Can you Remove Mold From Drywall?

David J. Allen

I spent the better part of 2 ½ years learning about mold and indoor air quality because my child's life depended on it. Now I help others avoid ever having to experience the same thing. The mold industry suffers from conflicting opinions and I do my best to distill loads of data into something practical and useful. I love hearing from and helping readers. • "A house desecrated by mildew, mold, or fungus would be a defiled place to live in, so drastic measures had to be taken." — Leviticus 14:45

Mold growth on your drywall is not something you want to let linger for too long, as you’ll be putting yourself at risk for serious respiratory issues.

Fortunately, there are circumstances in which you can safely remove the invasive fungus before it affects your health.

Typically, whether or not cleaning is a viable option comes down to whether you’re dealing with painted or unpainted drywall.

If the affected wall is unpainted, you’ll usually end up needing to replace either a section or the entirety of it with new drywall. If it’s painted, though, there’s a good chance you can remove the mold spores while preserving the drywall.

Step One: Gather Your Materials

To effectively remove the mold from your painted drywall, there are a few items you’ll need.

  • A mold-killing agent. Anti-fungal spray usually works best, but other options include diluting one part baking soda, vinegar, or bleach with three to five parts water.
  • Protective gear: breathable mask, eye protection, and rubber gloves
  • Soft-bristled cleaning brush
  • Stain-blocking paint (optional)

Step Two: Ventilate the Area

Since you don’t want to be breathing in a bunch of mold spores or anti-fungal cleaner, you’ll need to open up nearby windows or doors before you start cleaning. Keeping the area ventilated is especially important if you opt to use bleach as your mold-killing agent.

Step Three: Protect Your Floor and Furniture

While you’re cleaning your drywall, there’s a good chance you’ll experience some spillage of cleaning liquids. If you’re using chemicals or anti-fungal spray, it could be damaging to your floors or furniture, so you’d be wise to cover everything with a plastic drop cloth before you begin.

Step Four: Spray the Affected Area

The next step will be to spray the moldy section of your drywall with your chosen mold-killing agent. Although you’ll want to thoroughly cover the affected area, you should be careful not to completely drench the wall. Excess moisture could potentially lead to more fungal growth after the fact. If any of the liquid you’re using starts to drip down the wall, carefully wipe it up with a dry towel.

Step Five: Scrub the Mold Away

After you’ve coated all of the mold growth with your cleaning agent, it’s time to scrub away all of those harmful spores. If you don’t have a soft-bristled brush available, you can get a similar effect by using a toothbrush or the rough side of a sponge. Scrub the area firmly until you’re satisfied that all the mold has been eradicated. 

Step Six: Thoroughly Dry the Area

Even if you’ve managed to remove all of the mold, leaving the drywall damp can lead to the fungus quickly coming back with a vengeance. To ensure that the area is dry, your best option is probably to point an electric fan at the wall and leave it there for a few hours. Additionally, you can turn up the heater or use a dehumidifier to speed up the drying process.

Step Seven: Cover Any Stains

In some cases, cleaning the mold from your drywall will leave behind pesky, stubborn stains. Usually, this type of stain won’t go away no matter how vigorously you scrub the area. If you experience this, you can purchase a special stain-blocking primer to cover up the marks. Then, you can paint over the primer with whatever color you like.