Mold is pernicious and invasive—in other words, it's harmful and tough to eradicate. A mold remover can be helpful in eliminating mold from surfaces like showers, but you should expect to use some elbow grease. "Any mold remover is supposed to help separate [the] mold from a surface so that you can remove it," says Michael Rubino, author of The Mold Medic and founder of HomeCleanse. "That is the only way to utilize these products. Anything that’s designed as spray and stay or set and forget isn't going to work as intended."
Rubino advises that it's best to thoroughly clean your home after applying a mold-removing product in order to eradicate any residual mold spores or particles that may have spread through your home's dust. You should also keep in mind that in order to eliminate mold, you also need to identify and stop the source of the moisture—otherwise, the mold will come back. Rubino says, "if we remove [the mold], we’re actually going to keep it away as long as we repair the conditions that allowed it to grow in the first place." With Rubino's guidance in mind, we researched dozens of mold removers, evaluating their effectiveness, formula type, and ease of use.
RMR Brands RMR-141 Disinfectant and Cleaner
Kills 141+ microorganisms
Does not remove stains
RMR-141 Disinfectant and Cleaner is our top pick because it works on nearly any surface, making it an excellent product for the price. It's easy to stop mold and mildew growth with this powerful, effective formula that comes in spray bottle or jug form. Spray and scrub the affected area for an effective deep clean.
This is an EPA-registered mildew spray, which means it's a chemical agent capable of inhibiting the growth of mildew. RMR-141 disinfectant has proven effective against more than 141 different microorganisms and will kill mold, mildew, bacteria, and more. Its claim to fame is its ability to clean, disinfect, and deodorize any surface with its active ingredient, ammonium.
Keep in mind that this mold remover is explicitly designed to kill mold and mildew fungus that may be growing on the surface level. You'll want to scrub the area and completely clean the affected room to be sure all mold spores are removed. While we appreciate this formula's broad application potential, it is not a mold stain remover. If months or years of mold and mildew buildup have left behind black or green staining, you may need to use a separate product that has a more powerful ingredient, like bleach, to remove the discoloration. After removing the staining, use this product to clean the surface and prevent future growth.
Price at time of publish: $30
Mold Type: Not listed | Application: Spray | Cleaning Time: Instant
Mold Armor Rapid Clean Remediation
Visible results within 60 seconds
Must purchase sprayer separately
This 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 screened porch. It’s safe for both outdoor and indoor use, but be sure 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—you will have to purchase a trigger sprayer separately—on the surface that needs to be treated, follow the directions for wait time depending on your application use, and then rinse and scrub it away. If the surface you are treating is especially dirty with other debris, be sure to clean the area before applying this remover as well as afterward. This product makes it easy to deal with your existing mold and mildew problems while reducing future growth.
Price at time of publish: $40
Mold Type: Mildew (Aspergillus niger) | Application: Spray | Cleaning Time: 1-10 minutes
Best for Bathrooms
Microban 24 Hour Bathroom and Sanitizing Cleaner, Citrus, 32 fl oz
Prevents mold and mildew growth for up to 7 days
Will not remove stains
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 prevent mold in the bathroom with the help of a targeted formula, like Microban 24-Hour Bathroom Cleaner. A force to be reckoned with, this bathroom cleaner will make hard surfaces shine while also destroying harmful microorganisms.
It's proven effective against Aspergillus niger, plus this mold remover also serves to clean and disinfect surfaces—making it a one-stop solution for keeping your bathroom free of fungus, bacteria, and viruses. While this formula will prevent mold and mildew growth, it may not fully remove stubborn stains from previously affected areas. After deep cleaning any surfaces currently affected by mold or mild, you can apply Microban 24-Hour every seven days to prevent future mold growth.
Price at time of publish: $7
Mold Type: Mildew (Aspergillus niger) | Application: Spray | Cleaning Time: Instant
Benefect Botanical Decon 30 Disinfectant Cleaner
Can be used on porous and non-porous surfaces
Safe to use around kids and pets
No PPE required
Must purchase sprayer separately
If you'd prefer to avoid using strong chemicals when treating mold growth, consider the plant-based Botanical Decon 30 Disinfectant from Benefect. Unlike other mold removers that contain strong chemical agents and call for you to wear PPE (like eye protection or gloves), this formula does not produce strong fumes that require ventilation or additional protection. Botanical Decon 30 is a more gentle formula that has no chemicals, dyes, or health warnings. While it requires no rinsing and is safe for contact with skin and food surfaces, we recommend rinsing the product away and thoroughly cleaning the exposed room just to be sure all mold growth and spores are removed.
This product is also registered as 100 percent biobased by the USDA BioPreferred Program, which contributes to reducing adverse environmental and health impacts, among other initiatives. The proprietary formula uses Thymol, derived from the essential oil 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. Similar to our best preventative pick, this formula does require the additional purchase of a sprayer for application.
Price at time of publish: $40
Mold Type: Not listed | Application: Spray | Cleaning Time: 30 seconds
Best for Stains
CLR Mold & Mildew Clear Bleach-Free Stain Remover Spray
Safe to use around kids and pets
Can be applied to porous and non-porous surfaces
EPA Safer Choice product
Still need to aerate room
CLR Mold & Mildew Clear Stain Remover is a great bleach-free formula to treat any residual mold staining. It's compatible with a variety of porous and non-porous surfaces, so you don't have to worry about delicate surfaces disintegrating. This product is also part of the EPA's Safer Choice Program, which recognizes certain products as safer alternatives to traditional chemicals. Despite its cleaner formula, the manufacturer still recommends turning on an exhaust fan or opening windows to properly aerate a room after using this spray.
The manufacturer also claims this product works after just 10 minutes. Afterward, you can wipe the area clean with a dry cloth. If you're treating a mold stain that you've never cleaned before, we recommend cleaning the entire room where that stain is, just to ensure that any residual spores have been cleared from the area.
Price at time of publish: $7
Mold Type: Mildew (Aspergillus niger) | Application: Spray | Cleaning Time: 10 minutes
Best for Concrete
Wet and Forget Moss, Mold, Mildew, and Algae Stain Remover
Can be used on a variety of outdoor surfaces
Safe to use around plants
Must purchase sprayer separately
Must be diluted
Naturally porous, concrete makes a natural host for substances like mold and mildew. However, the discoloration and rot (on wood and other surfaces) that they cause can bring serious headaches for homeowners. Although Michael Rubino, author of The Mold Medic and founder of HomeCleanse, does not recommend using "set it and forget it" products, we recommend Wet and Forget Mold Remover, which is EPA-registered, as an exception to Rubino's advice, since it is bleach-free.
This slow-release product penetrates porous outdoor surfaces and begins to treat existing mold and mildew problems. While it doesn’t require any scrubbing or rinsing and contains no bleach or caustic materials, you do have to dilute the solution and use a pump sprayer to apply it to your desired surface. 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.
Price at time of publish: $34
Mold Type: Mildew (Aspergillus niger) | Application: Spray | Cleaning Time: Not listed
For a powerful defense against mold and microorganisms, our top pick is RMR Brands RMR-141 Disinfectant. 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. The gentle formula doesn't contain chemicals, dyes, or health warnings, and is safe for contact with skin, food surfaces, and more.
When Should I Call a Professional to Remove Mold?
If you notice mold growing in your shower or on a household appliance, you can easily treat the problem yourself with proper handling. Rubino suggests the following procedure for handling smaller mold growth: "I would wet it first so that the particles don’t aerosolize. Wear a mask while you’re doing this to protect yourself from breathing it in. I would scrub it with a scrub brush; I would then wipe the area down with a microfiber towel to remove any residual particles. Then, use some sort of household cleaner and a microfiber towel—I tend to stick with all botanical products because there’s really no reason to use chemicals—to wipe down the rest of the bathroom free from particles that have likely been created by this source of mold."
While an effective mold remover can help you tackle mold on easy-to-clean household surfaces where you know the source of the moisture (such as in the shower), you might 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. For example, Rubino suggests seeking the aid of a professional if your home's drywall has been compromised, as the drywall will need to be removed.
While all types of mold removal should be handled with appropriate safety measures, some types of mold—particularly "black mold" (known as Stachybotrys chartarum)—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.
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. As a reminder, any mold remover application should be followed up with a thorough cleaning of the exposed room and your home.
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.
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. "We don’t want to actually kill mold, we want to just remove it," says Michael Rubino, author of The Mold Medic and founder of HomeCleanse. If you remove the mold but don't stem the source of moisture, the mold will return.
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.
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 targeting the spore (or root) of the mold. After you apply the product, most formulas require you to wait a few minutes. During this period, the product is destroying mold spores at the roots, while cleaning and disinfecting the treated surface. Many mold removers also work to prevent future mold growth by leaving behind an antimicrobial coating.
No matter what type of mold remover you purchase, you should always thoroughly clean a room that has been exposed to mold after properly removing the growth. "As long as that organism [mold] has been there, it’s been producing all these particles and they’re still in our environment," says Rubino. "That’s why it's important to remove the mold and then clean the home—remove all the dust, because that dust is going to contain these particles that can still get inside the body even after that mold is gone.”
How long does it take for mold removers to work?
Many of the formulas featured in this roundup offer fast results within a few minutes. You can easily treat and prevent mold on non-porous surfaces, as described above. However, if you have a persistent mold issue, it may be best to call a professional to analyze the extent of the affected area and properly consider next steps.
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, and never mix a cleaner with another.
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.
Emma Phelps revised this roundup to provide more context for each recommended product. Phelps also conducted research for this roundup by speaking with Michael Rubino. Rubino is an indoor air quality and toxic mold expert, the author of The Mold Medic, and the founder of HomeCleanse, "a revolutionary company with the vision to end the worldwide health epidemic caused by poor air quality and toxic indoor environments." Rubino is a council-certified Mold Remediator by IICRC and ACAC and a contributing member, sponsor, and speaker for the Indoor Air Quality Association.