How to Remove Mold From Bathroom Ceilings

Mold on white bathroom ceiling with tan tile and showerhead

alanphillips / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins - 2 hrs
  • Total Time: 30 mins - 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Bathrooms—especially shower stalls—are a perfect breeding ground for mold. They are humid, often dark with poor air circulation, and there is food readily available from soap scum and body soil. What can begin as a tiny mold colony creeping along a grout seam can grow into a moldy ceiling.

Before you begin, it is important to determine what type of mold is growing on the bathroom ceiling. Molds are classified into three categories:

  • Allergenic molds can require removal by a professional, but most allergenic molds can be removed with home disinfecting products.
  • Pathogenic molds can be controlled with disinfectants but large colonies require professional removal.
  • Toxic molds are the most harmful and require a professional to kill the mold and dispose of any affected materials.

Once you have discovered and identified the mold, it must be removed. If the mold infestation is deemed to be toxic or covers 10 or more square feet, then a professional should handle the removal. Local public health departments can offer advice on mold testing and refer you to an expert mold remover.

If you catch the mold growth while it is a small colony, it can usually be removed safely with home methods. Once it is gone, take steps to reduce humidity and improve air circulation in the bathroom to prevent regrowth.

How Often to Remove Mold From Bathroom Ceilings

Mold should be removed as quickly as possible at the first signs of growth. It won't go away on its own, so you need to take action.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Protective gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Protective face mask
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Plastic bucket
  • Step ladder
  • Sponge
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spray bottle
  • Microfiber cloth

Materials

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Dishwashing liquid

Instructions

How to Remove Mold From a Painted Drywall Bathroom Ceiling

  1. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    In a plastic bucket, mix one-part dishwashing liquid, 10 parts bleach, and 20 parts water. To clean a small area of mold, mix a solution of one tablespoon dishwashing liquid, 1/2 cup chlorine bleach, and one cup of warm water in a spray bottle. The dishwashing liquid will help the solution cling to the ceiling longer to kill the mold.

  2. Put on Protective Gear

    When removing mold, it is best to wear old clothes that you won't mind being splattered with bleach and that can be washed in hot water to remove any mold spores that might scatter. Put on a face mask, protective eyewear, and gloves.

    To improve ventilation in the bathroom while you are cleaning, open windows or add a circulating fan. Turn on the bathroom ventilation fan, as well.

  3. Spray or Wipe on Cleaning Solution

    Using a sturdy stepladder, spray on the cleaning solution or use a sponge to wipe the moldy area with the cleaning solution. The surface should be fully wet but not oversaturated to prevent damage to the ceiling. Allow the solution to air-dry.

  4. Check for Stains

    After the ceiling has dried completely, check the ceiling for stains. If dark spots remain, repeat the process.

How to Remove Mold From a Tiled Bathroom Ceiling

On tiled ceilings in shower stalls, mold will most likely form along the grout lines and require more scrubbing to remove.

  1. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    Mix one part bleach to 16 parts water (one cup of bleach to one gallon of water). This can be poured into a spray bottle or applied with a sponge.

  2. Saturate the Moldy Areas

    Wearing old clothes and protective gear, stand on a sturdy stepladder and spray or wipe on the cleaning solution to the moldy areas. Apply heavily so that the grout is fully saturated. It should remain wet for at least 15 minutes.

  3. Scrub Away the Mold

    Using a soft-bristled scrub brush, scrub each line of grout to remove moldy residue. If stains remain, spray the area again, wait another 15 minutes, and scrub again.

  4. Rinse and Dry

    Once the stains are gone, rinse the tiled area with plain water and dry with a soft cloth.

Tips to Prevent Mold Growth on Bathroom Ceilings

  • Always use the bathroom fan when bathing or showering to help reduce humidity levels.
  • Open windows or add a circulating fan to improve air circulation.
  • Regularly clean the shower and tub stall.
  • Dry the shower stall with a towel or squeegee after each use.
  • Regularly wash shower curtains, liners, towels, and bath rugs.
Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Basic Facts About Mold and DampnessCenters for Disease Control and Prevention.

  2. Mold Cleanup in Your HomeEnvironmental Protection Agency.