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How to remove mould in your rental property

8-minute read

Woman cleaning mould off a wall in a rental property
Anna Delves

Anna Delves

13 March 2023

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A build up of mould can be a serious health hazard and impact the lives of your tentants, so it's important that you understand your responsibilities as a landlord.

Read on for a reminder of the law and tips on how to get rid of mould in your rental property.

Is mould the landlord's responsibility?

As a landlord it's your legal responsibility to make sure your property is fit for people to live in and free from hazards.

While there's legislation around damp and mould (it's a category 1 hazard under the housing health and safety rating system), the government is facing increased pressure to make sure the law is fit for purpose.

The English Housing Survey found that almost a quarter of private rental homes don't meet the Decent Homes Standard in 2020-21. And problems with damp and mould are likely to be even greater due to soaring energy bills and the cost of living crisis.

While the Decent Homes Standard is only mandatory for social housing, the government is reviewing this for the private rental sector and it's likely to become law later in 2023 as part of the rental reforms.

What causes mould?

The most important thing when it comes to removing mould is knowing what caused it in the first place, so that once you get rid of it, it won’t come back.

Mould is generally caused by damp conditions, but there could be all sorts of reasons the damp is occurring. Most people think of damp as being cold, but hot, humid conditions are also a breeding ground for mould.

One of the main causes of damp is condensation, which is why you often find mould in bathrooms. If your bathroom - or any rooms in your property – aren’t properly ventilated then moisture can build up and mould can start to spread.

However, if condensation isn’t an issue for your property then you may have a more serious problem. This could be a burst pipe or damage to your property allowing rain to get in, or something harder to resolve like rising damp.

How to prevent the growth and spread of mould

Proper ventilation is the key to avoiding mould that’s caused by condensation. A good first step is to make sure you have an extractor fan installed in your kitchen and bathroom. If your property is a newer build, then it will likely have them already as extractor fans legally required. But for older properties you may want to think about getting one fitted.

If your property is already suffering from damp, dehumidifiers can be used to dry things out before you start to remove the mould. Though you can’t control your tenants future behaviour, if the property is empty while you solve the problem make sure to keep it properly heated and open the curtains during the daylight hours.

You can also decorate your property in a way that will help prevent the spread of mould. Using anti-mildew paint in areas prone to mould will help prevent it from growing, while using a curtain pole that keeps your curtains set further back from the windows will make them less likely to get damp.

General tips for removing mould

When you get down to removing the mould, make sure you wear protective clothing: rubber gloves, safety goggles and a dust mask will protect you from both the mould and its spores as well as the contents of the cleaning products you use.

You should also make sure the area is well ventilated – open a window if you can, or make sure your extractor fan is turned on if not.

Mould and mildew thrive on dirt, so once you’ve removed it make sure to give your entire property a thorough clean. This will help to remove any lingering spores that may cause the problem to recur.

Keep reading for specific information on how to remove mould from anywhere in your house.

How to remove mould from walls

  1. Choose a mould remover spray or create your own from one part bleach to five parts water
  2. Using a stiff bristled brush, scrub the affected area. If you have wallpaper, be careful not to damage it
  3. Rinse the area with water
  4. Dry thoroughly using a cloth

How to remove mould from furnishings

The best way to remove mould depends on what type of furnishing you’re cleaning.

How to remove mould from soft furnishings and upholstery

  1. If possible, take the item of furniture outside and place it in direct sunlight. The sunlight will help kill the mould and being outside will make cleanup easier
  2. Using a broom or stiff bristled brush, sweep areas where there is visible mould. Do not sweep outside these areas or you may spread the spores further
  3. Vacuum the affected areas using a brush attachment
  4. Mix together detergent and warm water and use the suds to clean the area
  5. Leave in the sunshine to dry, or in a warm, well ventilated room

How to remove mould from wooden furniture such as tables and cabinets

  1. Vacuum up any dry, loose spores from the affected area
  2. Using a specialist mould remover or a few drops of ordinary detergent mixed in warm water, clean the area with a well-wrung cloth
  3. Rinse with water, making sure not to soak the item you’re cleaning
  4. Dry thoroughly using a fan - if wood is left wet for too long it may spoil

How to remove mould from fabrics

  1. Before you start cleaning, make sure to check the tags first and stick to the manufacturer's wash care instructions, so as not to damage the item. This is true for both clothes and household items like bedding and curtains
  2. Using a small, stiff bristled brush, such as a toothbrush, pre-treat the stain by scrubbing it with detergent or a specialist mould cleaning product
  3. Wash the item on the hottest temperature possible

How to get rid of mould on windows

  1. Make sure you know about all the mould on and around the window – if you miss a spot it will be a lot easier for the mould to grow back
  2. Open the window and vacuum the area slowly and methodically so as not to spread the spores
  3. However, if the window area is wet, instead use a damp cloth to wipe away any loose mould
  4. Once you’ve completed either step 2 or 3, spray some white vinegar onto the affected areas and leave it to sit for a few minutes
  5. Scrub the area with baking powder then wipe clean
  6. If the problem persists, try using a fungicide instead
  7. Dry the area thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth

How to get rid of mould in your bathroom

There are a number of places mould can form in your bathroom, so make sure you’re using the right treatment for the right area.

Removing mould from tiles and grouting

  1. Apply bleach or a specialist mould cleaner to the affected area
  2. Scrub with a stiff brush
  3. Rinse with water and a clean cloth
  4. If the mould proves particularly stubborn in the grouting then you may need to regrout the tiles

Removing mould from bathtubs and showers

  1. Combine a mixture of one part hydrogen peroxide to two parts water in a spray bottle, or use a specialise mould spray
  2. Spray the affected area thoroughly and leave to sit for an hour or as instructed on the bottle
  3. Scrub with a stiff-bristled brush and hot water
  4. Rinse

Removing mould from shower curtains

  1. Put your shower curtain in the washing machine with a couple of old wash cloths
  2. Add in your normal laundry detergent with 100g of bicarbonate of soda
  3. Wash on a delicate cycle, following manufacturer's instructions for temperature
  4. Hang the curtain up until fully dry before hanging it back up again

Removing mould from basins

  1. Spray bleach or an anti-fungal spray onto the affected area
  2. Leave to sit for 10 minutes or as instructed
  3. Scrub the area with a stiff-bristled brush – an old toothbrush is good for getting into difficult to reach nooks and crannies
  4. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean cloth

Removing mould from bathroom drains

  1. Insert a funnel into your drain and pour in approximately 100g of bicarbonate of soda
  2. Add approximately 250ml of white vinegar and quickly remove the funnel as the mixture will begin to froth
  3. Wait 15 minutes for the froth to settle
  4. Run hot water down the drain for one minute, wait five minutes, then run cold water for one minute
  5. Do not pour vinegar down your drain if you have recently used a chemical drain cleaner as the two can combine to form a toxic gas

How to remove mould from silicone sealant

  1. Liberally apply bleach where the mould has grown and leave to sit for 20 minutes
  2. Scrub with an old toothbrush to remove the mould
  3. Rinse with warm water
  4. If the mould persists it may have grown behind the sealant, in which case you'll have to remove the sealant, scrub the area in the above manner, and then relay the sealant. You can buy anti-fungal silicone sealant which will help prevent future mould growth

How to remove mould from a washing machine

  1. Run a hot wash cycle while your washing machine is empty using bleach in place of your normal detergent
  2. When the wash has finished, mix one part bleach to four parts water in a spray bottle
  3. Spray any remaining areas of mould on the rubber seal, making sure to get into the folds of the seal
  4. Wipe the area clean with warm water and a non-abrasive cloth
  5. If the mould is stubborn, leave the bleach and water mixture to sit for a few minutes before wiping it away

How to remove mould from vertical blinds

Techniques to remove mould from metal or otherwise waterproof blinds may damage fabric blinds, so make sure you use the right technique for the type of blinds you have.

To clean mould from metal blinds

  1. Remove the blinds from the wall and place them in the bath
  2. Soak for an hour or two in warm water, detergent and a splash of bleach
  3. After soaking, wipe any areas of mould with a soft cloth
  4. Rinse and hang up to dry. Only return them to the wall once they are completely dry

How to clean mould from fabric blinds

  1. Unclip the blinds and place them on a flat surface
  2. Brush away any dry, loose mould using a soft brush
  3. Mix up a mild detergent solution and gently wipe any remaining mould away
  4. To rinse, blot the area with a clean cloth dipped in water
  5. Do not soak the blinds or rub too hard - if the mould persists, let the blinds dry and then repeat the process
  6. Hang the blinds on a washing line to dry, making sure they hang straight to avoid any creases

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How to get rid of mould on ceilings

  1. Once you’ve worked out what’s causing the mould to form – a leak, for example – and fixed the problem, wash the affected area in a mild detergent solution
  2. Let the ceiling dry and then wash again with a mixture of one part bleach to four parts water. Be aware that this may discolour your ceiling and you might have to re-paint once the mould has been removed
  3. Wait for 20 minutes and then apply the bleach solution again
  4. Leave to dry
  5. To make sure all spores are killed, it’s best to clean the area again with a fungicide

How to remove mould from a mattress

  1. If possible, take the mattress outside to an area where the sun can reach it. If not, make sure the room you’re in is well ventilated and will allow the mattress to dry once you’ve finished
  2. If you’re outside, place the mattress on an old sheet or blanket to keep it from picking up any dirt from the ground
  3. Using a stiff brush, brush away any loose mould from your mattress
  4. Mix one part three per cent hydrogen peroxide with three parts water in a spray bottle and lightly spritz the affected areas
  5. Once it has dried, apply another layer of the cleaning solution
  6. Wait 15 minutes then scrub with a moist cloth making sure not to soak the mattress
  7. Leave the mattress to dry thoroughly before returning it to the bed

How to remove mould from kitchen cabinets

  1. Mix a solution of one part bleach to four parts water in a spray bottle, or buy a commercial mould remover, and spritz the affected areas
  2. Leave to sit for 15 minutes, or as instructed, then scrub with a stiff bristled brush. An old toothbrush can be used to get at any grooves or embelsihments
  3. Dampen a clean cloth and wipe down the area
  4. Leave the cabinet doors open to help with drying. You can use a fan to speed up the process.

Landlord guides and resources

Have you had a problem with mould in your rental property? Got any tips for dealing with it? Let us know in the comments.

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Photograph: epiximages/
Anna Delves

Written by

Anna Delves

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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