Mold is an ugly four-letter word that is found all too often in bathrooms. Learn the best ways to remove bathroom mold and prevent it from coming back.

By Megan Boettcher
Updated May 16, 2019

With warm, humid conditions, the bathroom is the perfect place for mold, and it can grow on just about every surface. Once you find it, cleaning mold in the bathroom can be a big chore. Follow our tips for cleaning mold—including products to use, instructions for specific surfaces, and key prevention tactics—to refresh your bathroom. You'll want to make sure you get it all so you aren’t constantly fighting mold in the bathroom.  

Editor's Tip: If you suspect your bathroom has black mold, known as Stachybotrys chartarum, seek a professional to test it, as you may have a larger problem at hand. If the results indicate other common household molds, move forward with our cleaning tips.

Best Cleaning Products for Bathroom Mold

With any cleaning product for bathroom mold, you should use gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. Wearing a mask is recommended as cleaning mold can cause the release of mold spores into the air.

There are plenty of products that claim to kill mold, but good old soap and water (and elbow grease) are usually enough to do the trick. You can also make a bathroom mold cleaning solution with items from around the house.

Borax, a white mineral powder, is a natural way to clean mold in the bathroom. Mix 1 cup borax with 1 gallon of warm water. Pour some of the solution into a spray bottle. Spray directly onto the surface you want to clean. Use a scrub brush, sponge, or clean rag to remove mold stains. Use the remaining borax mold cleaner to mop tile or vinyl floors. 

Bleach is another good option for removing mold stains in the bathroom, but it should only be used in a well-ventilated area. Always open a window or turn on your bathroom exhaust fan when working with bleach. A 1:10 bleach to water solution is effective on nonporous surfaces like sinks, tubs, toilets, and showers, but it should not be used to clean mold from the ceiling or walls.

Distilled white vinegar is a nontoxic solution for cleaning mold in the bathroom. Dilute it to clean tile floors, or use it directly on your showerhead, drain, or toilet. While undiluted white vinegar might not have a very pleasant scent, vinegar is a great way to clean mold. Spray vinegar directly on the affected area, allow it to sit for 5–10 minutes, then wipe it away with a sponge or rag. For difficult-to-remove mold, scrub with a bristle brush.

How to Clean Mold from Bathroom Ceiling

If you see mold spreading across your bathroom ceiling, you need to do two things. First, identify the source. Is there a leak above the bathroom? If so, eliminate the leak before cleaning mold from the bathroom ceiling. If the mold is caused by moisture in the bathroom, consider adding an exhaust fan or running a dehumidifier to reduce heat and dampness.

Related: How to Clean a Bathroom Countertop and Sink

The next step is to clean the mold from the bathroom ceiling. Start by spraying the area with a vinegar solution. If the ceiling is coated with paint or another finish that allows for scrubbing, spray the vinegar directly on the ceiling and wipe with a clean rag. If not, you will need to scrape off and replace the affected ceiling area. Removing a textured ceiling covered in mold is a job better left to mold removal specialists, as it requires special ventilation masks and protective clothing.

How to Clean Mold Off Bathroom Walls

Similar to cleaning mold from bathroom ceilings, you can clean mold off walls with soap and water or vinegar in a spray bottle. If you have scrubbable painted walls, you can apply the vinegar directly to the mold and scrub it away. Allow the area to dry, then cover it with a stain-blocking paint. If you have tiled bathroom walls, follow our cleaning instructions in the following section.

If the mold has infiltrated the drywall or spread across the entire wall, it will be difficult to remove it yourself. Hire a professional to remove the mold instead. Disturbing that much mold could pose a health hazard and cause it to spread to other areas of your home.

How to Clean Mold from Bathroom Tiles

Scrubbing with vinegar or a borax solution is a great way to clean mold from bathroom tile. For small applications, mix 2 tablespoons borax into 2 cups warm water and funnel into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on tiles and let it sit for a few minutes. As noted earlier, you can also make a large-batch tile cleaning solution with 1 cup borax and 1 gallon of warm water. Use a mop or sponge to scrub away the mold. Whether you use vinegar or borax, there is no need to rinse the solution. However, you will want to dry the floor so the moisture doesn’t encourage the mold to return.

To clean mold from bathroom tile grout, use the same borax or vinegar solution as before. Apply it directly to grout lines and let it sit. Use a toothbrush or another small bristle brush to clean mold from bathroom tile grout. For hard-to-remove stains, mix two parts baking soda with one part vinegar to form a paste. Apply it to the grout and let it sit a few minutes before scrubbing away mold. If desired, you can also use a commercial grout cleaner. 

Editor's Tip: Check your tile material before using one of these solutions. Vinegar can be damaging to some tile materials; avoid if you have marble, slate, granite, or stone tiles.

How to Prevent Mold in the Bathroom

The best way to combat mold in the bathroom is to prevent it from growing. Eliminate excess moisture by running an exhaust fan for at least 30 minutes after a shower. Squeegee shower walls daily after use to reduce water in the bathroom. Keep the floor dry and remove damp towels. Disinfecting the bathroom once a week is also a great way to prevent mold from becoming an issue. Follow our bathroom cleaning checklist to learn how.

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