast and a lover of all things interior design, often found antiquing or browsing the aisles of her local hardware store. 

She has a particular passion for historic buildings and is in the process of renovating a Victorian coachhouse in the British countryside. 

For much of the past decade, Gabriella has worked as a freelance writer, crafting copy for national publications and renowned homeware brands. Most recently, she worked on Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine, focusing on case studies for the magazine and website, as well as writing features about issues surrounding historic and listed building projects.

With contributions from