How to clean mould and mildew stains

remove mould mildew stains
How to remove mould and mildew stainsWestend61 - Getty Images

Not only is mould or mildew in your home unpleasant to look at, it can also pollute your air and risk damage to your health. The best thing is to tackle it right away by both removing it and addressing the root of the issue.

Here's what you need to know.

Prevention is better than cure

Mould and mildew thrive in damp, humid conditions where there is inadequate ventilation.

Stop them growing in the first place by keeping the house dry and well aired. This means opening windows and allowing air to circulate - even during the colder months. If certain parts of your home suffer from high levels of condensation or if you dry your washing on a clothes airer in the house, consider buying a dehumidifier.

In bathrooms and kitchens, make sure extractor fans are clean and fully operational so that they expel the moist air as effectively as possible. If mould and mildew do appear, here's how to tackle them.

remove mould mildew stains
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To prevent the growth of mould and mildew, leave the shower door or curtain open after showering - this allows the humid air to dissipate. If you need to tackle growth on a shower curtain, scrub it with a bleach solution and rinse thoroughly after as bleach can rot the fabric.

For a greener alternative, soak your shower curtain in a solution of soda crystals, following pack instructions. Dry well before hanging again.

For the rest of the shower, clean the shower tray with all-purpose bathroom cleaner, rinse and wipe dry. For grouting and sealant, use a fungicidal bathroom spray regularly to prevent regrowth. Scrub discoloured grout with an old toothbrush dipped in a solution of one part bleach to four parts water or try a specialist mould remover, we like HG Mould Spray. In hard water areas, use a limescale remover once a week.


Brush or vacuum away spores and spray with a mould remover suitable for soft furnishings such as Furniture Clinic mould remover (test first in an inconspicuous area). Dab remaining marks with a mild disinfectant until they have been removed, then sponge with cold water to rinse, but avoid over wetting the area.

Alternatively, lightly spray the affected area with a solution of one-part white vinegar to two-parts water, do not over wet the area or the excess moisture could make the mould and mildew problem worse. Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over the area moistened with the vinegar solution and leave for 24 hours before vacuuming up. The vinegar should tackle the mould and mildew growth and the bicarb will help remove any lasting odours.

You may be tempted to opt for a full carpet shampoo, but if you already have a problem with excessive moisture, this could make the problem worse. So, in this case make sure the room is very well ventilated or bring in a dehumidifier until the carpet is thoroughly dry.

remove mould mildew stains
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Washable fabrics

Normal washing should remove light stains when they are fresh. Treat stubborn stains on white fabric (except nylon and items with a 'do not bleach' symbol) by soaking in a solution of chlorine bleach (20ml bleach to 5 litres water).

Treat coloureds and non-bleachable whites with a stain remover such as Stain Devils Fruit and Drink which is formulated to tackle mildew stains, following the manufacturer's instructions.


To clean blackened walls, use a solution of chlorine bleach and water – one part bleach to four parts water – or a good mould remover such as Astonish Mould and Mildew Blaster.

Try on a hidden area first, as bleach could affect the colour. Scrub with a stiff brush, rinse thoroughly and dry. But be aware that the problem will reoccur until you find the cause of the damp and address it.

GHI Tip: When removing mould and mildew, make sure you keep the area well ventilated and if you suffer from allergies or respiratory problems, it's advisable to wear a mask.

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