DIY Mold Removal Tips


Remove mold from walls
Scraping mold from a wall

Many homes have mold and oftentimes its an unavoidable problem. There are steps one can take to minimize mold infestations, however action ought to be taken as soon as its spotted. Taking action immediately will help prevent structural damage to your home, stop the infestation from spreading and will be beneficial to your health and those of your loved ones.

The type of action depends on the amount of mold present. It’s fine to remove mold yourself if the infected area is relatively small. But for larger infected areas and/or if there are multiple infected areas then its best to call an expert. The last thing you want is too many airborne spores which is how it negatively affects your health and spreads.

Below we have listed 6 household items that are effective at mold removal.

Table of Contents
  • Does bleach kill mold?
  • Does ammonia kill mold?
  • Does baking soda kill mold?
  • Does hydrogen peroxide kill mold?
  • Does grapefruit seed extract kill mold?
  • Does tea tree oil kill mold?
  • Mold Removal Comparison Table
  • Safety Tips & Precautions

Does bleach kill mold?

Bleach is one of the most widely used cleaning agents and kills every type of virus and bacteria upon contact which makes it a very effective mold killer. Although, it’s strongly recommended to only use bleach on non-porous surfaces. Porous surfaces such as wood and drywall have pores which is where mold roots reside and bleach cannot penetrate these pores. Only surface mold gets killed while the roots remain untouched which results in the mold returning later. However, bleach is excellent at permanently removing mold on hard surfaces such as glass, counter tops, bath tubs and tiles.

When working with bleach open windows for ventilation and wear protective gloves along with eye protection. And most importantly, do not mix bleach with ammonia because it creates highly toxic fumes.

Mold removal with bleach

  • Use a container to mix bleach with water to a ratio of 1:10.
  • Apply the mixture to a non-porous mold surface with a sponge or cloth and rub until it comes off.
  • Wipe the surface area clean.

Does ammonia kill mold?

Ammonia is a colorless liquid with a strong pungent smell and is highly toxic. It’s an excellent disinfectant and just like bleach it’s only effective on non-porous surfaces such as glass, bath tubs, tiles and counter tops. When working with ammonia open windows for proper ventilation and wear protective gloves along with eye protection. If possible a respirator is also recommended. And most importantly, do not mix bleach with ammonia because it creates highly toxic fumes.

Mold removal with ammonia

  • Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 water and ammonia mixture.
  • Spray onto the desired non-porous surface and allow to soak for 10 minutes.
  • Spray again and scrub with a brush or rub with a cloth / sponge.
  • Wipe the surface area clean.

Does baking soda kill mold?

Baking soda kills up to 82% of all bacteria and viruses, is easily available, is perfectly safe to use around children and pets, and works on all types of surface areas. Baking soda does not kill all types of mold but mixing some vinegar with your solution will eradicate them all since vinegar kills the types that baking soda can’t. An additional bonus is that baking soda deodorizes thereby helping to get rid of that terrible moldy smell.

Mold removal with baking soda

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a water filled spray bottle.
  • Add a teaspoon of vinegar to create a more lethal, yet safe mold removal mixture.
  • Spray onto the desired surface and rub with a cloth or sponge.
  • Wipe the surface clean and spray again but this time let it soak in for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Wipe the surface clean again.

Does hydrogen peroxide kill mold?

Yes, it does. As a matter of fact it works wonders on even the most severe chronic black mold infestations. Keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide looses its potency when exposed to light for long periods so store it in a cool dark place.

Mold removal with hydrogen peroxide

  • Add 3% hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle.
  • To increase its potency add a teaspoon of vinegar.
  • Spray the peroxide solution onto the infected surface and allow to soak in for 15 minutes.
  • Wipe the surface clean.

Does grapefruit seed extract kill mold?

Grapefruit seed extract is one of the most natural and safest mold removal items on the list. It’s highly effective on all types of surfaces, deodorizes and more importantly is safe to use around children and pets.

Mold removal with gapefruit seed extract

  • Mix 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract per cup of water.
  • Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution onto the infected area and let it soak in for 10 minutes.
  • Scrub the infected area with a small brush until its clean.
  • Repeat the process if necessary until all mold has been removed.

Does tea tree oil kill mold?

Yes, it does. Tea trea oil has a strong medicinal odor and works great thanks to its powerful anti-microbial properties. It’s so effective the aboriginal tribes used it for centuries as a disinfectant on burns and cuts. The only downside is that you have to leave it on a little longer than other solutions to soak in.

Mold removal with tea tree oil

  • Mix tea tree oil with water in a spray bottle to a ratio of 1 teaspoon per cup of water.
  • Shake the bottle thoroughly.
  • Spray the solution onto the desired surface and allow to soak in for 20 minutes.
  • Wipe the surface clean.

Mold Removal Comparison Table

When comparing the various mold removal solutions you will notice that the most toxic items are the least effective while the environmentally friendly ones work best.

ItemIdeal Surface AreasProsCons
BleachNon-porous surfaces:
Glass, counter tops, bath tubs and tiles.
  • Easily available
  • Highly effective on non-porous surfaces.
  • Kills 100% of all bacteria and viruses.
    • Highly toxic
    • Doesn’t penetrate porous surfaces to eradicate roots.
    AmmoniaNon-porous surfaces:
    Glass, counter tops, bath tubs and tiles.
    • Easily available
    • Highly effective on non-porous surfaces.
    • Kills 100% of all bacteria and viruses.
      • Highly toxic
      • Doesn’t penetrate porous surfaces to eradicate roots.
      Baking SodaAll surfaces
      • Easily available
      • Highly effective on all surfaces.
      • Non-toxic.
      • Kills 82% of all bacteria and viruses.
      • Deodorizes.
        Hydrogen PeroxideAll surfaces
        • Easily available
        • Highly effective on all surfaces.
        • Non-toxic (unless swallowed).
        Grapefruit Seed ExtractAll surfaces
        • Easily available
        • Highly effective on all surfaces.
        • Non-toxic.
        • Deodorizes.
        • Slightly more expensive than other solutions.
        Tea Tree OilAll surfaces
        • Easily available
        • Highly effective on all surfaces.
        • Non-toxic (unless swallowed).
        • Slightly more expensive than other solutions.
        • Have to leave it to soak in longer than other solutions.

        Safety Tips & Precautions

        When working with mold it’s always important to remember that the mold you are dealing with could potentially be toxic. Furthermore, the spores could spread when disturbed and settle in different places where it will grow. It’s okay if the infected area is small but for larger infected areas one would have to follow some safety precautions. Or better yet, call in an expert to deal with the problem.

        Do a mold toxicity test if the infected area is large:

        If the infected area is large it would be best to know which type of mold you are dealing with. A mold test kit will let you know if the mold is toxic or not but regardless of the outcome it still has to be removed. If it is of the toxic kind it may be wise to let a professional deal with the problem.

        Purify room air prior to starting the cleaning process:

        Keep the room door closed while running an air purifier for a day. This will remove any potential airborne spores. It’s important to keep the purifier running on the day of cleaning and the day after.

        Wear the necessary protective gear:

        On the day of cleaning make sure you have all the necessary protective gear. This would include a respirator that covers your mouth and nose which is to prevent you from breathing any of the spores in. Even if the mold is not toxic, the actual spores can trigger allergies and various other irritations. Gloves are essential too and eye protection might be necessary depending on the mold removal solution you are using. Also wear clothing you can discard or immediately wash afterwards. An extra optional precautionary step is to seal off any doors to be extra sure that none of the spores make it to other rooms.

        After the cleaning process:

        Buy or rent a heppa vacuum cleaner to vacuum the entire room.