Complete Guide to Mold and Mildew Removal: Proven Methods and Prevention Tips

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Updated on:

August 29, 2023

Ultimate Guide to Mold and Mildew Removal: Effective Methods and Preventive Measures

Removing mold in the home is a tedious problem. It is hard to detect it in a big home so getting rid of it can be especially challenging. If you have it on your walls, most likely it has been spread around your entire house.

Removing mold is also one of the hardest things to clean in the car. Simply wiping it won't remove it completely and it will just come right back. The musty smell of such fungus is unbearable and the look of it on your car is hideous.

This article will help you find multiple ways to solve your mold problem and keep your home or car from getting mold again.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mold and mildew are challenging to remove and prevent.
  • Effective methods: bleach or vinegar solutions, hydrogen peroxide with a professional cleaner, steam cleaner.
  • Prevent mold by fixing leaks, reducing moisture, and avoiding eating in cars.
  • Use vinegar for cleaning and ensure proper ventilation.

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Why do you have mold and mildew in your home?

floor covered with mold

Most mold infestation in home happens because of plumbing leaks. If there's mold around your fridge, ice maker, or faucet, most likely there is a leak in your home. Make sure to hire a plumber to fix the leak before you even try to combat mold since it will just come back if the leak is still there.

A leak in pipes can also spread through drywall since it is highly absorbent material. This can lead to more mold appearing throughout your home.

Mold on upholstered furniture might appear because of combination of high humidity and poorly insulated exterior walls. The lack of condensation leads to mold growth on the furniture.

Other places that commonly get mold are the laundry room and bathrooms. Those areas have high humidity and moisture which is the perfect environment for mold.

Why do you get mold spores in your vehicle?

car seats covered with mold

Mold appears in your car for multiple reasons. One of the most common ones is moisture leak in your car. This bacteria thrives of moisture and humidity, so you need to do car check ups as much as you can to prevent that.

In addition, if you live in a rainy region and keep your windows down, that could also lead to mold stains. If your car gets flooded during a storm, and it doesn't dry out completely within days, mold and mildew will most likely be found all over the car.

If you leave food or spill sweet drinks in your car that can also cause mold spores and musty odors.

Learn more in our special guide of mold smell removal out of car.

Stay away - Black mold

brick wall covered with mold, wall, brickwork

There are a lot of different mold species but the most dangerous one is black mold. Black mold is highly toxic and very dangerous to inhale. It is of blackish green color and thrives in very moist environments. If you have mold in an area that is more than 10 square feet, mostly likely you have black mold.

Unfortunately, this type of mold is not advised to be cleaned by yourself. It is best to hire someone professional to remove mold of this kind.

Best Methods to Kill Mold

There are a lot of different ways that you can get rid of mold. Depending on your budget and you cleaning skills, you can find something that works best for you. Also, try to detect where you have mold and mildew to find the best method of cleaning.

Before starting the cleaning process, make sure that you wear protective gear since most of the cleaning agents that are used for mold removal is toxic.

1. Dish detergent and Chlorine bleach

bleach for mold removal, detergent, laundry

One of the ways to remove mold is with bleach solution. To do this method you should first test it out on small area of your car or your home to make sure it doesn't bleach or damage any material you are applying it on.

Wear protective gear like a face mask and rubber gloves to prevent any contact with skin or your mouth. Bleach is highly toxic and can result in skin irritation or poisoning.

Step 1: Scrub with Dish soap

For the first step, use a cloth dipped in water with a few drops of dish detergent to scrub the area with mildew or mold. This step will loose spores of mold for an easier clean up.

Step 2: Apply Bleach

In a spray bottle, mix chlorine bleach and water, and shake the bottle to mix two solutions. Apply the mixture on the affected area and let the solution sit for 30 minutes. After enough time has passed, scrub the surface with a sponge or a brush to work the bleach in the area.

Step 3: Wipe remaining mold and bleach

After you have completed the process, use a damp cloth to wipe off any chlorine bleach residue on your surface. Bleach has a very strong smell and to prevent it from staying in your car, wipe the rest of it off and open your windows to air out the car. If you used the bleach solution in your home, open the windows to air out the room.

2. Distilled White Vinegar and Baking Soda

powder, baking soda, white

You can also use a very common household item like vinegar to get rid of mold. This is the less toxic solution for cleaning mold and is safe for most materials and surfaces.

Vinegar is great to use to remove mold on fabric materials, car seats, and fabric furniture like couches. This method also works great on wood.

Step 1: Apply Vinegar

To start, mix equal parts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Saturate the affected area with this solution and let it sit for one hour. You can also use undiluted vinegar but the diluted mixture is less harsh on fabric items.

Step 2: Use Baking soda

After at least one hour of soaking, combine one teaspoon of baking soda with water and simply spray it on the moldy area. For this step, use a brush or a sponge to scrub out any remaining mold.

Step 3: Finishing touches

Grab a couple of damp towels and wipe the area from the remaining product. After you have cleaned the area with a wet towel, spray some of the vinegar solution again. This will ensure to stop mold from coming back.

There will be some vinegar smell lingering after cleaning mold, but if you let the area air dry, it will disappear within hours.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide and Professional cleaners

warning, organic, peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is also a very common item to find in your home. Its properties are amazing for removing mold without any harmful chemicals. A combination of hydrogen peroxide and a professional cleaner is sure to help you with your mold problems.

One of the best cleaners to use to kill mold is the RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray. This spray is great to use on wood, walls, drywall, bathtubs, and variety of other surfaces. You can find it at Home Depot, Amazon, or Lowe's.

This cleaner is very strong, so make sure to protect yourself with some gloves and face mask when using it.

Step 1: Apply Peroxide

Grab a 3% hydrogen peroxide and wet the surface with mold. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to let the solution start working.

Step 2: Rinse

Wash the area by using a wet cloth or a sponge. Before proceeding to the next step, make sure most of the peroxide is out.

Step 3: Apply cleaner of your choice

Saturate the molded surface with the chosen cleaner solution and let it sit for as long as the instructions say. Make sure to follow the given instructions of the cleaner so it can properly kill mold.

Step 4: Final rinse

Wash the solution off with a cloth to get rid of remaining mold ands residue. Make sure to air dry the surface to prevent the moisture from leading to even more mold or mildew from appearing.

4. Steam Treatment

steamer for mold cleaning

One of the easiest ways to clean mold is by using a steamer. Steam doesn't have any chemicals and is safe to use on non porous surfaces. With steam you can get rid of mold on surfaces like walls, fabric, wood, tiles, while simultaneously disinfecting those places. Steam's high pressure and high temperature helps to kill mold and mildew without using any strong chemicals. The non-toxic steam is an eco-friendly way of removing mold and mildew from various places!

There are a lot of great steamers on the market but the Fortador Volt Mini is one of the most compact and powerful options. It can not only be used for killing mold, but also to mop the floors, clean the windows, and disinfection.

Another great option is the Bissell SteamShot Hard Surface Steam Cleaner. It is very portable and comes with variety of attachments that can be used for different spaces in your home.

Step 1: Use a vacuum

appliance, clean, vacuum cleaner

To start, use a dry vacuum with hepa filter to vacuum out some of the loose mold. Make sure that all the debris and mold you have vacuumed is sealed in a plastic bag so none of the spores will fall out back onto your surface.

Step 2: Apply Steam

Using the steam gun, apply the steam on affected area with mold and hold it there for three seconds.

Step 3: Wipe with Microfiber towel

microfiber towel

Using a dry microfiber start wiping the area that you applied steam on. Repeat step 1 and 2 a couple of times to make sure that you have cleaned the whole molded area.

Step 4: Apply Vinegar

cleaning vinegar

This is an optional step but after you are done using steam you can apply some vinegar and water mixture on the spots where you had mildew to prevent from more of it coming back. Steam already ensures that none of the mold comes back due to its disinfecting properties, but this step is just an extra safety.

How to Get Rid of Mold Smell

adult, beauty, face

Even after thoroughly cleaning mold and mildew you might still have a lingering smell of it. Since mold is a fungus, it eats into any material it molds producing a nasty odor.

The first step to getting rid of the smell is cleaning the mold with methods listed above. You need to deal with the root of the problem to proceed fixing the smell.

There are a couple of things you can use to help with the smell. The Lysol Mold & Mildew Remover can be used to clean the mol as well as to remove the smell. It is very effective for both purposes and can be found at many stores like Target.

Another option is an ozone machine. It is very easy to use and is sold on amazon. All you need to do is make sure that the area that had mold has all the windows closed and has a working ozone machine turned on for an hour or more. The longer you leave the ozone machine in, the better it will work.

Learn more about mold removal out of car, detailed guide with videos.

How to Prevent Mold Growth

car, vehicle, sports car

To prevent mold growth you should always try to keep your car dry. Whenever it rains, make sure to put your windows up so none of the rain gets in the car to cause mold. Also, if there's a heavy rainstorm try to park somewhere that doesn't get flooded with water that can get into your car.

In addition, restrain yourself from eating in the car. The food that falls between your seats leads to bacteria build up and then mold. If you spill a sugary drink make sure to clean that up right away to prevent mold and mildew from growing in that spot.

Also, clean your car at least once a week. If you always keep your vehicle tidy, it is much harder for any bacteria to develop.

kitchen, home, interior

To prevent mold growth in your home, add vinegar into you cleaning routine. Keep a spray bottle of it and use it when cleaning your furniture and bathroom.

Make sure that your home is always thoroughly ventilated and keep the moisture levels to a minimum. Mold thrives of off poorly ventilated places that are very humid and moist.

In addition, take extra good care of any wood furniture and fabric. Wood molds very easily and it spreads throughout the whole material very fast. If you noticed that most of you wooden furniture is covered in mold, it is best to throw it out as to not spread it even more around your house.

Mildew and mold are one of the hardest things to clean from any materials. This fungus clings to fabric and other materials and produces a disgusting odor. It is hard to find where you have mold in a big house but the tips from this article will surely help you detect this problem in any area you may have molding.

girl, goggles, mop

With the help of this article you can get kill the mold from any surface infested with mildew. If you do not have access to any of the fancy cleaners, a home remedy will do just as well to remove mold. Frequent clean ups and ventilation of your area is also the key to keeping your space from getting more mildew in the future. With the tips from this article, you are sure to be left with a mold and mildew free home or car.

About the Authors

Kristina Tretyakova
Distinguished as a South Florida Top-10 student in 2021. Studying Marketing and Business Administration at FIU. Proficient in daily operations and skilled in cleaning, auto detailing and copywriting.
Olga Drążewska
With a decade of experience in export operations and logistics, I bring a wealth of expertise to the field. I've navigated the complexities of logistics with precision, ensuring smooth operations and seamless exports. Cleaning expert.

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