How to remove mold from ceilings

How to remove black mold from the ceiling.

There’s nothing worse than hundreds of tiny spots or large black patches of black mold on the ceiling. Not only does the contrast make it visibly clear and affect our health negatively, but it also indicates a problem – either with too much humidity or a leak from the roof above. Taking action as soon as you see mold on the ceiling is crucial in terms of health and your finances, but many people aren’t sure about what steps to take when faced with this dilemma. Here we will show you what to do step by step and how to locate the source of the problem.

Topics Covered

  • What causes it?
    • Humidity
    • Leaks
  • How to remove black mold from the ceiling

What causes it?

Finding the source of the problem is crucial before attempting to remove any actual mold from the ceiling.


If dealing with black mold on the bathroom ceiling, then it’s almost guaranteed to be the result of excessive amounts of humidity within the bathroom itself. If this is indeed the case, then drastically lowering the humidity in the bathroom is vital. Luckily, there is an easy way of doing this, which you can read about here.


Mold growing on ceilings in other parts of the home is most likely caused by some leak up in the ceiling area. Check to see if there is any water accumulation or drops hanging by the mold spot. Also, look carefully to see whether or not the problem area is sagging as that is another clear indication of a leak.

The water source could be from a leaking pipe or even rain that enters the ceiling area through broken roof tiles. Either way, it’s extremely important to fix the source of the problem as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Keep in mind

Removing black mold won’t be possible if the ceiling has already started sagging as it’s damaged beyond repair and needs to be replaced.

Also, if you have popcorn ceiling, then cleaning it will be futile as a result of the high amount of pores in the material. Popcorn ceilings should be replaced instead of cleaned.

How to remove black mold from the ceiling

Black mold on ceiling.

Safety is of the utmost importance whenever dealing with mold – especially when it comes to black mold. Ensure that you have a decent respirator mask, some goggles, and gloves.

Also, close all vents and the door to the room to prevent mold spores from spreading to other parts of your home. And open all the windows to minimize the concentration of spores in the room.

What you will need: The above-mentioned safety gear, a step ladder, a sponge (not a brush because ceilings can easily be damaged), a spray bottle, a cleaning solution, and some sandpaper. Also, a scraper if your ceiling is painted.

Cleaning solution: Any number of cleaning solutions can be used. For this example, however, we will use a mixture of distilled white vinegar and baking soda. Feel free to use borax, hydrogen peroxide, or any other appropriate mold killer.

To prepare the solution, pour a 50/50 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar into a 500ml spray bottle. Add one teaspoon of baking soda and shake the bottle well.

Step 1: Spray the cleaning solution on:

Put on your safety gear and carefully place the step ladder underneath the moldy ceiling. Climb up and spray all the affected areas with the vinegar and baking soda mixture.

If the ceiling is painted, you will first have to scrape the paint off from the moldy areas before applying the cleaning solution.

Wait an hour or two for the solution to kill the existing mold and spores.

Step 2: Wash the mold away:

Climb back onto the stepladder and spray the cleaning solution onto the mold again. Once it’s saturated, scrub it with the rough side of the sponge until it comes off.

You might have to wash the sponge or use another one if too much mold starts sticking to it. But most importantly, discard them properly when done.

Step 3: Saturate and dry:

Once all the mold has been removed from the ceiling, spray the vinegar and baking soda mixture again. This is to ensure that any existing mold spores are dead so that the mold doesn’t grow back again.

Once you have sprayed, place a small portable fan onto it to help it dry faster.

Step 4: Apply mold-resistant paint:

Once dry, sand that particular section of the ceiling down and paint over it with mold-resistant paint. This step is optional but strongly recommended as it will guarantee that mold will not return for at least five years. Check out these mold-resistant paint products we have reviewed here.

More Information

How mold-resistant paint stops mold from forming

Step-by-step instructions for removing mold from drywall

Step-by-step instructions for removing mold from wood

How to reduce bathroom humidity with an exhaust fan