How To Get Rid of Mold On A Ceiling

mold Jul 16, 2018

by editorial team and Sophia Ruan Gushée


Mold is common in the home. It's tracked in on shoes and clothes from the outdoors, and enters the home when the windows and doors are open. Most of us can tolerate these amounts of mold. But when the roof leaks or plumbing pipes break, there may be larger amounts of mold that accumulate and cause health problems for children and adults.

How to identify mold on a ceiling?

Mold looks like colored spots or fuzzy growths. Often, we think mold is black. But it can also be yellow, orange, or other colors.  

There are many types of mold, but all of them release tiny spores to reproduce. So those spores constantly become airborne.

Mold is caused by excessive moisture. Every month, you should walk around the house to see if the ceiling has signs of water leaks. Check for spotting, or varied colors on the ceiling. These may be mold spots.

How to identify the sources of mold and eradicate them?

To remove mold on a ceiling, first try to identify the source of the mold. Signs of water damage—such as soggy drywall or water rings—on the ceiling, indicate potential leaking in the roof or chimney. Fixing the leak should occur before fighting the mold: A continual leak means continual mold.

Sometimes mold remediation will actually involve demolition of existing building materials and may be the first step in fixing the leak source. Have a mold remediation company or contractor give their advice on how to best proceed in order to keep your kids and family safe from further mold-induced illness.

How to remove the mold quickly and effectively?

The safest way to pursue mold remediation is to hire a certified professional mold remediation company. Those folks are certified in mold removal and follow a strict process that ensures the mold spores aren’t spread to another part of the home. They wear special suits, create negative air pressure (so that air and airborne mold spores don’t circulate to the rest of the home), clean flat surfaces post-removal, and take other precautions.

Hard surfaces—such as glass and metal—can typically be cleaned without removal, along with some wood, plaster, and concrete. Porous or absorbent materials that are moldy typically need to be discarded. Examples of this are carpeting, drywall, furniture, and mattresses. (1)

If you decide to clean up the mold yourself, use caution to protect yourself and the spread of mold spores by: (2)

  • Wear a respirator mask to protect your nose and mouth airways. Look for a mask that states it can be used for mold removal
  • Wear protective clothing that can be washed or thrown away when you’re done
  • Cover your hands and eyes with gloves and eye protection. Use goggles that provide protection on all sides
  • Be sure to contain the amount of dust and mold that is created during the entire removal process, from cutting materials out to carrying them outside to transporting them to the appropriate disposal site. Check with your garbage service provider to see if you can dispose of moldy materials in your normal garbage or if it requires a special pick up


To avoid the allergies, asthma, respiratory infections, and other health effects caused by mold, the mold should be removed or remediated. Check for leaks or sources of moisture and fix those first. If the cause of high moisture is not fixed, the mold problem will continue to come back. Once the source is fixed, contact a mold remediation expert or contractor to lay out a plan for remediating the mold. If you opt to get rid of the mold yourself, be sure to wear protective gear that can be washed or disposed of and to contain dust and mold that is removed during remediation.


(1) North Carolina Public Health – Mold

(2) North Carolina Public Health – Mold Precautions

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Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


This article is for informational purposes only. This information is provided “as is” without warranty.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. We do not offer medical advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other opinion on your conditions or treatment options. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Ruan Living.

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