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Air filter and drying device for water infiltration, moist, damp, leakage and mold infestation. Toxic fungus growing on an interior wall with dehumidifier next to iit

How To Get Rid of Mold in Your Basement (2024 Guide)

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Author Icon By Angela Bunt Updated 01/14/2024

A musty smell that creeps up from the basement may indicate a common but potentially hazardous intruder: mold. Act quickly if you detect it. Symptoms caused by mold include nasal congestion, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes and skin. Reactions can be more intense for people with asthma or allergies.

We’ll explore what causes mold in basements, techniques to address it, and tips to prevent it from returning in the guide below.

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Bathroom mold removal typically costs between $500 and $1,500.

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Attic Mold Removal

Removing mold from an attic costs $1,000–$9,000.

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Basement Mold Removal

Basement mold removal projects typically cost $500–$4,000.

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What Causes Mold in Basements?

There are several possible causes of household mold.

  • Appliance issues: Appliances with poor seals or ventilation, such as dryers, can generate condensation, which fosters mold growth.
  • Cracks: Rainwater can pour through foundation cracks and generate mold in as little as one to two days.
  • Faulty sealing or pump systems: Inadequate sealing or slow pump systems can result in floods, creating a hospitable environment for mold.
  • Flooding: Basements are prone to flooding, which can lead to destructive water damage and mold growth.
  • Inadequate ventilation: Moisture and humidity accumulate without proper ventilation and airflow, which creates an inviting environment for mold.

How To Get Rid of Mold on Different Materials

The first step to eradicating a mold infestation is understanding how it operates on different surface types. Here’s how to remove mold from different surfaces:

White vinegar kills more than 80% of mold species and can be effective in eliminating mold on wood. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle, then spray generously onto the affected area. Wipe dry after one hour. Sand if necessary and apply a wood sealer to prevent future growth.

Go outside to brush loose mold off of fabrics such as curtains or upholstery. Wash the fabrics with hot water and detergent, adding vinegar or baking soda for mold-fighting power. Dry the cleaned pieces in the sun.

Cover the affected area with baking soda and let it sit overnight. The next day, scrub visible mold spots with a brush and vinegar. You can vacuum dry mold if your vacuum has a HEPA filter. If the mold has reached the carpet padding, a carpet replacement may be the safest approach.

Mold can hide deep in air conditioning ductwork. We recommend seeking professional help to address mold in HVAC systems. 

If mold has compromised the structural integrity of a drywall panel, it’s best to replace it. If the drywall is salvageable, remove mold spores with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. Use a scrub brush soaked in hydrogen peroxide to kill the mold on the drywall. Allow the area to air dry and then prime and paint it using mold-resistant products. 

Mix a solution of half water and half vinegar, pour it down any affected pipes, and allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes before flushing with water. If mold is on the outside of exposed pipes, scrub the mold with the same solution. Fix leaks to prevent future mold issues.


How To Protect Yourself During Mold Removal

It’s essential to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep yourself safe while removing mold and to prevent mold toxicity. Here’s a list of PPE items you should have: 

  • Disposable coveralls
  • Disposable gloves
  • Head cover
  • N95 respirator mask
  • Rubber boots
  • Safety goggles
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Work in a well-ventilated area, take regular breaks, and stay hydrated while removing mold. Dispose of contaminated PPE properly, After you remove the mold, wash your hands and body thoroughly to minimize potential exposure to mold toxins.

Mold Removal Methods

Knowing how to properly clean mold on various surfaces is essential, as different materials benefit from different strategies. Use cleaning agents such as bleach carefully to avoid potentially harmful chemical reactions.

Consider employing these common mold-removal methods at the first sign of mold in your basement: 

Bleach

Dilute one cup of bleach in one gallon of water and apply the solution directly to the mold. Let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub the mold away with a brush. Avoid using bleach on porous surfaces such as wood or drywall. Never mix it with ammonia or other household cleaners. 

A gallon of bleach costs between $4 and $8. 

Cost data in this article was sourced from Home Advisor, Angi, and Amazon.

Borax

Dilute one cup of borax, a naturally occurring mineral, in a gallon of water. Apply generously to the mold. Allow the mixture to sit for several minutes before scrubbing the mold away. Rinse the surface to avoid leaving behind a powdery residue. 

Borax costs between $2 and $5.

Concrobium

Concrobium is a specialized mold control product that can be applied directly to a mold surface. Avoid oversaturating the area and maintain proper ventilation while using the product. Expect to pay between $13 and $60 for Concrobium, depending on the bottle size.

Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers work by extracting excess moisture from the air, creating an inhospitable environment for mold growth. Place your dehumidifier in a damp area and regularly empty the water collection container. 

A permanent basement dehumidifier can cost anywhere from $800 to $2,000. Portable dehumidifiers require more maintenance but are less expensive. 

French Drain

A French drain is a trench filled with gravel that redirects water away from your foundation. Installing a French drain around the perimeter of your basement costs anywhere from $5,000 to $13,500.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an affordable household staple that can be used on mold. Mix it with water in a 1:1 ratio before applying it to the mold. Let it sit for several minutes before scrubbing. 

A small bottle of hydrogen peroxide costs no more than a few dollars.

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps automatically pump water out of your basement when the water table rises. Sump pumps cost between $500 and $4,000.


Should You Hire a Professional?

Addressing basement mold may require professionals for more powerful or dangerous strains. Here are some scenarios when it’s recommended to call in the pros:

  • Mold types such as black mold cover a large area.
  • The mold is hidden in ducts.
  • Dealing with mold causes you health problems or allergic reactions.
  • You’re uncertain how to locate or eliminate the type of mold in your basement.

A professional mold remediation company can ensure thorough removal of the mold, prevent future issues, and save you time and money, making the cost of mold remediation well worth it.


Preventing mold in your basement is a critical final step in any mold-removal project. Here’s a comprehensive approach:
Enhance ventilation: Ensure bathroom or kitchen fans send moist air outside. If exhaust fans aren’t available, open your windows, cover cooking pots, and take shorter, cooler showers.
Evaluate your basement finishing project: Only finish your basement with insulation and wallboard if it’s very dry. Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting. Instead, choose area rugs that can be cleaned and dried outdoors.
Invest in a dehumidifier: A dehumidifier can remove excess moisture from damp basements. Make sure the windows are closed during use.
Keep your home dry: Promptly repair roof and plumbing leaks, and ensure the ground around your house slopes away from the foundation to prevent flooding.

Our Conclusion

The first step in a basement mold-removal project is uncovering the cause of the growth. Once you’ve identified the source, you can develop a plan based on the material the mold has infected, the location of the growth, and the mold type. 

With the right plan, you can eliminate mold growth in your basement and enjoy a safer living space, whether you approach the growth as a DIY project or choose to hire professionals.

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FAQ About Basement Mold

Will drying out my basement kill mold?

Drying out your basement won’t kill mold permanently. Mold can reactivate when exposed to water. The key is eliminating the source of moisture to prevent mold growth.

Will a dehumidifier kill mold?

No, dehumidifiers don’t kill mold. However, they can prevent mold growth by reducing humidity. Removing the source of mold is the most effective way to deal with growth.

Does bleach kill mold?

Bleach does not effectively kill mold on porous surfaces such as wood. Bleach is suitable for mold treatment on hard and impermeable surfaces, such as tubs and tiles.

What kills mold on basement concrete?

Bleach kills mold on basement concrete. Vinegar can also kill mold, but it’s not advised for use on concrete, as its acidity can harm the concrete’s sealer or top layer. 

How do I get rid of moldy basement carpet?

Address leaks or high humidity, then sprinkle the carpet with baking powder to absorb excess moisture. Vacuum, use a carpet cleaning solution, and consider professional cleaning if needed.

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