Home Cleaning Tips How To Clean Painted Walls for Mold

How To Clean Painted Walls for Mold

by Catherine

Right now, I’m still in Atlanta at my parent’s house—the home where I grew up. My parents are the most wonderful, giving people, and are always, always taking people in and having various house guests. Their home is well over 20 years old, and has definitely undergone its fair share of renovations, repairs, updates and general maintenance. One of the many things that my parents will not compromise on in their home is air quality. The air quality in their house is top-notch and almost without parallel. My parents have spared no expense and have installed the best systems, filters, ducts, dehumidifiers and ventilation aids that money can buy. They also frequently clean for mold with the EC3 products.

The reason I’m telling you all of this is because I want to be crystal clear that even the cleanest homes with excellent air quality, can still have some mold-specific issues that need to be treated. Every home should be cleaned for mold sometimes. Mold is a year round antigen, and the only antigen that is often left untreated. Therefore, it is necessary to clean specifically for mold in every home to help keep those living in it healthy. After all, a home is a living, breathing, ever-changing structure, made of natural materials that can break, leak, flood and falter, just like the people who live inside of it.

Thus, when I arrived and settled into one of the upstairs guest bedrooms at my parent’s house, I encountered some dreaded pinkish/orangish mold dots in the paint over the shower stall. I assume that whoever had used the shower last had not been turning on the bathroom fan while showering, or after showering to help clear the bathroom of excess moisture. The steam from the shower created condensation on the ceiling that beaded into water droplets, and never really fully dried. Those droplets were sitting on a painted surface. So, here we have water, the paint for food and a cooler, darker room, because it wasn’t used, unless a guest was there. All of those components created the perfect environment for mold to grow. Yuck!

The orangish mold in the shape of condensation droplets over the shower stall is hard for me to ignore.

The orangish mold in the shape of condensation droplets over the shower stall is hard for me to ignore.

As with many cleaning challenges, it’s best to start with a natural, mild approach and move onto stronger methods, only if necessary. My personal recommendation is to use the EC3 products—Ready-to-Use Spray or Mold Solution Concentrate diluted per package instructions. The second option is a vinegar/borax/water method. I would try either of those first, with the EC3 being my preferred method, and then wait two days, with the shower being used, to see if mold returns. If it does return, I would recommend using a moisture meter to see if there is moisture in the ceiling that would indicate a leak or a larger problem. If that is the case, you need an expert to help you. No amount of cleaning will keep the mold away until the source of the moisture is identified and stopped. If there is no excessive moisture detected, you may need to install or fix your ventilation fan in the bathroom to ensure that the air is moving enough to dry the room between showers.

But, I digress. Let’s get back to cleaning.

In this instance, you may prefer to use rubber gloves to protect your skin from coming into contact with the mold. Many studies have shown that pink mold can also contain quite a bit of bacteria, hence the color. Sometimes the “pink” in the mold can actually be identified as Serratia Marcescens bacteria, and feeds on fatty substances, like soap scum. Pink mold can cause urinary tract infections and infection of wounds, so it’s in your best interest to give your shower a good scrub as soon as you see it starting to form. Wear old clothing so you can wash it in HOT water with the EC3 Laundry Additive to kill any mold spores that wind up on your clothes, and be sure to ventilate the area well while you’re working, so you aren’t inhaling many mold spores. Some may think it overkill, but it may also be a good idea to wear a mask when directly cleaning identifiable mold. A recommended mask would be an N95 respirator mask. If you would like more information on why using this type of mask if preferred over a surgical mask, see this link.

Now, here is how you kill the mold when it gets on your painted surfaces and remove it from your bathroom.

Mold Remover #1 (This is the method I used. It is preferred and the products are proven and tested to remove mold naturally and effectively. This method also will not strip your paint.)

My products to clean the mold off of the bathroom paint are all ready to go before I start.

My products to clean the mold off of the bathroom paint are all ready to go before I start.

Put on your rubber gloves, if using, and grab your sponge and soap. First you are going to thoroughly clean the area with hot water and the sponge. I soak my sponge in the hot water, squeeze it out and then put a dot of the castile soap directly on my sponge.

Putting Dr. Bronner's castile soap on my sponge.

Putting Dr. Bronner’s castile soap on my sponge.

I knead it a little to create some bubbles and start scrubbing.

making sponge soapy

The dots will come off relatively easy.

The dots of mold come off very easily with the hot water and soap. Don't be fooled, though. The area still needs to be treated with EC3 to kill the mold and prevent it from returning.

The dots of mold come off very easily with the hot water and soap. Don’t be fooled, though. The area still needs to be treated with EC3 to kill the mold biologically and prevent it from returning.

Just remember to rinse your sponge frequently with hot water, and to keep reapplying soap when needed.

Rinse your sponge with hot water. Make sure to throw out your sponge when finished, so as not to harbor the mold in your home, or to cross contaminate anything.

Rinse your sponge with hot water. Make sure to throw out your sponge when finished, so as not to harbor the mold in your home, or to cross contaminate anything.

After the spots are cleaned off, dry the areas with your dry cloth.

drying bathroom

Now, saturate the areas where the mold was present with your EC3 spray. Allow it to air dry. There is no need to wipe it off. If further scrubbing is required, do it with the EC3 spray and your sponge. The last application of the EC3 spray should always be allowed to air dry, though. It will give you the biggest mold-cleaning bang for your buck.

I sprayed and cleaned the area thoroughly with my EC3 spray and sponge. Then, I allowed my last spray to air dry on the painted surface where the mold dots were.

I sprayed and cleaned the area thoroughly with my EC3 spray and sponge. Then, I allowed my last spray of EC3 to air dry on the painted surface where the mold dots were present.

Mold Remover #2 (This method is my second choice, as Borax and vinegar aren’t as effective as the EC3 products with fully killing the mold. The 2 products—vinegar and Borax together—will provide great results, but is definitely more labor intensive and more prep work.)

  • 2 tablespoons Borax
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups VERY warm water
  • clean sponge
  • clean, dry cloth

Combine the ingredients above in a bowl, stirring until the borax is completely dissolved. Pour into a spray bottle and liberally apply on painted walls. Scrub well with the sponge and wipe clean. Spray again and let sit 10 minutes before wiping dry with the cloth. I would NOT recommend leaving this mixture to air dry. The mixture sitting wet on your paint could cause it to peel and chip. I would advise you to always wipe it dry.

I performed this task over a week ago and have showered in the bathroom every day since. So far, there is no sign of the mold returning. I am always careful to turn on the fan and leave it on for at least 30 minutes after I shower, and to leave the bathroom door open to help the air circulate and ventilate the bathroom between uses.

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