How to remove mold

Remove mold – this is how to act properlyWhether washing clothes, showering or cooking, moisture quickly develops in your four walls. Without proper ventilation and heating, the moisture quickly settles on the walls and can cause musty-smelling and even unhealthy mold there after some time. How to effectively eliminate it, read this step-by-step guide.

Table of Contents

Mold in the apartment – causes of infestation

Molds are very undemanding. Moisture and wallpaper, wall paint or plaster offer them very good living conditions. In addition, the spores of many types of mold are constantly in the air. Even with excessive cleaning, you cannot prevent infestation. As soon as the spores find damp spots, they begin to grow. The typical black, green or brownish spots will appear. When the infestation spreads, a musty, unpleasant odor reminiscent of damp cellars develops. In apartments and houses there are typical places where mold growth easily occurs. There it can appear:

– If large pieces of furniture stand close to the wall, the air behind them circulates poorly. Mildew can quickly form, especially on cool exterior walls. – There is also little air circulating in the corners of the room, which makes them susceptible to mold. – Mold in window reveals occurs when you ventilate a lot "on tilt" or your windows are leaky. The cold outside air cools down the brickwork. The moisture from the air in the room condenses.

Even a single occupant produces about 5 liters of moisture per day, which passes into the room air. Humans themselves cause some of this through breathing and sweating, while typical everyday activities such as cooking, showering, washing or drying clothes contribute the other part. Many houseplants or aquariums increase the air humidity additionally. With a hygrometer you can measure the humidity in the room. The following table shows which causes of mold you can combat and how.

Place of mold infestation



Behind the cabinet on an exterior wall

Little air circulation leads to a cold and damp wall.

If possible, do not place large pieces of furniture in front of an exterior wall. If it can not be avoided, keep a distance of 10 centimeters between the wall and the back of the cabinet.

Cold outside air cools down the window reveal.

Ventilate at regular intervals instead of tilting; repair or replace leaky windows

The outside air cools down the cover. Moisture from the warm air in the room condenses.

During sleep, each person loses up to 1.5 liters of sweat per night. In cool bedrooms this makes for damp walls.

Heat bedrooms more strongly during the day; ventilate thoroughly several times a day; possibly use additional room dehumidifier

Storerooms and pantries are often cool and poorly ventilated.

Leave the door open; do not place large objects directly in front of the walls

In the corners of the room the air circulates poorly. Therefore, they cool down easily.

Reduce indoor humidity by consistent shock and cross ventilation

Flooring cooled from the basement attracts moisture.

Thermal bridges, for example, due to cantilevered concrete slabs from the balcony

Insulate basement ceiling or floor; replace vapor barrier

How to remove mold properly?
To live mold-free in the long term, tackle the problem in two ways. Eliminate the cause of dampness. Remove the mold yourself. Anti-mold paint alone covers the mold infestation only briefly.

Remove mold: This is what matters

Mold in the home is more than a cosmetic problem. Over a hundred different types of mold feel at home in the apartment. The majority of them are dangerous for humans. Therefore, act immediately if you discover mold. Determine the cause of the infestation and eliminate it. Fight the mold itself to prevent further spread of spores in the indoor air.

When can I fight mold myself?
Small spots, no more than one square meter, you can remove yourself. If the mold infestation is larger, have a professional do this work.

Only healthy people should remove mold themselves

Mold spores can greatly affect health. Therefore, the following groups of people should neither fight mold nor stay in the affected rooms during the work and directly afterwards:

Never remove mold without protective equipment

Even if you remove the mold very carefully, you will inevitably stir up large quantities of spores that pollute the indoor air. Therefore, be sure to use the following:

– Breathing mask – gloves – safety goggles

Close the door of the infested room and ensure good ventilation when fighting mold.

What do I do with the clothes I wore when removing mold?
Wash your clothes after work at a minimum of 70 degrees Celsius or use a sanitary rinse to kill the spores. Alternatively, you can use a disposable protective suit like the one used for painting jobs.

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Suitable means for mold control

In general, molds are very resistant. But there are some means that work very reliably. Mold removers usually contain one of the following active ingredients:

Chlorine : Chlorine-based mold removers reliably kill the fungi and exert a bleaching effect. Therefore they are very suitable for the bathroom. Ensure good ventilation. Leave the room during the exposure time. Oxygen : Mold removers based on active oxygen also have a slight bleaching effect. They do not cause harmful fumes and are therefore particularly suitable for bedrooms and children's rooms. Alcohol : You can also fight mold with high-proof alcohol such as methylated spirits or isopropanol as a home remedy. However, you need to wet the affected areas several times, because the alcohol evaporates quickly. Only by treating several times at 30-minute intervals will the alcohol penetrate deep enough into the plaster. Alcohol does not bleach. Hydrogen peroxide : Three-percent hydrogen peroxide from the pharmacy is not only suitable for gargling and wound disinfection, it also kills mold reliably. Caution! The bleaching effect is strong. Finally, hair can be blonded with it.

Why should I not use vinegar for mold removal?
The lime in wall paint and plaster neutralizes the acid of vinegar and makes the home remedy ineffective. With the right procedure you can successfully fight the mold. The ugly stains will not come back again. How to proceed:

Identify the cause : It is essential to identify and remove the cause of the mold infestation. Otherwise, despite all the efforts, the fungi quickly reappear. Kill mold spores : Before removing the mold, you must render the mold spores, which are dangerous to humans, harmless. Spray the infested areas generously with an anti-mold spray. Wait for the exposure time specified by the manufacturer. The liquid must penetrate deep enough into wallpaper and plaster to completely destroy the mold. The visible stains are often just the tip of the iceberg. Remove spores : Now wipe the mold spores from the wallpaper with a cloth. If it is spotless or only slightly discolored afterwards, you can leave it that way. Conceal the remaining shadows with anti-mold paint, which contains fungicidal (fungus-killing) agents. Remove wallpaper : If the mold infestation is already advanced and the wallpaper is damaged, you need to replace the spot. Cut out the affected area with a cutter knife. Remove the well moistened wallpaper. Dispose of the old wallpaper as soon as possible.

Treat substrate : Spray the plaster generously with an anti-mold agent and let everything dry well. Primer Apply an anti-mold primer to the affected plaster and allow it to dry out thoroughly. Wallpapering or painting : Now you can put a fresh piece of wallpaper cut to fit or paint the spot with wall paint. What do I do if the mold has also affected the plaster or masonry?
If large areas are infested with mold or if the fungi have already penetrated deep into plaster and masonry, hire a professional to remove the mold.

Mold in the bathroom – causes

The bathroom is naturally quite humid on a regular basis. The steam of a hot shower drives the humidity up just as much as the relaxing bath in the tub. Add wet walls and surfaces that need to dry off again as well as the shower curtain, bathroom rug and towels. Without enough fresh air and some precautions, mold stains will quickly show up on grout lines, in corners or on the shower curtain.

Remove mold in the bathroom – instructions for intact tile joints

Especially the joints in the bathroom are susceptible to mold infestation. Mold can often be removed from intact tile joints on walls and floors with a bleaching anti-mold agent based on chlorine and special grout cleaner with a lot of scrubbing. Finally, treat the joints with joint whitener – and the bathroom will look like new.

Renew grout in case of mold infestation in the bathroom – step-by-step instructions

If silicone joints are affected, you must replace them, because the fungus eats deep into the material and cannot be removed. If the joints are perhaps even loose, brittle or cracked, there is no way around it.

Just follow the instructions below:

Step 1: Destroy mold spores

Spray the infested areas with an anti-mold spray to kill the mold spores. The following work generates a lot of dust. The mold spores would spread widely through the air.

Removing mold this is how it works

Step 2: Prepare the bath

Since replacing grout creates a lot of dust and dirt, clear your bathroom as much as possible. Remove all cabinets and take off towel rails and mirrors. Unscrew all screws that are in joints. Finally, protect WC, washbasin, bathtub and shower as well as shower enclosures with painter's tape.

Remove mold this is how it works

Step 3: Mill out joints

Now mill out the old grout between the tiles. This is particularly easy to do with a multifunction tool with a special attachment. It is quicker to use an angle grinder. However, the risk of damaging the tiles is considerably greater here. Therefore, this solution is recommended rather for experienced do-it-yourselfers. Joint scrapers, cutter knives or hammer and chisel require a lot of physical effort and are only useful for small areas.

Pay attention to your safety and perform the work only with protective goggles, respirator and gloves. If you are milling high up, use a stable ladder.

How to mill out the joints correctly?
Work on the walls from top to bottom so that sanding dust and mortar lumps do not settle in the joints that have already been worked on.

Removing mold this is how it works

Step 4: Clean up joints

Even if you work very carefully, very stubborn mortar residues remain in some places. Remove them carefully with a hammer. Chisel or reach for the grout scraper. Be patient and do not use brute force, otherwise damage to the tiles is inevitable.

Remove mold this is how it works

Step 6: Mix grout

Now mix the grout in a container according to the manufacturer's instructions. Prepare larger quantities quickly. Simply use a drill with a whisk attachment to. Grout is not only available in white. In the meantime, manufacturers have many different colors on offer. Let the mixed grout rest for the maturing time specified by the manufacturer.

Which grout is recommended?
In bathrooms without windows, you often cannot lower the humidity sufficiently. New mold is pre-programmed. For particularly endangered rooms, choose a grout that is equipped with a fungus-inhibiting additive.

Remove mold this is how it works

Step 7: Grouting

Stir the grout and apply it with a rubber squeegee diagonally to the grout line. Work the compound well into the joints and repeat the process until the spaces between the joints are completely filled.

Removing mold this is how it works

Step 8: Remove excess mortar

Carefully check with your finger whether the grout has set. After a stable skin has formed, you can remove the excess grout. Use a damp sponge board for this purpose. Do not work too wet, so as not to wash out the grout again. Remove stubborn haze with a special cement haze remover.

Removing mold this is how it works

Step 9: Clean up the bathroom

Now you can remove the foils and clean the bathroom. To reattach any mirrors and towel racks or soap dishes, drill new holes for the dowels and screws. Finally, put away all the bathroom furniture and enjoy your mold-free bathroom that shines in new splendor.

Removing mold this is how it works

Preventing mold in the bathroom

Due to high humidity and lots of water splashes, the bathroom is particularly susceptible to mold growth. However, with the right tips and tricks, you can prevent mold in the bathroom. Get yourself and your family members used to the following strategies:

– Warm air absorbs more moisture than cold, and less moisture condenses on warm walls. Therefore, heat the bathroom continuously. – Air the bathroom thoroughly for about ten minutes at least twice a day, or up to five times a day if there is noticeable moisture. – After bathing or showering, open the window so that the moisture created can dry off and leave. – Use a squeegee for the tiles after showering. Any drops of water that end up in the drain will help keep humidity from rising. – Spread out damp towels and pull apart the shower curtain so that the fabrics dry and the moisture in the bathroom quickly decreases again. Hang wet shower mats and bath rugs on a towel rack or clothes horse.

Mold in the basement – causes

Especially in old buildings mold is common in the basement. But also in new buildings fungus spreads, if wrong use behavior or damages provide for enough humidity. You can recognize mold in the basement by a typical musty smell. The following causes are particularly common:

– incorrect usage behavior such as incorrect ventilation or drying laundry – leaky or uninsulated pipes; condensation forms on the latter, soaking the wall and floor – too high a water table, forcing water into the foundation – cracks in the outer shell – a lack of drainage on the outer wall, especially in old buildings

How to get rid of mold in the basement?
To remove mold in the basement permanently, you must address the cause of the mold and the infestation itself. Otherwise the fungus comes again and again.

Remove mold in the basement

The sooner you declare war on mold in the basement, the easier and more reliably it can be removed.

– Small areas less than half a square meter can be treated with anti-mold spray or alcohol. – If the infestation is larger and deeply penetrated into the building fabric, harder measures are necessary. – Spray the infested areas with anti-mold spray and protect intact plaster and screed surfaces with foil. – Put on protective clothing and remove plaster and screed from the affected areas. You can work with a hammer and chisel or use a hammer drill with a suitable attachment. Dispose of construction debris promptly. Treat the exposed surfaces again with a fungicidal agent. – If the wall or floor is still very wet under the removed plaster, set up a heater fan. – Only when the wall is dry enough, you can continue to work. Apply a mold-inhibiting adhesive primer. You can apply an additional sealing coat, if necessary. – Now you can re-plaster the areas or re-cover them with screed. – Use a fan heater again to quickly drive the moisture from the fresh plaster out of the wall.

Prevent mold in the basement

With the right measures, mold infestation in the basement can be easily prevented. Among other things, the following points are important:

– Avoid drying laundry in the basement. – Do not ventilate the basement on hot days. The warm outside air brings a lot of moisture, which condenses on the cool basement walls. – Insulate the water pipes. – Repair any damage to the exterior walls or plumbing immediately.

If your house was built before the turn of the millennium, it probably has a so-called black tub. Here, the floor slab and foundation walls are made of water-permeable material and are sealed with tar and bitumen. It does not last forever. If the water table is high, break through the floor slab and install a submersible pump to automatically reduce the water level. In old buildings, it is advisable to excavate the ground around the outer walls and provide it with a drainage layer. In this case you can also protect the walls from moisture penetration with a waterproofing paint. Modern houses have a so-called white tub made of waterproof concrete.

Proper ventilation – prevent mold with fresh air

In everyday life, quite a bit of moisture comes together to pollute the rooms. Every person releases at least 400 milliliters of water per day into the environment through the air they breathe. In addition, about one liter of sweat per day. Additional moisture is brought into the living space by showering, bathing, cooking, drying clothes as well as indoor plants and aquariums. Imagine pouring two liters of water on the floor for each occupant. Made visible is clear – the humidity is a problem for the indoor climate. Invisible in the room air and bound in walls and furniture, the amount of water, on the other hand, is hardly noticeable. The easiest way to prevent mold in the apartment is consistent and proper ventilation.

How high should the humidity in living rooms be?
At a room temperature of 20 degrees Celsius, 40 to 70 percent humidity is optimal. Most molds feel comfortable at 80 percent humidity and higher.

How to ventilate properly

Removing mold this is how it works

Most houses do not have an automatic ventilation system, so you have to take care of it yourself. But once you get used to the daily routine, proper ventilation is not a big effort.

– Ventilate with the windows completely open. The so-called shock ventilation is much more effective than the tilt position of the windows. – Ventilate crosswise if possible. This means that you open the windows on two opposite sides of the building and the room doors, thus ensuring a proper draught. – Ventilate your apartment or house at least twice, better three times a day. If there is a lot of moisture, you should let in fresh air up to five times a day. – In winter, leave the windows open for 5 minutes. In the transition period 10 to 15 minutes are appropriate. In summer, ventilate for at least 20 minutes. – Close the doors of the bathroom and kitchen when showering and cooking, so that the moisture does not move into the apartment. If possible, ventilate the rooms while they are still in use.

What if the humidity remains too high anyway?
If you do not get the air humidity sufficiently lowered by good ventilation management, create a dehumidifier. Many devices automatically jump on when the humidity reaches a critical value.

Proper heating

Do not try to save as much energy as possible by heating as little as possible. Of course, responsible use of energy is important. However, too much sparseness promotes mold growth.

– Keep inhabited rooms at least 19 degrees even in winter. – A warm bathroom is not only pleasant, warm air absorbs more moisture. Heat your bathroom to around 22 degrees Celsius. Air regularly. – In well-ventilated bedrooms, you can lower the room temperature to 16 degrees at night. During the day, however, you should heat more and ventilate regularly to prevent mold growth.


Don't give mold a chance in the house. React immediately when the first stains appear and remove the mold. In addition, determine the cause of mold growth and turn it off so that the fungus does not reappear. Prevent mold infestation by proper heating. Consistent airing before. Because mold in the house is harmful to health. Reduces the living comfort significantly.


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