How to Fix Mold Caused by a Leaking Water Heater

Not only can mold ruin the cabinetry around your water heater, it can also cause health problems if it's allowed to remain in your home. To keep the mold away, you must repair the leak in your water heater, but after you do, it's important to know how to get rid of the mold.

Keep your home healthy by removing mold.
  1. Remove any standing water by wiping it away with a dry towel.
  2. Mix one part bleach with three parts water in a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the mold with the bleach mixture, saturating it thoroughly.
  4. Scrub the mold away using a scrub brush.
  5. Wipe away any remaining mold with a damp cloth.
  6. Spray the area again with the bleach mixture and wipe with a rag to be sure any remaining traces of the mold are removed.
  7. Wait for the area to dry thoroughly. Leave the door that encloses the water heater open and direct a fan at it to help it dry. Do not proceed to Step 8 until the area is completely dry.
  8. Tape off any areas around the water heater that you don't want to paint.
  9. Lay out old newspapers or a drop cloth in your work area.
  10. Open a can of paint and stir it well with a disposable stir stick.
  11. Paint the area where the mold occurred.
  12. Wait for the paint to dry completely before closing the doors to the water heater.

Things You Will Need

  • Scrub brush
  • Old towels or rags
  • Fan
  • Bleach
  • Spray bottle
  • Paint brush
  • Mildew-resistant paint
  • Old newspapers or drop cloth
  • Painter's tape (optional)
  • Paint stir stick


  • If the leak is not completely fixed, remove the mold using the bleach solution and try to keep the area as dry as possible, frequently mopping up the water or directing it into a plastic container, until the leak can be repaired.


  • Don't paint over any screws, pipes or faucet handles. You may need to remove them later.

Photo Credits

  • Brandon Blinkenberg