The first time you find mold hiding in a dark, damp space can be harrowing. You know how harmful it can be to your health. And you’re painfully aware of how much mold remediation could cost. But, don’t panic. You may be able to remove the fungus on your own.
In most cases, all you’ll need is some protective gear and the best mold remover for the affected surface. Whether it’s under a kitchen sink, along a bathroom wall, or even on your home’s exterior, you might be able to tackle the job yourself.
- BEST OVERALL: RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Concrobium Mold Control Household Cleaners
- BEST FOR SHOWER: Wet & Forget Shower Cleaner
- BEST FOR CONCRETE: 30 SECONDS Cleaners 6430S 3PA
- BEST FOR VINYL SIDING: MOLD ARMOR CLEANER
- BEST FOR CARPET: RMR-141 Disinfectant Spray Cleaner
- BEST FOR WALLS: Professional Disinfecting Mildew, Virus & Mold Killer
- BEST FOR OUTDOOR: Oxy Solve Total Outdoor Pressure Washer Cleaner
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Mold Remover
Before you don your rubber gloves and spray down a gross, moldy surface, keep in mind that the best mold remover and the best technique depends on the type of material the mold is attached to.
Location of Mold
Some molds are easier to tackle than others. If mold ends up on fabrics like curtains, for example, you can usually throw them in a washing machine with the proper mold remover. But, if the mold is under a kitchen cabinet, the job can be more difficult to remedy.
Mold grows on and eats away at organic surfaces. If it has access to drywall, like behind a sink cabinet, it can feed on the paper face and do a lot of damage. It could even require more time or labor such as removing the cabinets, drywall, and insulation, and treating the mold in the cavity behind it.
In other cases, like on your home’s siding, some old-fashioned elbow grease might be all you need. You can simply spray the siding with a mold remover and brush it clean.
It doesn’t always matter what kind of mold you have in your home. Most mold removers are effective at removing any of the common types. But, some molds are more dangerous than others and could require professional intervention.
Black mold in particular can be a serious problem. Stachybotrys, its official name, is especially harmful to the respiratory system. It typically requires a consistent moisture source to grow. From there, it can spread quickly. You may recognize it by its mildew-like odor or its slimy texture. If you’re dealing with black mold, it might be a good idea to call in the pros.
The amount of time it takes the best mold removers to do their job can vary from one product to the next. With some, you apply the treatment once and leave it. Others require that you reapply after 15 minutes. Either way, once you apply the mold killer, it goes to work killing the fungus before you scrub it or wipe it away.
In the case of a soapy detergent, you might not let the solution sit at all before getting down to business. These detergents require brushing to loosen the mold and allow the mold killer to soak into the surface.
There are a few ways to apply a mold killer. Choosing the right method for your particular mold problem can make all the difference. Some products come in spray bottles. They’re great for smaller mold invasions that don’t require multiple applications or treatments.
Other mold killers come in concentrates that you mix in a separate container. This allows you to adjust the strength between applications. You can apply these with a brush, a sponge, or a mop. You can also pour the solution into a spray bottle.
Other products, meant for outdoor use, attach to the end of a garden hose. These mold killers mix with the water stream to produce a high-volume spray to hit surfaces such as driveways, decks, or siding.
Ease of Use
Mold’s a nasty substance, and remediation can be challenging. But, you can at least choose a product that’s easy to use. Typically, the easiest-to-use products are spray solutions. You simply point the bottle at the problem and shoot.
If you’re treating the exterior of your house, it’s a lot easier to use a hose attachment that pumps the solution through your hose’s stream. You can cover a larger area in less time than you would with a spray bottle.
Your particular mold problem might be best-suited to the products that you can spray and walk away from. This can be a huge advantage in tight areas like sink cabinets or behind toilets.
Our Top Picks
Now that you know what to consider in a mold remover, you’re ready to tackle the problem. Below is a list of the best mold removers that you can use in or on your home to kill the fungus and get back to a happier, healthier home.
But, beware: None of these mold killers will work for long if you don’t address the problem that brought on the mold. Even if you remove the affected material, mold can grow back in as little as two days if the moisture source is still present.
RMR-86 starts working immediately. It can remove most mold stains in 15 minutes. Simply cover the affected area with spray and let it sit. No scrubbing required. This spray should also take care of the damp, moldy smell so your space will smell fresh again. RMR-86 is safe to use on most surfaces, including drywall, vinyl siding, concrete, brick, and kitchen and bathroom tiles. This product is available in a 32-ounce spray bottle.
- Removes mold quickly
- No scrubbing needed
- Safe for most surfaces
- Strong odor
- Relatively short shelf life
Wood is porous and can make an excellent breeding ground for some types of molds. Concrobium Mold Control Household Cleaners can handle your wood mold problem in as little as one application. It crushes and suffocates the mold and prevents it from coming back. And it does the job without ammonia or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). You’ll still want to wear a mask when you use it, but the fumes won’t be as strong. Just fill a spray bottle from the 1-gallon jug and spray a thin, even layer on the moldy wood. Then let the product work its way into the surface. Once it dries completely, you can either reapply or wipe it clean. This product is also suitable for use on a wide range of surfaces including tile and stone, and no rinsing is required.
For challenging stains, a light sanding may be in order.
- 1 gallon size
- Great for wood, tile, and stone
- No ammonia
- Easy to apply
- May require sanding for tough stains
Not all household mold issues involve basements and drywall. Mold can grow in your shower, too. Wet & Forget Shower Cleaner kills bathroom mold and mildew and keeps it from coming back. Coat your shower in Wet & Forget once a week and let it handle mold on your shower walls, soap dishes, glass doors, and other surfaces that see constant moisture. The 1/2-gallon jug is enough to keep a bathroom mold-free for up to 12 weeks. To use Wet & Forget, spray the surfaces and allow them to dry before rinsing the entire shower clean the next day.
- Prevents soap scum build up
- No dyes or harmful fumes
- Simple spray and rinse application
Spray bottles and long concrete driveways don’t mix. That’s why this type of mold situation requires the Outdoor Cleaner hose-end sprayer from 30 Seconds to make the job faster. To use, attach the bottle to the end of your garden hose, and spray the entire driveway or patio. Then, just wait a few minutes before you hose it off again with plain water. There’s no need to scrub or to use a pressure washer machine. You can use 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner on concrete walks and driveways, fences, outdoor furniture, and siding. When used as directed, the manufacturer says this product is safe to use around grass or plants.
- Fast application
- Easy hose attachment
- Safe around grass and plants
- May require several bottles for large coverage
The side of your home that gets the least sunlight may be prone to nasty molds and mildews. Mold Armor Cleaner takes care of those ugly stains. This two-pack of 1-gallon jugs works on vinyl, aluminum, wood siding, brick, stucco, concrete, decks, and fences. Fill a spray bottle or tank sprayer with the solution and cover the affected surface. For tougher stains, you can mix the wash in a bucket and apply it with a sponge, brush, or paint roller.
- Works on a variety of materials
- Can be sprayed or scrubbed on
- Great for heavy stains
- Bleach chemical can stain clothes
Mold can be a challenge to kill and remove from carpet. RMR-141 Disinfectant Spray Cleaner is a great solution for these challenging molds. It gets the job done without bleach or ammonia, so it won’t discolor your carpet. This product kills viruses and bacteria, too. Spray the stained area and about 6 inches around it on all sides, and allow it to dry. It will kill the mold and remove the odor, though the stain may remain. If that’s the case, you may need to use a regular carpet-safe stain remover (available here) to remove it.
- Ideal for spot cleaning
- Kills bacteria
- Removes mold odor
- May require multiple applications
Moldy walls can be a lot to handle. You need a product that will take care of it quickly and easily. Total Solutions Lemocide Mildew, Virus, and Mold Killer is just that product. This commercial-grade product cleans and disinfects hard surfaces, including walls. It comes in 1-gallon jugs of concentrate that you mix with water to create a sprayable solution. To use, simply spray it on and let it dry. In most cases, this mildew, virus, and mold killer is powerful enough to eliminate the mold without any scrubbing on your part.
- Long-lasting solution
- No scrubbing required
- Versatile application
- Commercial-grade strength
- Very strong color and odor
Simple Green’s Oxy Solve Total Outdoor Pressure Washer Cleaner removes stubborn molds with the help of your pressure washer. This product uses peroxide to kill mold and lift stains. It works on wood, composites, vinyl, metal, fabrics, plastic, wicker, concrete, stone, brick, and asphalt. It can tackle just about any outdoor job you throw at it. Since it’s 100 percent biodegradable, it’s safe on your boat or dock and near your lawn and garden. This 1-gallon concentrate will last through numerous outdoor cleaning projects.
- Works on multiple surfaces
- Fully biodegradable
- Safe around the garden
- Requires a pressure washer for best results
For an effective mold cleaner that is easy to apply and requires minimal elbow grease, consider the RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover Spray, which comes in a handy spray bottle.
How We Chose the Best Mold Removers
Our list of recommendations covers the vast range of products used to tackle mold problems in a variety of situations. We made sure to include options for all types of mold and surfaces to offer shoppers the best products in their respective categories.
When gathering our top picks for this list, we looked at cleaning time to make sure to provide a selection of products ranging from fast-acting chemicals that were easy to apply and required little to no scrubbing, all the way up to more powerful and involved solutions for very stubborn stains.
While many mold removers contain harmful chemicals to get the job done effectively, we also took care to include more environmentally friendly options for those with pets or young children—or even delicate gardens—so that a mold problem can also be solved with a gentler solution that won’t damage the health of the plants, animals, or people around the treated area.
If you still have questions about the best mold removers, that’s okay. There’s a lot to know. The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If you don’t find your answer here, contact the manufacturer.
Q. What does mold smell like?
Many molds are odorless. Black mold, on the other hand, has a damp, earthy, mildew-like smell, similar to soil.
Q. What does black mold look like?
Black mold has a spotty appearance and is usually greenish-black in color, though it can often look brown or gray.
Q. Does mold come back after cleaning?
If you don’t stop the source of the moisture, mold will most definitely return. Also, if you simply bleach the surface of a material like drywall, you won’t remove the roots of the mold that are deep inside. The mold may rebloom within a day or two.
Q. What are the effects of mold?
Mold has a variety of effects on your home and your health. It can turn surfaces like wood and drywall into dust. It can also cause respiratory problems, cold-like symptoms, eye irritation, and skin irritation.