Can You Paint Over Mold? A Definitive Answer from an Expert

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can i paint over mold

So, you’ve discovered mold somewhere in your home or business. I can only imagine your disgust and frustration! You want to just get rid of it, as quickly as possible. The question seems to have popped into your mind: can I paint over mold? Can it be that easy? Will it just go away?

The simple answer is that while you can physically paint over mold, no, you shouldn’t paint over mold. Why should you take our word for it? Because we’re an award-winning professional mold removal company, and we’ve been dealing with mold in all its forms for over 20 years. So here’s Cleaner Guys’ expert advice about painting over mold.

Table of Contents

What Happens if You Paint Over Mold?

If you paint over mold without thoroughly removing it first, it will continue to grow under the surface, and it will almost certainly eventually appear again. Mold is a fungus that roots deeply into whatever organic material it grows on, therefore cleaning it off the surface or just painting over it won’t kill the mold rooting inside the drywall, wood, or carpet it’s on.

However, some mold doesn’t root deeply, and is very easy to clean! If you want to be able to quickly tell the difference between the deeply-rooting mold and mildew (surface-level mold), click here.

Do Mold Killing Primers Work? Do Mold Killing Paints Work?

“What about mold-killing primers and paints?”, you may ask. “I’ve seen paint brands at the hardware store that say they’re for mold and mildew!

It’s true, there are great primers and paints to help prevent mold and mildew. We here at Cleaner Guys use them every day! However, we have found that they do not completely eliminate mold — even if they claim to. They are designed only to help prevent mold or mildew from starting to grow. In most cases, you will find such disclaimers on their own websites, such as this page for KILZ.

The correct way to use mold-resistant primers and paints is to first kill and remove the mold growth, and then apply your choice of mold-resistant primer or paint, to help prevent mold from growing there again.

A Cleaner Guys technician spraying a mold-resistant primer after mold removal at a Cleaner Guys job site.

What Kills Mold On Walls?

So, since painting over mold is ineffective, what do you do? How do you clean mold on walls? Unfortunately, if you Google this question, you may see bleach and vinegar listed as the best options. In our experience, neither of these home remedies truly disappears most mold problems, though they may lessen it for a time.

Bleach is typically ineffective, usually causes cosmetic damage to the surface you put it on, and can be risky because of the dangerous fumes. Vinegar can be effective on very small patches of mold, but it is also not completely effective. Visit our articles on why bleach is not an effective mold killer and why vinegar is (usually) not an effective mold killer to learn more.

The Only 100% Effective Solution for Mold Removal

While some home remedies like vinegar may be effective on very small areas of mold, in our decades of experience, the only 100% effective mold removal methods must be performed by certified professionals. They have the training, solutions, and equipment to deal with mold so it won’t come back again.

In our mold removal jobs at Cleaner Guys, if the mold only covers about 2 square feet or less, we’re sometimes able to successfully kill it by saturating the area with commercial-grade fungicide. But most of the time, when the mold covers an area larger than 2 square feet, the only real solution is complete removal of the affected materials. This is because the mold you can see on the surface is usually only a small part of the mold’s actual spread. It usually grows more rapidly unseen, behind the drywall.

Removing mold-infected materials is not something you should attempt to do yourself. For your safety and to get the job done right, only trained and certified mold removal specialists should handle removing moldy materials.

If you’re not sure how to find a trustworthy certified mold removal company near you, check out this guide.

Photo of a Cleaner Guys technician removing moldy drywall on a Cleaner Guys job site.


This wraps up our professional answer to the question, “Can I paint over mold?” You should not paint over a moldy area without having it professionally removed and cleaned first. Paint will not suffocate and kill the mold. Neither will mold-resistant paints and primers, because they are designed to prevent new mold and mildew from growing, not kill already-growing mold. Vinegar may help kill very small areas of mold (under 1 square foot). Mold growth larger than 2 square feet should be removed by a professional mold removal company.

More Resources

Need to know more about mold? We’ve got you covered! Visit our vast archives of useful information on mold here, or look through the list below to get a few ideas on what else you should be thinking about.

Can mold make you sick? Find out if you should worry here. ➜

What happens if you touch black mold? Learn what you’re triggering here. ➜

Top 5 sneaky places mold grows and hides from you! ➜

If You Need a Mold Removal Company Near You…

If you reside in Western Washington State, anywhere between Seattle and Bellingham, we encourage you to give Cleaner Guys a call today about your mold removal! We’re the only mold removal company in the area that boasts award-winning customer service, and some of the best prices and workmanship around! Tap the number 360-757-4300 in the menu at the top of your screen now.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No part of this article is medical or legal advice, and may not be used as such. For all serious medical matters, consult your doctor. For all serious legal matters, consult your legal advisor. This article contains Cleaner Guys’ experience and opinions only.

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