Mold removal guide – Removing mold with common household cleaners

Mold Removal Products

There are several common household cleaning items that can be used to remove mold from your house. Some of these cleaning agents are quite strong while others are moderate. Depending on the mold quantity and the underlying surface on which the mold has grown, you need to select the right cleaning solution.

Here is a list –

  • Vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Borax
  • Tea tree oil
  • Grapefruit seed extract

1. Mold Removal with Vinegar

Vinegar contains acetic acid which is a mild acid, but is capable of killing most mold species that are commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens. Vinegar has the advantage of being a natural cleaner that is non-toxic and safe for any kind of use.

Vinegar works quite well on tiles, vinyl and porcelain surfaces. If there is mold on the tiles or on the vinyl door in the bathroom then you can clean it with just vinegar.

Fill a spray bottle with plain white vinegar and spray vinegar on the mold affected area. Leave for a few minutes and then wipe using a sponge. The mold would easily come off along with the dirt and water stains. Its as simple as that.

Keep cleaning till all the mold is gone and the whole surface is looking bright and clean. Vinegar also acts as a disinfectant which kills other kinds of germs and microbes as well. It should be your first choice when cleaning mild and regular molds in kitchen and bathroom.

To make the cleaning even better, try adding lime or lemon juice to the vinegar.

If you are using it in the kitchen then make sure not to spill it on granite or marble floor or countertops. The acid in vinegar can corrode stone surfaces.

Vinegar can also be used to clean mildew from clothes. Clothes left wet for many days often develop a musty smell and mildew growth. Simply wash the clothes with warm to hot water with laundry detergent and a cup or two of plain white vinegar.

2. Mold Removal with Detergent and Water

Usual laundry detergent can also be used to clean up mold from a variety of surfaces. Prepare a solution detergent and water and use it to scrub the mold. This will work on wooden surfaces, ceramic tiles, porcelain and vinyl surfaces.

If you are cleaning mold on walls, then prepare a stronger detergent solution with more detergent and less water. Walls will also need more time and effort to completely clean away the mold.

3. Mold Removal with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a very common household cleaner that is natural and non-toxic. Though it is not a very strong cleaner, it can still be used to clean small amounts of mold in the house. Baking soda in solution is alkaline (pH 8.1) in nature so it can be used on surfaces that need an alkaline cleaner. Moreover its safe for humans and pets.

Add about 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 1 spray bottle and fill it with water. Add 1 teaspoon of liquid dishsoap. This will enhance the cleaning power of baking soda. Shake and mix the solution well.

Now spray this solution whatever mold surface and scrub and wipe with a sponge or scrubber. Repeat the process till all the mold is gone. Baking soda solutions are good for use on stone surfaces like marble and granite and also polished wooden surfaces.

For tiles and vinyl doors, vinegar and lime juice will always be more effective.

4. Mold Removal with Borax

The next mold cleaner we are talking about is Borax. Borax is a natural cleaning agent, but is toxic if consumed. However borax is still safer as it does not emit toxic fumes like bleach or ammonia. In water solution borax is alkaline with a pH level of 9 (higher than baking soda). So it has a similar cleaning effect like baking soda.

Borax is quite useful for cleaning toilets and drains. It has disinfectant properties and acts as a insecticide, herbicide and fungicide. This makes it a good cleaner for mold as well. It is cheap as well.

Using borax to clean mold

Prepare a solution of about 1 cup borax in 1 gallon of water. Add 2 tablespoon of liquid dishsoap to the solution.

It is advisable to vacuum the area before cleaning with borax solution. Use a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner to pull out all loose mold and mold spores in the air. This will make cleaning easier and better.

Now apply this solution on the mold area in plenty and then rub with a scrubber. The mold should start falling off.

After cleaning, let the surface dry completely. Vacuum once more to make sure that no particles or mold spores are left behind. If it is indoors, then ventilate the place well with open windows and fans.

5. Mold Removal with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is yet another effective cleaner that can be used to remove mold. It has anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties which make it a good disinfectant. Hydrogen peroxide acts as a mild bleach but is a lot safer that chlorine bleach. It does not give out any toxic fumes and is much safer on humans and pets. It can be used to remove mold from floors, walls, tiles, fixtures etc.

You can purchase hydrogen peroxide from your local drugstore. Most of the commercially available hydrogen peroxide has 3% concentration, which is safe for household usage.

Fill a spray bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide. You can also use 5% hydrogen peroxide.
Spray it on the moldy surface in plenty to make sure that all the mold is covered by the hydrogen peroxide. Leave it for around 10 minutes so that the peroxide can do its job of killing the mold. Then scrub away the entire surface with a sponge or scrubber.

Repeat the process till all the mold is wiped away. After cleaning you can vacuum the surface to ensure that all the mold spores have been eliminated away and there is none left.

6. Mold Removal with Bleach

Bleach is perhaps the strongest chemical that you can use to kill and remove mold. It completely eliminates mold from whatever surface it is applied to.

However, bleach is a toxic and strong chemical that needs to be handled with great caution. Bleach should be used only as the last resort when all other cleaners fail to do the job. If you are cleaning mold from some outdoor wooden structure that is large in size and does not clean well with vinegar or detergent, you may have to use bleach.

Bleach comes in two different variants, namely chlorine bleach and oxygen bleach. For indoor usage like bathrooms, oxygen bleach is a safer options. Oxygen bleach is less powerful than chlorine bleach but is effective in cleaning mold.

Precautions when using bleach

When using bleach, make sure that you use hand gloves and face masks to protect yourself from the fumes. Also keep in mind that never mix anything with bleach without proper knowledge. A number of chemicals like vinegar or ammonia react with bleach and produce highly poisonous gases which can be fatal if inhaled even in small quantities.

How to Kill Mold with Bleach

First prepare a solution of 1 part water with 10 parts water, or about a cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Preferably use a medium sized tub or bucket that can be carried safely without spilling.

Now use a large sized sponge to soak the solution and then apply it on the moldy surface. Rub as much as you like till the mold is completely gone. Repeat the process as necessary.

For outdoor structures, do not rinse with fresh water. Let the bleach remain on the surface so that it has effect for as long as possible.

7. Mold Removal with Ammonia

Like bleach, ammonia is also a very strong chemical agent that can up mold. It can be used on glass, tiles, countertops etc. Ammonia is strongly alkaline in nature.

Ammonia is a harsh, toxic chemical that should be handled with great caution. Also make sure to never mix anything else with ammonia like bleach or vinegar. This will result in highly toxic gases to be released that can be fatal if inhaled.

Additionally, although ammonia can kill surface mold, dead mold and dead mold spores are still allergenic so you will need to make sure to remove them afterwards.

How to Kill Mold with Ammonia

To kill mold using ammonia, create a solution of 50% clear ammonia and 50% water in a spray bottle and spray it on moldy areas.

Make sure the ammonia you use says “clear ammonia” on the label.

Leave the area for a few hours before wiping and rinsing.

Often detergents or mold cleaning products will contain ammonia. In that case just follow the directions on the label and be sure never to mix it with bleach.

Mold Control with Tea Tree Oil

So far we have discussed some of the most effective way of cleaning the mold away. Now its time to apply something that will hold the mold back from growing again.

Tea tree oil is a natural and effective solution to hold the mold from coming back for some time. It may not be the best solution to clean large amounts of mold, but after you are done cleaning using bleach or vinegar, try applying tea tree oil to prevent mold growth for some time.

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is mostly safe on the skins of humans and pets. However it is toxic if consumed. When used sparingly in diluted form it has strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

The best quality tea tree oils are derived from a plant called Melaleuca Alternifolia which is very commonly founds in Australia.

Applying Tea Tree Oil

First of all you should clean away as much mold as you can using vinegar or lime juice. Use a little baking soda if necessary.

Now prepare a solution of 1 teaspoon tea tree oil with 1 cup of water. Fill it in your spray bottle.

Spray the solution on the moldy surface very generously. Saturate the whole area with oil solution. Do not rinse or wipe the area, let the solution sit over the mold surface so that it can keep doing its work and hold the mold from returning.

However, bear in mind that natural remedies like these will work only on small places that are otherwise well ventilated. For outdoor structures that are more exposed to water and moisture you better call in professional service.

Mold Control Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit seed extract is another oil extract similar to tea tree oil that has anti-fungal properties. It is inexpensive and safe on humans and pets. Unlike tea tree oil, it does not have any

The citric acid in the grapefruit seed extract acts as a strong disinfectant that kills microscopic molds and spores. It also deodorizes the whole surface.

Again, just like tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract is also not a cleaner. First you should clean the mold with cleaning solutions of vinegar or bleach and then apply grapefruit seed oil.

Also this technique is useful only for indoor areas that are small in size. For a large scale mold treatment you would need to use commercial mold inhibitor solutions or call professionals.

Applying Grapefruit Seed Extract

Prepare a solution of 10 dropts grapefruit seed extract in 1 cup of water. Fill your spray bottle with it.

Shake the bottle well and then spray the solution onto the mold area. Spray in plenty to fully cover the whole mold ridden area.

No need to wipe or rinse. Let the solution stay on the surface like that. It will do its work and hold the mold from coming back for several weeks. Depending on how soon the mold reappears, you can spray the solution again after a few weeks to keep it in effect continuously.


Tackling mold can be a grueling task. If you are doing it for the first time then you need to first cleanup the mold completely using all possible measures.

Next you have to take necessary steps to control the mold from reappearing soon. Although this is not easy and there is probably no solution that will hold the mold forever. Most mold control solutions stay in effect from few days to few weeks, after which you have to treat the surface again.

Using the above mentioned methods you can get rid of mold pretty easily using common household cleaning supplies that are not very expensive.

If you have any questions or feedback then do let us know in the comment box below.

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