Home Cleaning Bathroom Cleaning How to Get Rid of Black Mold Disinfect showers, drywall, and wood surfaces with a few simple steps. By Mary Marlowe Leverette Mary Marlowe Leverette Facebook Twitter Mary Marlowe Leverette has over four decades of experience and has been writing and consulting for more than 20 years sharing her knowledge on efficient housekeeping, stain removal methods, and textile conservation. Real Simple's Editorial Guidelines Published on March 13, 2023 Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article Considerations Before You Get Started How to Get Rid of Black Mold in the Shower (with Chlorine Bleach) How to Get Rid of Black Mold in the Shower (with Hydrogen Peroxide) How to Get Rid of Black Mold in the Shower (with Distilled White Vinegar) How to Get Rid of Black Mold in the Shower (with Baking Soda or Borax) How to Get Rid of Black Mold on Walls How to Get Rid of Black Mold on Wood (Painted or Sealed) How to Get Rid of Black Mold on Wood (Unsealed or Unpainted) Photo: Andrei Naumenka/Getty Images Project Overview Skill Level: Intermediate Not all of the mold and fungus around us are bad—think about blue cheese and mushrooms—but when black mold appears in your home, it's not so good. Mold can be a sign of poor air circulation and excess moisture in your home, and it can cause health problems in some individuals. While you may have heard about a particular type of "toxic black mold" (Stachybotrys chartarum), the truth is, this mold hasn't been proven to be anymore dangerous than other types or colors of mold. That said, if there's any kind of mold in your house, you should take every step to get rid of it. If you're dealing with a small colony of allergic or pathogenic black molds, you can get rid of it with a few disinfecting supplies and a bit of elbow grease. If the mold colony is large or identified as toxic, it's best to have a professional mold removal company handle the job. The U.S. Department of Environmental Protection recommends the professional removal of mold colonies that cover more than 10 square feet (roughly a 3-foot by 3-foot patch). So, if you're dealing with a smaller patch, follow the cleaning steps below to remove black mold from showers, walls, and wood surfaces. 8 Signs There May Be Mold and Mildew in Your House Considerations Before You Get Started Since breathing in or handling mold can cause allergic or respiratory symptoms, it's best to wear a mask, rubber gloves, and eye protection when cleaning it. Turn on venting fans or open doors and windows to improve ventilation in the area where you're working. Below, we've shared several different methods for getting rid of mold. If one method doesn't work for you, you can try another—but be careful not to mix problematic chemicals. Rinse the area completely with water before trying another cleaner. 8 Cleaning Products You Should Never Mix What You'll Need Equipment / Tools Showers (Chlorine Method) Sponge or sponge mop Cotton balls Nylon-bristled brush Large bowl or bucket Showers (Hydrogen Peroxide Method) Spray bottle Nylon-bristled brush Showers (Distilled White Vinegar Method) Spray bottle Nylon-bristled brush Showers (Baking Soda/Borax Method) Small bowl Nylon-bristled brush Walls Plastic bucket or spray bottle Ladder (optional) Sponge mop (optional) Wood (Painted or Sealed) Large bowl Soft-bristled brush Sponge Spray bottle Microfiber cloth Wood (Unpainted or Unsealed) Small bowl Soft-bristled brush Small bowl Materials Showers (Chlorine Method) Chlorine bleach Showers (Hydrogen Peroxide Method) Hydrogen peroxide Showers (Distilled White Vinegar Method) Distilled white vinegar Hydrogen peroxide, diluted chlorine bleach, or tile cleaner Showers (Baking soda/Borax Method) Baking soda or borax Hydrogen peroxide, diluted chlorine bleach, or tile cleaner Walls Dishwashing liquid Bleach Wood (Painted or Sealed) Dishwashing liquid Distilled white vinegar Chlorine bleach Wood (Unpainted or Unsealed) Dishwashing liquid Chlorine bleach Instructions How to Get Rid of Black Mold in the Shower (with Chlorine Bleach) Dilute the bleach. Mix one cup of bleach with one gallon of water (or one part chlorine bleach with 16 parts water) in a large bowl or bucket. Apply the bleach. Wearing rubber gloves, dip a sponge or sponge mop in the solution and saturate the mold growth. For mold along bathtub edges or tight corners, soak cotton balls with the cleaning solution and place them on top of the mold. Allow the bleach solution to remain on the moldy area for at least 15 minutes before scrubbing the area with a nylon-bristled brush. Rinse Well Rinse the area well with water and allow the shower to air dry. If discoloration remains, repeat the steps above to re-treat the area. How to Get Rid of Black Mold in the Shower (with Hydrogen Peroxide) Prepare hydrogen peroxide spray. Pour fresh, undiluted hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle for easy application. Make sure to use a fresh bottle of drug store-strength hydrogen peroxide (3-10 percent solution). Once opened, hydrogen peroxide breaks down rather quickly, and if the peroxide doesn't fizz when it touches organic matter, it will not be effective. Apply the peroxide. Spray hydrogen peroxide directly onto the mold. It should begin to bubble or fizz. Allow it to work for at least 15 minutes or until the fizzing stops. Scrub and rinse. Scrub the area with a scrub brush. Rinse the area well and repeat the steps, if needed. How to Get Rid of Black Mold in the Shower (with Distilled White Vinegar) Note: The acid in distilled white vinegar or cleaning vinegar will kill mold, but it works much more slowly than other cleaners and discoloration may remain that must be removed with another cleaner. Prepare the vinegar spray. Pour undiluted distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray mold. Spray the moldy surface with the vinegar. Allow it to work for one hour. Scrub and rinse the surfaces. Spray the moldy areas again with vinegar and scrub with a nylon-bristled brush. Rinse the surfaces thoroughly with water. Remove stains and discoloration. Use hydrogen peroxide, diluted chlorine bleach, or a commercial tile cleaner and the nylon brush to remove any remaining stains. How to Get Rid of Black Mold in the Shower (with Baking Soda or Borax) Note: Borax and baking soda inhibit the growth and survival of mold; however, neither is as effective at killing mold or removing stains as the other methods. Make a paste. In a small bowl, mix half a cup of baking soda or borax with a few tablespoons of water. Adjust the ratio until you have a spreadable paste. Apply the paste, wait, and scrub. Spread the paste on the mold growth with gloved hands or a sponge. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes and then use a dampened scrub brush to scour the area. Rinse well. Rinse the paste away well with water. Remove stains. Use hydrogen peroxide, diluted chlorine bleach, or a commercial tile cleaner to remove any remaining stains. How to Get Rid of Black Mold on Walls A diluted chlorine bleach solution is the most effective method for getting rid of black mold on walls, but you can substitute a solution of undiluted hydrogen peroxide or distilled white vinegar and dishwashing liquid. However, remember not to overlap chemicals. Choose one and if it doesn't work, rinse the wall thoroughly before moving to the next cleaner. Mix a bleach solution. To clean a large wall, mix one-part dishwashing liquid, 10 parts bleach, and 20 parts water in a plastic bucket. For a small area of mold, mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach, and one cup of warm water in a spray bottle. Apply solution to the moldy wall. Start at the bottom of the wall and use a sponge or a spray bottle to apply the solution. To prevent drywall damage, be sure not to oversaturate the wall. If the mold is near the ceiling, use a sturdy ladder or use a sponge mop to apply the solution. Let the wall air dry. Do not scrub or rinse the area. Allow the wall to air dry. Check for remaining stains and discoloration. When the wall is completely dry, check for stains. To get rid of any remaining discoloration, repeat the steps with a fresh batch of the cleaning solution. How to Get Rid of Black Mold on Wood (Painted or Sealed) Wash the surface. Mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with 1 quart of warm water. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the wood. Work in a small area and do not over-saturate the wood. Use a sponge to remove excess water as you clean. Get rid of small mold growth. Fill a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar to lightly mist the wood. Allow the vinegar to air-dry on the surface for at least one hour. If no stains remain, buff the surface with a microfiber cloth. Kill extensive mold growth. If the moldy area is large or extremely heavy, chlorine bleach is needed. Mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach, and 1 cup of warm water. Apply the mixture to the moldy area with a sponge and allow the wood to air dry. Finish by buffing with a soft cloth. Repeat, if needed. How to Get Rid of Black Mold on Wood (Unsealed or Unpainted) Mix cleaning solution. In a small bowl, mix a solution of 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach, and 1 cup of warm water. Apply solution. Apply the mixture to the moldy area with a soft-bristled brush, scrub lightly, and allow it to air dry. Remove stains. If the mold stains remain, the wood surface should be sanded to remove the spores that have deeply penetrated the wood. After sanding, the wood should be sealed to help prevent future damage.