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How to Clean Black Mold

Three Methods:Using Cleaning ProductsUsing Natural MethodsGetting Rid of a Larger Mold Problem

Black mold, the bane of many homeowners' existence, normally appears in damp, dark areas and can spread quickly. Luckily, there are many household substances you can use to clean black mold, including borax, bleach, tea tree oil, vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. Wear protective gloves while you're cleaning mold, and throw out any items that are completely contaminated. Read on to learn more about how to clean black mold.

Household Solutions

Mold can be a nasty surprise, but there's a good chance you have what you need to clean it lying around your home already:

Method 1
Using Cleaning Products

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    Kill mold with borax. This is an inexpensive product you can buy in the laundry aisle at your supermarket. Borax works on nonporous surfaces like tile and glass as well as wood and other porous surfaces (as long as they won't be damaged by too much moisture). Start by vacuuming up any lose mold with a HEPA filtered vacuum so the spores don't get all over the room. Next, clean up the mold by following these steps:
    • Mix 1 cup of borax with 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water.
    • Dip a scrub brush in the solution and use it to scrub away the black mold.
    • Wipe the area clean of mold.
    • Don't rinse the area, since the borax will prevent the spores from growing again.
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    Remove mold with detergent. This method is effective on glass, tile and other nonporous surfaces. It doesn't kill the mold, but mixing soap and water and using it to scrub the mold away is just as effective on nonporous surfaces.
    • Mix 1 cup detergent (such as laundry detergent) and a gallon of water.
    • Use a scrub brush to apply the solution to the moldy area and scrub the mold away.
    • Rinse the area when you're finished.
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    Kill mold with clear ammonia. Clear ammonia is an effective tool for killing mold, but it is a toxic cleaning product that should only be used sparingly. Use ammonia to kill the toughest mold on glass and tile. It's not effective on wood and other porous surfaces.
    • Make a solution of 2 cups water and 2 cups clear ammonia and place it in a spray bottle.
    • Spray it over the moldy area.
    • Let it sit for at least 2 hours.
    • Wipe and rinse the area clean.
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    Kill mold with bleach. This is a very effective method for getting rid of black mold on nonporous surfaces like tile and glass, as long as you aren't concerned that they'll get damaged. Since bleach produces toxic fumes, you'll want to make sure the area is well ventilated. Open the windows and wear gloves to protect your hands. Here's what to do:
    • Mix 1 cup of bleach and 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water.
    • Use a spray bottle or a bucket and sponge to apply the bleach mixture to the area with black mold.
    • Let the bleach sit on the mold for an hour. You can wipe it away later if that is your preference, but this isn't necessary.

Method 2
Using Natural Methods

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    Kill mold with hydrogen peroxide. This is effective on all types of surfaces, and it's completely nontoxic. Pick up a big bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide from the drugstore, then do the following:
    • Fill a spray bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide.
    • Spray the moldy area.
    • Let it sit for 20 minutes.
    • Wipe the surface clean.
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    Kill mold with tea tree oil. You can use this spray on all kinds of surfaces. It's completely nontoxic and natural, and it kills black mold very effectively, as it's a natural fungicide.[1]
    • Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil and 2 cups of water.
    • Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
    • Saturate the moldy area.
    • Don't bother wiping the area, since leaving the tea tree oil there will prevent spores from growing.
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    Kill mold with grapefruit seed extract. This is another completely natural method for killing mold, and it's odorless, too.
    • Mix 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract with 2 cups water.
    • Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
    • Saturate the moldy area.
    • Leave the solution on the area to prevent spores from growing.
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    Kill mold with white vinegar. Pure white vinegar can be used for heavy mold spots, while a diluted half vinegar/half water solution can be used for lighter moldy areas. Vinegar is a good solution for mold on any type of surface, including carpeting and wood.
    • Pour vinegar or vinegar solution into a spray bottle.
    • Saturate the moldy area.
    • Let it dry on the moldy area to kill the mold.[2]
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    Use baking soda to kill mold. This is another effective, natural solution for all types of surfaces, both porous and nonporous.
    • Add a quarter teaspoon baking soda to two cups of water.
    • Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
    • Spray the moldy area and scrub it with a scrub brush.
    • Rinse the area.
    • Treat the area again with the baking soda solution to prevent mold from returning.

Method 3
Getting Rid of a Larger Mold Problem

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    Search for mold in hidden areas. Sometimes it can be found behind drywall, inside door frames and under sinks. Some signs of hidden black mold include strong odor, warped boards and discolored ceilings.
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    Replace items that are covered with mold. In some cases cleaning the mold isn't going to cut it; you might need to replace a few things. Assess the damage and determine whether to replace some of the following items that may have been overcome by mold:
    • Bath tile
    • Carpeting and other flooring
    • Floorboards
    • Ceilings
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    Seal off the moldy room. This way black mold spores cannot travel through the air into different areas of the house. Shut doors tightly and use plastic and tape to cover vents, doorways and any areas where air can escape.
    • The only exception to this is to use an exhaust fan aimed directly out a window so black mold spores floating around the room are pushed outside.
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    Protect yourself around the mold. Wear a dust mask, clothing or a cover up that can be easily removed and washed or even disposed of. Wear rubber gloves and goggles to protect your eyes so the mold never comes in contact with your body.
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    Keep dust and debris in a small area. When you remove any items with black mold, bag the affected objects as soon as you can. This will keep the black mold spores from spreading in the air.
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    Call a professional mold remover if your black mold problem is extensive. Experts recommend that you have black mold professionally removed if it is scattered in areas greater than a 10-square-foot section. At this point it won't be possible to keep the mold at bay using household products. [3]
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    Remove water sources that feed mold to prevent it from returning. Fix leaky pipes, add better ventilation to a humid bathroom, or install a dehumidifier to a damp basement. Dry out the rooms you find mold in to prevent additional mold from forming.


  • Black mold is not more toxic than other types of household molds.[4] All molds have the potentially to cause respiratory issues, especially those who are prone to allergies. All molds should be cleaned immediately to prevent this from happening.


  • When throwing out carpets, tiles, boards or other materials that have black mold on them, be sure to place them in heavy-duty trash bags. Double bagging the items can help even more. Do not carry the bags through the house; instead, toss them out a window so there is no chance of spreading black mold spores to any other areas of the house.
  • Keep tea tree oil away from household pets, as it is toxic to dogs and cats.
  • Some household objects with porous surfaces, such as carpets and window treatments, may be impossible to clean. You should replace these to prevent mold spores from spreading in the future.

Article Info

Categories: Cleaning