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How to Get Rid of Black Mold

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Find the Moisture Source
Exposed pipes on a ceiling

Black mold removal is important. But first, one must identify that it is black mold. First, look at the color, followed by the smell. Black mold is black or even dark grey in color, and often smells wet and musty, as it usually grows in areas with a lot of moisture. Black mold is also usually noticeable in the home if you experience a burning or scratching sensation in your throat or lungs. Black mold is dangerous, and can greatly affect your health if left untreated, so it's important to remove it as soon as you're aware of it.

Before you can begin any black mold treatment, you’ll need to perform a black mold test and find the source. It’s often the result of excess moisture in a particular area. You’re most likely to find black mold in areas of your home that you don’t visit as often like the basement, but it can pop up anywhere. Here are a few common moisture sources to look for:

  • Faucets and fixtures. Sink, shower and bathtub faucets and fixtures that are leaking can lead to the growth of black mold over time.
  • Exposed plumbing. Damaged or leaking pipes, especially in warmer temperatures, can often create black mold in areas like basements.
  • Water heaters. A small leak can create black mold in your basement or water heater closet.
Protect Yourself
Safety tools recommended for removing black mold

All DIY building and home repair projects require proper clothing and equipment. Dealing with black mold is especially dangerous, so make sure you protect yourself from black mold exposure before you begin. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wear a respirator rated to protect you against spores that can lead to black mold poisoning. 
  • Wear clothing that will cover your skin. A long-sleeved shirt and long pants are essential.
  • Protect eyes with safety goggles and your hands with rubber gloves. Discard your gloves and get a new pair when you take a break or finish your work.
Prepare the Area
A man preparing the settings on a moisture meter

Once you’re wearing protective clothing, you can begin to prepare the area for cleaning. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Turn off your air conditioning or heater. You want to avoid moving air throughout your home while you’re removing black mold.
  • Seal doorways or areas that lead to the rest of your home with heavy a tarp and painter’s tape. This will keep the mold spores from traveling through your home. 
  • Use an exhaust fan near outdoor openings. An exhaust fan will help move airborne spores out of your home.
Test the Area for Moisture
A person holding a moisture meter against a wall
  • Check the area for moisture using a moisture meter. Avoid touching black mold. 
  • If there is no moisture in the area, spray it with water. This helps keep black mold spores from becoming airborne.
Treat the Area
A person scrubbing mold off a wall
  • For a natural solution for getting rid of black mold, combine one part baking soda with five parts distilled white vinegar and five parts water in a spray bottle. 
  • Alternatively, you can use a chemical-based mold and mildew remover, all-purpose cleaners, bleach or dish soap.
  • Spray the black mold and let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes to one hour.
  • Scrub the area with the black mold using a sponge and the solution of your choice. 
  • Let it dry and repeat the process as needed to ensure that you’ve removed the mold.

Safety Note: Always read the manufacturer instructions before using mold and mildew removers.

Clean Up the Area
A group of people cleaning a room
  • Clean up the area and remove any debris that may contain black mold. 
  • Thoroughly clean the room that contained black mold before unsealing your doorways. 
  • Leave the exhaust fan on for a few hours to a full day before removing it. 
  • In order to prevent black mold from returning, remember to control the moisture in your home, regularly clean and disinfect areas prone to wetness, always repair leaks in a timely fashion, dry wet items prior to storing them and monitor airflow.

If you're looking for more ways of getting rid of black mold, The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them. You can also rent restoration and remediation tools like mold removal foggers and air scrubbers from your local Home Depot.