How to Remove Mold from Behind Wallpaper


Kaserasera asked: I have mold behind the wallpaper in my bathroom. Are there any safe, quick fixes that can help me?

Bathrooms provide the perfect environment for black mold to grow. There is consistent moisture in the air and darkness behind the wallpaper. Unfortunately, the only way to remove this mold is to remove the wallpaper and sanitize the area. Here are some steps to make the job go quickly and smoothly while keeping yourself protected.

Removing the Wallpaper

You Will Need:

  • Scoring tool
  • Wallpaper stripping solution
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Plastic gloves
  • Face masks
  • Wallpaper scraper
  • Large garbage can lined with a plastic garbage bag
  • Spray bottle
  • Plenty of time and patience (someone to help is always nice too!)

Steps to Remove the Wallpaper:

  1. Scoring tools are small, handheld perforators that move around the wall. The purpose is to create tiny holes in the wallpaper so that the stripping solution can soak through to the adhesive.
  2. Start your project by scoring the entire wall.
  3. Prepare your workspace by getting the garbage can lined with a plastic bag and set in an easily reachable location.
  4. Since there is mold behind the wallpaper, a few more precautions need to be taken. Place a plastic drop cloth over the doorway, and use an additional one to cover the floor, to keep the spores from spreading as the wallpaper is removed.
  5. Protect yourself with plastic gloves and a face mask that covers your nose and mouth. Mold spores can cause a variety of reactions and should not be inhaled.
  6. If there is a window in the room, it may be helpful to open it for ventilation.
  7. Once the area is prepared, you are ready to start spraying and removing the wallpaper. Work in small sections to keep the stripping solution from drying on the paper.
  8. Fill a spray bottle with stripping solution (if it did not already come in a spray bottle.)
  9. Spray the first section with the solution and allow it to sit for the time recommended on the manufacturer’s instructions.
  10. Once the wallpaper is loosened from the wall, simply peel it off.
  11. Use the scraper to remove any areas that are stuck to the wall.
  12. Place the removed wallpaper directly into the trash can. Remember, it is covered with mold, so dispose of it quickly and properly to avoid spreading the spores anymore than necessary.
  13. Repeat with each section of the room until all of the wallpaper is removed.

Removing the Mold

You Will Need:

  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Plastic gloves
  • Face masks
  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Bucket
  • Sponges

Steps to Remove the Mold:

  1. Now that all of the wallpaper is removed, it is time to attack the layer of mold that has developed. Keep the drop cloths in place during this next part as well.
  2. Fill a bucket with one part water and one part bleach.
  3. Keeping yourself protected with gloves and a face mask, moisten the sponge with the bleach solution.
  4. Start at the top and wash the walls with the moistened sponge.
  5. Wash every area, even if it doesn’t appear to have mold. The spores are very tiny and may not be visible yet. It’s important to clean the entire area thoroughly.
  6. Once the walls have been cleaned, allow them to dry completely.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If the walls are damaged from the moisture and mold, you may want to consider replacing the sheetrock. There is sheetrock available now that is designed for bathrooms to be mold and mildew resistant. If mold is a common problem in your home, it may be a wise investment.
  • Proper ventilation is another factor in preventing mold. Most bathrooms are equipped with exhaust fans that aid in removing the moisture from the air. However, in many bathrooms with mold issues, the fan is too weak or doesn’t work at all. Good quality fans can be purchased for less than $100 and are well worth the cost. If your fan does not work, check into replacement options.
  • Small dehumidifiers can also help to remove the moisture from the air. Keep it in the bathroom to run after showers and remove the excess moisture from the air.
  • When redecorating your bathroom, check into mold resistant wallpapers and paints. Paints work better to keep mold out, but there is waterproof wallpaper as well. When looking at waterproof wallpaper, ensure that you are getting the real deal. Some dealers may say that a wallpaper is waterproof, but you want to ensure that it will prevent mold as well.

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