How to Kill and Prevent Basement Mold

mold  on a cement block wall
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • $20-200
What You'll Need
Paper towels, rag or sponge

Basement mold can be a serious problem. Mold, while not particularly resilient, can return very quickly, even when it has been cleaned properly. A few varieties of mold can cause health problems. Even everyday mold can cause damage to food, paper, drywall, and other materials. Following these steps will ensure your basement is mold free.

In some cases, you may need to give up on cleaning and simply remove and replace the moldy materials. In these cases, you will still need to take steps to prevent mold from popping up again.

Step 1 - Clean

A woman cleans basement mold.

Killing mold that is already visible is actually fairly easy. A simple borax solution is enough to do it. Borax is a common cleaning material. Unlike bleach, it is capable of killing mold on porous surfaces. Additionally, borax does not release harmful fumes. Borax is toxic, though, so keep your children and pets away from it.

To create a borax solution, mix 1 cup of borax with 1 gallon of water. Apply the mixture to a rag, sponge, or paper towel. Once it has been applied, wipe the affected area. You should only need to wipe it a few times.

Step 2 - Remove Humidity

A moldy wall.

Mold needs humidity to grow. Because your mold is now gone and you are trying to prevent it from coming back, the best thing you can do is keep your basement free of humidity. Installing a dehumidifier should do the trick. Dehumidifiers are relatively simple. If you plug them in and leave them alone, they should do their jobs correctly. Start your dehumidifier on its lowest setting and turn it up as needed.

Many dehumidifiers consume a lot of power. An air conditioner can serve as a dehumidifier in a pinch, so if you have one, try it out first to see if it is enough to remove the humidity from your basement. If not, try a dehumidifier.

Step 3 - Address Additional Problems

A woman looks at a wall with mold.

Sometimes, a dehumidifier is not enough. In these cases, it is likely that your basement has more serious problems than simple mold or high humidity. Check your basement pipes for leaks, cracks, and other problems.

Additionally, a leak or problem in another area of your home could also be causing the problem. If you find the problem and it is beyond your ability to solve, or you are unable to figure out what is causing your basement to be so humid, you should consult a professional.

In some cases, basement humidity will come from something outside your control, such as a high water table.

Following these steps will kill mold in your basement and prevent it from coming back. When in doubt, or if you suspect black mold, contact a professional.