How to Clean Mold and Mildew Off Painted Walls

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.

Discovering mold growing anywhere in your home can be unsettling. Dealing with the mold quickly is essential to prevent more serious damage and potential health problems for your family. Many household items can help you tackle mold and mildew growth on your painted walls.


What Causes Mold Growth

Mold spores are everywhere, but they need ideal conditions to grow. Moisture is one of the key ingredients for mold growth on any surface, including painted walls. That makes your bathroom, kitchen, and basement prime locations for mold and mildew growth. Cleaning the mold will help temporarily, but it's likely to come back if you don't take care of the humidity problem. Using dehumidifiers in your home can help control moisture.


Video of the Day

Evaluate the Mold

Before you decide how to clean the mold, do a little assessment to see how big the issue is. If the wall looks normal and the mold or mildew appears to only be on the surface of the paint, you can typically clean the mold. If you notice the drywall is damaged, soft, or crumbling, you'll likely need to replace it. If you're concerned about toxic black mold, hiring a mold removal company is the safest way to handle the situation. Professionals can safely remove the mold, and they have proper protective equipment to keep themselves safe while they work.


Wear Proper Gear

No matter what type of mold or mildew you're cleaning, it's important to protect yourself from the mold spores and the cleaner you use. Wear a respirator mask, goggles, and gloves while cleaning the mold. It's also a good idea to ventilate the room by opening the window.


Clean With Vinegar

If you prefer a gentle approach without toxic chemicals, try distilled vinegar to kill the mold on your painted walls. Add 2 cups of hot water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of borax to a spray bottle and combine them well. Spray the solution on the wall. Wipe any drips that run down the wall to prevent them from soaking into the baseboards or flooring.


Use a scrub brush to loosen the mold spores. Wipe the visible mold off the wall with an old rag and throw it away when you're finished. Spray the area again with more of the solution. Let it sit for 10 minutes and wipe it away with a different cloth.

Tackle Mold With Bleach

Never combine bleach with vinegar or any other cleaner. It reacts to many different products, including vinegar, and creates toxic gases that can cause you harm. If you haven't already tried vinegar or another cleaner on the mold, you can use bleach to kill it. Ventilation is essential since bleach has strong fumes even when you don't combine it with other products.


To use bleach to clean the walls, dilute it using 1 part bleach and 3 parts or more of water. Undiluted bleach will likely damage the paint, so always dilute it with at least 3 parts water to 1 part bleach. Find a hidden area of the wall and test the bleach solution before using it to clean the mold. Let it sit on the painted surface for 20 to 30 minutes to make sure it doesn't damage it.

Use a sponge to apply the bleach solution to the moldy areas and wipe away the mold. Be careful to avoid letting the bleach splash or run onto other surfaces that might be damaged by it. Wipe the bleach off the wall with a clean rag or sponge after cleaning.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...