Mold clean up tips

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The following clean up tips are provided by the Washington State Department of Health 

Size the Moldy Area

Decide if you have a large or small area of mold. A small area is less than about ten square feet, or a patch three feet by three feet square. To clean a small area, follow the advice below. You may use a cotton face mask for protection.

If you have a lot of mold damage (more than ten square feet) consider hiring a cleaning professional. If the moldy area has been contaminated by sewage or is in hidden places, hire a professional. To find a professional, check under "Fire and Water Damage Restoration" in your Yellow Pages. If you decide to clean up on your own, follow the guidance below.

Use Protection

Wear goggles, gloves, and breathing protection while working in the area. For large consolidated areas of mold growth, you should wear an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approved particle mask.

Seal the Area

Seal off area from the rest of your home. Cover heat registers or ventilation ducts/grills. Open a window before you start to clean up.

Remove Items

Remove all your furnishings to a mold-free area. Clean the surrounding moldy area then follow cleaning directions below for the items you removed and the new space.

Bag Moldy Trash

Bag all moldy materials and tie off the top of the bag. Bring them outdoors and place in your garbage container right away.

Scrub Surfaces

  • First wash with a mild detergent solution, such as laundry detergent and warm water. Allow to dry.
  • (Optional step) Then wipe with a solution of 1/4 cup bleach to one gallon of water. Wait 20 minutes and repeat. Wait another 20 minutes.
  • Last apply a borate-based detergent solution and don't rinse. This will help prevent mold from growing again. A borate-based laundry or dish washer detergent has "borate" listed on the ingredients label.

Clean and Wash

Give the entire area a good cleaning, vacuum floors, and wash any exposed bedding or clothing.


Check regularly to make sure mold has not returned to the clean-up area.

What cleans moldy furniture and other items?

  • For wood, metal, plastic, glass, ceramics, and other objects that don't absorb water but are washable โ€“ wipe them with a solution of lukewarm water and laundry detergent.
  • For clothes, bedding, and other materials that absorb water and are washable โ€“ wash them in the laundry.
  • For beds, sofas, and other furniture that absorb water but are not washable โ€“ these items may need to be discarded. Or, try to save them by vacuuming well and allowing to air out. If there is no odor it may be okay. Mold can come back, so watch for any mold growth or mold related health problems. Discard the item if you suspect mold is growing inside or outside the item.

Should I paint over mold?

No. Don't paint or caulk over mold. The mold will grow under the paint and the paint will peel.