How To Clean Black Mold

Mold growth can occur when excess moisture or water accumulates indoors. Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, is a greenish-black mold that grows on materials with high cellulose content like drywall, carpet, wood, and fiberglass insulation if moisture issues are not addressed quickly. Breathing in mold spores can cause allergic reactions and other health issues for some people. That’s why it’s important to know how to properly clean black mold if discovered in your home. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through the step-by-step process to effectively clean black mold.

Assessing the Black Mold Growth

When black mold is spotted, the first step is to assess the extent of the growth to determine if you can handle the cleaning on your own or professional help is needed. Key things to check – size of the black mold colonies, likely moisture source allowing mold to grow, and what materials have been impacted. Small areas of black mold less than 10 square feet on non-porous surfaces like glass, metal, tiles, plastic, and sealed wood may be DIYable if the moisture issue can be addressed. Larger colonies or growth on drywall, carpets, insulation, and other porous materials likely requires professional mold remediation.

Safety Precautions

Before starting any black mold cleaning, it is essential to take safety precautions to avoid breathing in mold spores or having them spread. Precautions include:

  • Wear protective gear – N95 respirator mask, goggles, gloves, protective clothing that covers skin completely.
  • Isolate the impacted area by sealing vents, doors with plastic sheeting to prevent spore spread.
  • Turn off any central HVAC systems likewise to contain spores.
  • Work areas should be well-ventilated. Open windows and use exhaust fans.
  • Discard any porous materials with mold that cannot be cleaned. double-bag items before removing to prevent spore release.

Cleaning Process

With precautions in place, now we can cover the cleaning process. We will go through steps for small DIYable mold growth under 10 square feet as well as the overall remediation process for professional mold removal on larger growths or from porous building materials.

DIY Mold Cleaning

For small black mold growth on non-porous surfaces, follow these steps:

  1. Mix water and detergent – Use a mild natural detergent like castile soap in warm water.
  2. Scrub mold off surfaces – Using stiff brush or abrasive pad, scrub the mold to remove as much as possible from the impacted surface.
  3. Allow surface to dry completely.
  4. Disinfect the Surface – Apply disinfectant such as concrobium or beneficial bacteria spray to kill remaining mold and spores.
  5. Fix Moisture Source – Critical final step is addressing what is allowing moisture accumulation so mold does not return. This may require repairs like leaky pipe fixes, venting issue corrections, or dehumidifier installation.

Professional Black Mold Remediation

For large growths, porous material impact, or challenging moisture issues, professional mold remediation is best. Trained specialists have the expertise, equipment, and materials to properly clean black mold including:

  1. Inspection & containment planning – Survey of impact and plan to isolate areas to clean.
  2. Material removal & surface cleaning – HEPA vacuum, sealants & chemical applications to surfaces to kill mold.
  3. Structural drying equipment – Desiccant dehumidifiers, air scrubbers to dry out impacted structural materials.
  4. Apply antimicrobial coatings – Special paints or barrier sprays to treated areas to resist mold regrowth.
  5. Moisture mitigation fixes – Resolve all moisture intrusion issues.
  6. Verify removal success – Post remediation checks that mold has been successfully removed.
  7. Waste disposal – Proper handling of mold contaminated project waste.


Can I Remove Black Mold Myself?

Yes, you can remove black mold yourself, if it is a small area less than 10 square feet on non-porous surfaces like glass, metal, tiles, plastic, and sealed wood and you can address the moisture source.

Is It Safe To Wash Black Mold?

Washing black mold is safe, if proper safety precautions are taken like wearing an N95 mask, goggles, gloves and containing the area. Scrubbing with detergent can remove mold from non-porous surfaces.

What Is The Best Way To Clean Black Mold?

The best way to clean black mold is to use professional mold remediation for large infestations, growths on porous materials, or challenging moisture issues leading to regrowth. They have the expertise and equipment to fully eliminate it.

Is Bleach Or Vinegar Better To Kill Mold?

Vinegar is better than bleach to kill mold because bleach cannot fully penetrate porous materials to remove mold roots. Vinegar also does not produce dangerous fumes like bleach mixes.

Can Black Mold Make You Sick?

Yes, breathing in black mold spores can make you sick causing allergic reactions or respiratory problems for some people with mold sensitivities or compromised immune systems.

Are All Black Molds Toxic?

No, all black molds are not toxic. Stachybotrys chartarum species produces mycotoxins making it toxic. Other black mold types like Cladosporium are allergenic but not toxic.

What Happens If You Clean Mold Without A Mask?

If you clean mold without a mask, you risk breathing in mold spores leading to allergic reactions or other health issues especially for those with sensitivities.

Is It Safe To Sleep In A House With Black Mold?

No, it is not safe to sleep in a house with black mold. Toxic black mold spores can be breathed in overnight leading to health issues. Remediation or professional cleaning is advised first.


Learning how to effectively clean black mold takes understanding the proper safety steps, assessments, containment techniques, mold killing applications, moisture control, and verification. With small DIY-able growths, homeowners can use the surface cleaning process outlined. But for larger infestations or challenging moisture situations leading to regrowth, professional mold remediation may be best to fully eliminate black mold problems. Addressing the mold promptly and completely ensures your family stays healthy in your home.

For professional mold remediation, contact Southeast Water Restoration, 24/7!