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Mold can be pernicious and invasive—in other words, harmful and very hard to get rid of. Finding an effective mold remover, though, helps you tackle the issue in a timely manner so it doesn't become a continuing hazard to you and your family's health. As soon as you find mold, remove it with one of these products that targets growing spores and the stains they can leave behind. Some products require putting in elbow grease after application, while others are spray-it-and-forget-it formulas.
All will be an effective sidekick in your fight against mold, but cleaners should be used in areas where mold is affecting a smaller surface, like a bathroom counter, where moisture has collected. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, any messes that are less than 10 square feet can usually be handled without the help of a professional. However, it's important to call in a professional if you don't know how to properly remove mold, there's been a lot of water damage, your HVAC system has been affected, or contaminated water is involved.
In addition, anyone with health concerns, such as asthma or a chronic lung disease, should rely on a professional's help. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stresses that there's no acceptable amount of any type of mold. Removing the substance correctly and efficiently is key. Part of that removal process can be finding the right, EPA-registered mold remover to disinfect the space.
Whether your mold problem is inside or outside the home, here are the top mold removers.
Best Overall: RMR Brands RMR-141 Disinfectant and Cleaner
Stop mold and mildew growth with a powerful, effective formula like RMR-141 RTU. This is an EPA-registered mildew spray, which means it's a chemical agent that is capable of inhibiting the growth of mildew. It has been proven effective against 141 different microorganisms and will kill mold, mildew, bacteria, and more. Its claim to fame is its ability to clean, disinfect, and deodorize non-porous surfaces.
One thing to keep in mind is that this mold remover is designed specifically to kill mold and mildew fungus that may be growing on porous surfaces. However, it is not a mold stain remover. If months or years of mold and mildew build-up have left behind black or green staining you may need to use a separate product to remove the discoloration.
Best Preventative: Mold Armor Rapid Clean Remediation
This EPA-registered mold remover doesn’t just single-handedly eliminate mold and mildew, it also inhibits the growth of new spores. MoldArmor Rapid Clean Remediation is a mold preventative that’s safe for use on a long list of non-porous surfaces, including laminate, sealed fiberglass, acrylic, glass, sealed grout, glazed ceramic, sealed granite, vinyl, and more. This makes it a great defense in damp or humid areas of the home, such as the bathroom, laundry room, or a screened porch. It’s safe for both outdoor and indoor use, but be sure that you have adequate ventilation since the fumes of this mold preventative can be powerful.
The formula is a one-step sanitizer, disinfectant, and mold and mildew remover. Just spray it on the surface that needs to be treated, follow the directions for wait time depending on your application use, and then rinse or wipe it away. This makes it super easy to deal with your existing mold and mildew problems, while reducing future growth.
Best Natural: Benefect Botanical Decon 30 Disinfectant Cleaner
For a more natural approach to removing mold and mildew that doesn’t require strong chemicals, consider the plant-based Botanical Decon Disinfectant from Benefect. Some mold removers contain strong chemical agents that call for you to wear PPE (like eye protection or gloves) and produce strong fumes that require ventilation. On the other hand, Botanical Decon is a more gentle formula that has no chemicals, dyes, or health warnings. It requires no rinsing and is safe for contact with skin, food surfaces, and more.
At the same time, this product proves effective in the war against mold and mildew. It’s registered with the EPA as a mildewstat and fungicidal product, and also kills bacteria and viruses. The proprietary formula uses Thymol, derived from the essential oil of Thyme, to produce results. In addition, Benefect incorporates chemistry techniques to create a long-lasting surfactant system that assists in preventing the growth of mold and mildew.
Best for Wood: Wet and Forget Moss, Mold, Mildew, and Algae Stain Remover
Naturally porous, wood—an organic material—makes a natural host for substances like mold and mildew. However, the discoloration and rot that they cause can bring serious headaches for homeowners. Treat exposed wood surfaces, such as deck material, fences, and outdoor furniture, with Wet and Forget Mold Remover, which is EPA-registered.
This slow-release product penetrates the porous surface of wood and begins to treat the existing mold and mildew problems. It doesn’t require any scrubbing or rinsing and contains no bleach or caustic materials. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see instant results when you apply this mold remover to wooden surfaces around your home; the formula requires extended treatment time and it can take several days or more to note a visible difference. In addition, each time it rains, the product is reactivated and continues to reduce mold or mildew over time.
Once mold or mildew has been eradicated, you can use Wet and Forget to preserve the look of your wood over time. If you see mold or mildew reappear, simply reapply the product to continue to ward off its growth.
Best for Fabrics: Concrobium Mold Control Aerosol
Mold can easily grab hold of fabrics, resulting in odor, discoloration, and staining. This is especially true of fabrics in damp, humid environments—like on outdoor furniture for the patio or pool. Concrobium Mold Control Aerosol offers an easy, effective way to apply mold remover to fabric surfaces like furniture, cushions, curtains, and more.
An effective formula is combined with an aerosol applicator for a fine mist that covers the surface area evenly. There's no over-saturation when applied, according to the directions. You don’t need to rub or scrub it in. Instead, as it dries, the product kills mold at the roots. This EPA-registered product contains no bleach, making it a good choice for treating fabrics and other soft materials.
Best for Bathrooms: Microban 24 Hour Bathroom and Sanitizing Cleaner, Citrus, 32 fl oz
It’s no secret that the moist, damp conditions of the bathroom make it an ideal host for the growth of mold and mildew. However, you can win the war against mold in the bathroom with the help of a targeted formula, like Microban 24 Bathroom Cleaner. A force to be reckoned with when dealing with soap scum, this bathroom cleaner will make hard surfaces shine while also destroying harmful microorganisms.
Proven effective against Aspergillus niger, this mold remover also serves to clean and disinfect surfaces—making it a one-step solution for keeping your bathroom free of fungus, bacteria, and viruses. After deep cleaning any surfaces currently affected by mold or mild, apply the EPA-registered Microban 24 every seven days to prevent future mold growth.
For a powerful defense against mold and microorganisms, our top pick is RMR Brands RMR-141 Disinfectant (view at Amazon). This mold remover is EPA-registered and can clean and disinfect surfaces on contact. However, if you're looking for something that's more natural, opt for the Benefect Botanical Decon 30 Disinfectant Cleaner (view at Home Depot). The gentle formula doesn't contain chemicals, dyes, or health warnings, and it's safe for contact with skin, food surfaces, and more.
What to Look For in a Mold Remover
There are two primary types of formulas for treating mold and mildew. Look for these terms to understand what the product can do in treating your mold problem.
- Fungicide: Kills mold or mildew systems at the roots
- Mildewstat: Prevents the regrowth of mold and mildew spores
It’s worth noting that many products are a combination of these two mold remover types, which is what most homeowners will want to effectively solve the problem for good.
One way to determine a product’s effectiveness is to check that it is EPA-registered (you can search for the product on the site). The bottle or container should also be marked with an EPA registration number as proof that it has been tested and registered with the EPA as a fungicide or mildewstat.
Many products work quickly to kill mold, with some fast-acting formulas requiring just one minute of treatment time. Others require up to 15 minutes or more. Whether or not the mold returns depends on how well you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, whether or not the product includes treatment to prevent future mold growth, and whether or not you take steps to prevent future moisture or humidity problems in damp areas, such as basements.
Removing mold or mildew may sound like a tough task, but choosing the right product can make application easier. For indoor applications, many mold removers come in spray bottles that give thorough, uniform coverage—even in hard-to-reach areas. Take note of whether or not the product you choose requires scrubbing after application. In overhead areas, like above a shower, this could be more challenging and you may find it easier to look for a product that requires no elbow grease.
Outdoor mold or mildew may require a more concentrated product that can be diluted to cover many square feet of siding, decking, or other materials. Some outdoor mold removers come in bottles that are ready to be attached to your garden hose for faster, even application.
How do mold removers work?
Products designed to get rid of mold work by killing the spore (or root) of the mold. After you apply the product, most formulas require you to wait at least 15 minutes. During this period, the product is destroying mold spores at the roots while cleaning and disinfecting the treated surface. Most mold removers also work to prevent future mold growth by leaving behind an antimicrobial coating.
Are mold removers safe?
When used according to manufacturer directions, mold removers are safe for homeowner use. However, it’s important to take note of any directions for ventilation or personal protective equipment, such as wearing a mask while using mold remover. You should also follow any directions to wear gloves to prevent skin irritation when applying the product.
When should I call a professional?
While all types of mold removal should be handled with appropriate safety measures, some types of mold—particularly ‘black mold’ (known as Stachybotrys chartarum)—may require professional remediation. This slimy green-black mold typically grows on porous materials like drywall, gypsum board, or wood. Its spores are particularly easy to inhale and can cause respiratory problems and illness.
You might also consider mold remediation services if your efforts to clean and remove the mold aren’t successful or the problem quickly reappears. A professional can help to identify the type of mold you’re dealing with and formulate a treatment plan to prevent the re-growth of the mold.
Why Trust The Spruce?
With experience researching the latest solutions in home organization and cleaning for The Spruce, Erica Puisis is well-versed in the brands and products that make a difference in your home. Having tackled her own fair share of trouble spots and mildew issues around the house, she's always on the lookout for safe, effective products that make it quicker and easier to maintain a clean and safe environment.