The 9 Best Mold Removers of 2023
We like the RMR-86 Pro Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover because of its versatility, fast-acting formula, and ability to clean a variety of surfaces.
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Mold is not only unsightly, but it can pose real risks to both your health and your home. If you’ve spotted mold on any surface, getting rid of it will take a little time, patience, elbow grease, and, most importantly—a powerful and effective cleaner.
To find the best mold removers, we spent hours researching products, considering factors like type, ingredients, and compatibility with different surfaces. We also received tips on how to choose and use mold removers from Michael Rubino, founder of HomeCleanse and author of The Mold Medic.
“Using a cleaning product to tackle mold typically depends on the type of surface in question, which can be porous, such as fabrics and carpet; non-porous, such as finished wood and sealed countertops; and semi-porous, such as leather furniture and some types of plastic,” says Rubino. Thus, make sure whichever cleaner you choose is compatible with the surfaces you intend to clean.
Here are the best mold removers.
Who it's for: People who want an effective mold remover to use on any surface.
Who it isn't for: People who want a more affordable mold remover.
Mold and mildew can be tough to get rid of on some surfaces like drywall and hardwood, but RMR-86 Instant Mold & Mildew Stain Remover has the ability to effectively remove all varieties of mold and mildew from virtually any surface. This fast-acting and no-scrub powerful formula also tackles odors and instantly targets tough stains left behind by mold and mildew. We also love that it leaves behind a fresh scent. While it’s one of the more expensive products on our list, its effective cleaning power on nearly every surface—including wood, carpet, and concrete—make it worth the price tag. It's a great alternative to using a bleach solution for a quick intervention when you see mold caused by water damage appear on surfaces after a major storm.
The brand recommends using a mask, gloves, and protective eyewear when using it in either a ventilated or non-ventilated area. While mild cases of mold and mildew can be removed in a matter of seconds or minutes, more severe cases can take several applications over the course of a few hours.
Price at time of publish: From $19
Type: Spray | Size: 32, 128, or 320 fluid ounces | Surfaces: Tile, grout, plastic, PVC, fiberglass, wood, lumber, concrete, stucco, walls
Who it's for: People who want a mold remover that is bleach-free and made with natural ingredients.
Who it isn't for: People who want a heavy-duty chemical cleaner to get rid of mold.
It may seem like mold and mildew require strong cleaning agents like bleach or ammonia. CLR Mold & Mildew Clear, however, gets the job done without using any harsh ingredients, making it our favorite eco-friendly mold remover. It’s even EPA Safer Choice-certified, meaning it meets strict criteria for ingredients, performance, packaging, and more, so you can feel confident about using a safe cleaning product that’s gentle on humans and the planet. Rubino also recommends choosing EPA Safer Choice products like this one when possible.
Because of its natural and foaming spray formulation, this mold remover is safe to use on different surfaces and allows for a more direct and accurate application. For best results, spray the product on the affected area and let the foam work its magic for up to 10 minutes. Wipe off with a dry, clean cloth and repeat the process if necessary.
Price at time of publish: $18 for 2-pack
Type: Foam spray | Size: 32 fluid ounces | Surfaces: Grout, ceramic, hardwood floors, fiberglass, fabric, baseboards, and more
Who it's for: People who want to prevent mold on a variety of surfaces.
Who it isn't for: People who want to get rid of existing mold.
The best way to combat mold and mildew is to take the correct steps in preventing their growth and existence. We love Mold Armor Mold Blocker for its impressive ability to block mold for up to three months. Additionally, it is waterproof, antimicrobial, and works on fabric and all bathroom surfaces where mold and mildew are most prominent.
For best results on fabrics and upholstery, hold the spray bottle four to six inches away and spray until wet without saturating your item, then allow to air dry for at least five minutes. For hard, non-porous surfaces, it’s important to pre-clean before application. Then, spray and let air dry, repeating every seven days for severe mold.
Price at time of publish: $11
Type: Spray | Size: 32 fluid ounces | Surfaces: Ceramic, shower doors, porcelain, fiberglass, linens, draperies, fabrics, apparel, carpets, bedding, upholstery, furniture
Who it's for: People who want a mold remover for bathroom surfaces.
Who it isn't for: People who want a mold remover for fabrics or other soft surfaces.
Showers and bathtubs are notorious for housing mold and mildew because of their humid, damp, and usually dark environment. To effectively kill mold in bathrooms, we recommend Clorox Plus Tilex Mold & Mildew Remover. The bottle’s Smart Tube technology also allows it to spray every drop and avoid waste.
For the best results when using this product, spray until the surface is thoroughly wet, let sit for five minutes, and rinse. Since this cleaner contains bleach, do not mix it with other cleaning products containing ammonia. The label recommends using it where there is proper ventilation, and you may also consider using a mask, protective eyewear, and gloves.
Price at time of publish: $20 for 2-pack
Type: Spray | Size: 32 fluid ounces | Surfaces: Glazed ceramic tile, grout, vinyl, fiberglass, plastic, countertops, unwaxed wax floors, sinks
Who it's for: People who want a mold remover that won’t damage wood surfaces.
Who it isn't for: People who want a mold remover with bleach.
Treating mold growth on wood can be tricky because of wood’s fragility and how easily it can warp when using certain cleaning agents. We love Concrobium Mold Control Spray for eliminating and preventing mold and mildew on treated wood. This product crushes mold spores as it dries, leaving an invisible barrier that also protects surfaces from future mold and mildew growth and eliminates strong, lingering odors. It does not require scrubbing or rinsing and, as a bonus for those with sensitivities, this product is free of bleach, ammonia, and fragrance.
Price at time of publish: From $14
Type: Spray | Size: 14.1, 32 or 128 fluid ounces | Surfaces: Wood, composite wood, drywall, plastic, concrete, shakes, metal, brick, stone, tile, grout, fabric, furniture
Who it's for: People looking for a hospital-grade mold remover.
Who it isn't for: People who want a spray instead of a concentrate.
Because mold grows so quickly, you may notice it creeping onto your walls and ceilings, especially in damp or warm areas like the bathroom. We recommend Total Solutions Lemocide for its commercial-grade formulation, fresh yet subtle lemon scent, and ability to eliminate mold on a variety of surfaces, including walls. This product is also great at disinfecting and deodorizing hard, non-porous surfaces. Since this is a concentrate, the label recommends diluting it with water 64 to one.
Total Solutions Lemocide is also the best value item on our list. Like many other mold removers, this product does not require scrubbing or rinsing and should be left to dry for best results.
Price at time of publish: $25
Type: Concentrate | Size: 1 gallon | Surfaces: Walls, metal, steel, porcelain, floors, tables and chairs
Who it's for: People who want a mold remover for laundry, carpet, and upholstery.
Who it isn't for: People who want a mold remover spray.
Mold and mildew growth isn’t just reserved for hard surfaces and bathrooms. Laundry, fabrics, and upholstery can easily be breeding grounds for mold, especially when left damp for long periods of time. To get rid of mold on laundry, as well as the stains and odors it leaves behind, we recommend OxiClean Laundry & Home Sanitizer. When used as directed, it can also work as a preventative and kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses.
OxiClean Laundry & Home Sanitizer works to disinfect, prevent mold and mildew, and to spot sanitize soft surfaces and carpet. Each process requires mild to moderate wiping or scrubbing and can be repeated every week to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces and every month for fabrics, carpets, and other soft surfaces.
Price at time of publish: From $9
Type: Powder | Size: 2.5 or 4.5 pounds | Surfaces: Soft surfaces, fabric, carpet, upholstery, non-porous surfaces
Who it's for: People who want to clean stains left behind from mold and mildew.
Who it isn't for: People who want to focus on getting rid of mold.
Once mold and mildew have been removed from a surface, it’s common for them to leave behind dark, pesky stains. To get rid of these and leave your surface sparkling clean, we recommend Zep Mold and Mildew Stain Remover. Using the power of bleach, this product eliminates dirt, stains, and grime on toilet bowls, sinks, tubs and more and can leave grout and other surfaces like new.
For best results, spray this product on the affected area, let it sit for a minute, wipe with a dry cloth or sponge, and rinse thoroughly.
Price at time of publish: $19 for 2-pack
Type: Spray | Size: 32 fluid ounces and one gallon | Surfaces: Clean acrylic, ceramic tile, porcelain, fiberglass, laminate, Corian surfaces
Who it's for: People who want a concentrated mold remover for small or narrow spaces.
Who it isn't for: People who need a mold remover spray for a larger surface area.
Mold and mildew in hard-to-clean places like grout, showerheads, around the washing machine, and the seal strip of a shower door can be easily tackled with a powerful gel concentrate. We recommend Skylarlife Mold and Mildew Stain Cleaner Remover Gel because of its easy-to-use applicator and fast-acting formula that works in seconds.
This product does not require wiping, scrubbing, or sanding—simply apply it to the affected surface and let it sit for up to eight hours and rinse or wash off with water.
Price at time of publish: $14
Type: Gel | Size: 5 fluid ounces | Surfaces: Tile, grout, sealant, sinks
Our top pick is the RMR-86 Instant Mold and Mildew Stain Remover for its versatility and effectiveness on nearly every surface. For those looking for an eco-friendly mold remover with natural ingredients, we recommend CLR Mold and Mildew Clear.
Mold removers usually come in a liquid or spray form, although some can be a concentrate, gel, or powder. Using sprays and concentrates should be reserved for hard, non-porous surfaces where the product can sit for a while and penetrate the contamination. Gels should be used for small, narrow surfaces, and powders should be used for soft surfaces such as fabric, carpet, and upholstery.
Before choosing a mold remover, Rubino says it’s important to find one compatible with your affected surface. These include porous, non-porous, and semi-porous. According to Rubino, porous surfaces include fabrics and carpets, while non-porous surfaces include finished woods and sealed countertops. Finally, semi-porous refers to surfaces like leather and some types of plastic.
Several natural cleaning supplies and ingredients, like vinegar, baking soda, and tea tree oil, can successfully eliminate mild to moderate cases of mold. Most commercial cleaners will contain harsh ingredients such as bleach, ammonia, sodium hypochlorite, and sodium chlorate. Chemical cleaners should always be used in a well-ventilated area and the use of gloves, mask, and protective eyewear is recommended.
According to Rubino, there are four main ways to tell if you have mold or mildew: visible growth, water damage, odor, and chronic health issues. Mold tends to grow in warm, damp, dark corners of the home.
“Visible growth can come in a variety of colors ranging from gray and blue to brown and green; shapes, and textures including fuzzy, powdery, or slimy,” he says. ”Water damage can look like coffee stains, warped or bulging ceilings and flooring, and discolored carpeting. For odor, pay attention to an earthy, musty, damp, cigar-like smell due to the release of gasses called microbial volatile organic compounds, and for chronic health issues, look for symptoms that come out of nowhere that seemingly have no underlying cause.”
If natural cleaning supplies haven't gotten rid of your mold problem, it may be time to use a commercial or store-bought mold remover. Removing pervasive dishwasher mold, for example, requires more than just the vinegar, baking soda, and soap. Rubino recommends always checking the label’s instructions on how to properly use the product, but there are also a few factors to consider in general.
For porous surfaces, Rubino usually recommends discarding and replacing the item since the contamination can exist deep in the fibers. For non-porous surfaces, he recommends spraying the affected area and letting the product sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a dry microfiber towel, letting the surface dry completely, and repeating the process two to three more times depending on the severity of the contamination.
“If the mold comes right back, you can attempt to clean the surface again, but it’s best to err on the side of caution and contact a mold inspector to come in and see what’s going on,” says Rubino. “There could be a hidden issue elsewhere, leading to opportunistic growth.”
If you’ve tried every method under the sun to get rid of mold and it still persists, it may be time to call in a professional. According to Rubino, it depends on the situation, but a general rule of thumb to follow is that anything larger than 10 square feet should automatically be handled by professionals.
“Homeowners can successfully get rid of mold, but it’s important to be aware of how to properly remediate the issue,” he says. “Successful decontamination means that the source that led to the issue is fixed, the microbial growth is removed including roots and dead particles, and all contamination is eliminated from the indoor space, including mycotoxins and bacteria.”
If you have successfully eradicated mold from an area of your home, Rubino says it’s essential to deep clean the surrounding area to remove any particles released by the active growth. “If someone isn’t confident they can handle this, they should go ahead and call a professional,” he says.
This article was written by L. Daniela Alvarez, contributing writer for Real Simple with nearly three years of experience writing about lifestyle content and product reviews. To compile this list, she spent hours researching mold removers. She also received tips on how to shop for mold removers from Michael Rubino, founder of HomeCleanse and author of The Mold Medic.
Mold and Your Home. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
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