It’s common knowledge that mold can creep up walls, but did you know it can do so inside the walls as well as out? You don’t have to see mold to be affected by its presence, but you do need figure out how to remove it fast, keep it from spreading, and causing both health and structural issues.

How Can You Tell If Your Walls Have Mold?

The most obvious sign of a mold problem is visible. Green, brown, orange or black spots on your walls pretty much signify there is an issue, but there are other, less apparent signs when of mold infestation. Cracked, peeling or discolored paint, wall bulging, or a musty, damp smell are all also signs of mold.

How Did Mold Get On And In Your Walls?

Mold needs moisture and darkness to proliferate, and this often takes place on or in walls (especially if there’s a leak somewhere.) Bathrooms and laundry rooms, and any room with a hot tub or jacuzzi improperly installed are also common spots for mold growth. Once a leak has occurred, there’s a good chance mold will grow unnoticed within the wall until the problem requires expert removal.

Steps To Remove Mold From Your Walls Permanently

To prevent mold before it starts, decrease humidity in problem rooms by opening windows and running fans regularly. Also, if there is, or has been, a leak, make sure the area is repaired, cleaned and dried before mold can grow.

If mold is already present, there are some natural approaches you can take. Clean the area with a mix of vinegar, borax, and water and wait two days to see if mold returns. If it does, try bleach and water next. However you decide to approach your mold issue, be sure and protect your hands with rubber gloves and wash your clothing in hot water to kill any mold spores that wind up on your clothes. Also, remember to ventilate the area well while you’re working.

Before attempting to removing mold from the inside of walls, prevent spores from traveling to clean rooms in the home by covering the affected in plastic.

Use a spray bottle of water to dampen moldy materials before removing them, and when sawing through moldy drywall, have an assistant hold a vacuum hose with a HEPA filter nearby to further decrease the spread of spores. Put moldy materials in heavy plastic garbage bags before carrying them out to prevent spreading mold spores throughout the house so that you don’t end up with mold in other rooms.

Once you’re inside the wall, clean wooden studs thoroughly with an antimicrobial cleanser and allow them to dry completely, before applying a mold sealant. Do not attempt to sand wooden studs—that should only be done by a professional since it significantly increases exposure to potentially harmful mold spores. Any porous elements—such as sheetrock or drywall—will have to be replaced.

If you want help removing wall mold, or have any questions, schedule a consultation with a mold removal professional—even if you plan to do the work yourself, they will offer free professional advice.