How to Clean Mold & Mildew Off Windows & Walls
Mold on windows and walls, or anywhere in your house, is a problem. It looks bad. It smalls terrible. And it can cause health problems. People exposed to mold can suffer eye, skin, nose, throat and lung irritation; it may also trigger asthma attacks. Mold spores grow in places where moisture is available. When you have a mold problem in your home you must not only remove the mold itself but also fix the moisture problem or the mold will just grow back.
Put on protective clothing to limit your exposure to mold and to avoid breathing in mold or mold spores. The EPA recommends an N-95 respirator. The respirator must fit properly to work, so follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. EPA also recommends wearing household rubber gloves that go halfway up your arm. Wear goggles that do not have ventilation holes to keep mold and mold spores out of your eyes.
Make a solution of warm water and a detergent such as laundry detergent in a 5-gallon bucket. Use 1 tablespoon of regular-strength (not HE or high-efficiency) laundry detergent and 3 gallons of water. Scrub the moldy walls and window with the solution and a stiff brush or abrasive cleaning pad. When you have removed all the mold, dry the window and walls thoroughly with a towel or rags. If your doors or your door or window frames are made of wood, use wood floor cleaner instead of detergent.
Use a biocide such as chlorine bleach diluted with water in equal parts if the detergent solution does not get rid of the mold. If you are using bleach or another strong chemical, EPA recommends wearing gloves made of natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane or PVC.
Check the windows and walls periodically for signs that the mold has come back. If it does reappear, find and repair the source of moisture and clean up the mold again. If the mold reappears on walls that have wallpaper on them, you will probably need to remove the wallpaper. It is often impossible to remove mold from porous materials.
Seal in plastic bags and discard any tools you used that you cannot clean thoroughly. Wash your clothes normally usually a laundry detergent but keep the clothes separate from other laundry and sealed in a plastic bag until you wash them.
Things You Will Need
- N-95 respirator
- Rubber gloves
- 5-gallon bucket
- Stiff brush
- Abrasive cleaning pads
- Towels or rages
- Chlorine bleach or other biocide
- Plastic bags
- Never mix ammonia and bleach. Together they give off dangerous fumes.
- Painted walls can be cleaned as described, unless the mold has gotten into the drywall. In this case, call a professional. You may have to replace the drywall.
- EPA: A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home: What to Wear When Cleaning Moldy Areas
- EPA: A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home: Mold Basics
- EPA: A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home: Mold Cleanup
- EPA: Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, Table 2: Guidelines for Remediating Building Materials with Mold Growth Caused by Clean Water
- Washington State Department of Health: Got Mold?
- Family Handyman: How to Remove Mold