How to Clean and Prevent Mold on the Bathroom Ceiling

When there’s a fungus among us, you’ll want to deal with it ASAP

Lauren Wellbank
Written by Lauren Wellbank
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated June 14, 2022
A luxurious bright bathroom
Photo: sl-f / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images


Flex your DIY muscles.

Time to complete

1 hour

It could take up to 5 hours, depending on how much mold you’re dealing with.



Keep it wallet-friendly.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.

What you'll need:


  • Spray bottle
  • Eye protection
  • Face mask
  • Stepladder
  • Extendable cleaning brush or scrubber
  • Microfiber cloths


  • Borax
  • White vinegar

Bathrooms are a haven for mold and mildew. Dark, damp spaces make the perfect breeding ground, which is why you’ll frequently find it growing in the cracks of your tub, shower surround, and even under your sink. Sometimes, mold can even appear on your bathroom ceiling, making it easy to miss but hard to reach. Fortunately, tackling your growing fungus—and keeping it from coming back—is doable with this guide.

Prepping to Clean Mold

You should never try to clean areas of mold that are more than 10 square feet. For areas this size and larger, you’ll need to call in a local mold removal pro. Before you get started, you should also decide if you’re going to go with a DIY mold cleaning solution or purchase one. Both have their advantages. With a DIY solution, you know exactly what chemicals you’re bringing into your home, and with a store-bought brand, you can be confident it’ll work. But both can cause you to make a major mold cleanup mistake if you’re not careful. 

Once you have your solution, test it out on an inconspicuous part of your ceiling to ensure it won’t damage your paint. You never want to wait to find out the cleaner you’re using is going to stain or warp your paint until after you’ve covered your entire ceiling with it.

6 Steps to Cleaning and Preventing Mold

  1. Mix Your Cleaning Solution

    If you’re going the DIY route with your cleaner, you’ll want to mix the solution ahead of time. We recommend combining 2 teaspoons of borax with 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Once your solution is mixed, transfer it to a spray bottle for easy application.

    Note: If you’re opting for a store-bought cleaner, you should skip this step, as you never want to mix cleaning solutions together, even if one is homemade.

  2. Put on Your Safety Gear

    We all know what goes up must come down, which is why it’s so important to wear protective gear while cleaning your ceiling. You’ll want to make sure your eyes are covered and you’re wearing a face mask to minimize the amount of chemical and mold spores you’re breathing in. If possible, open a window or turn on your bathroom air vent as well.

  3. Spray the Mold With Your Cleaning Solution

    Stand on a stepladder to reach the ceiling, and spray your mold cleaning solution wherever you see the mold and liberally around the outskirts of the areas where it appears. Once your ceiling is saturated, let the solution sit for 30 minutes. 

    During this time, you can get the rest of your cleaning supplies ready.

  4. Scrub the Ceiling

    Using small circular motions, scrub your ceiling clean from left to right. Once you’ve gone over the entire area, rinse your scrubber and take a look at your handy work. If you can still see remnants of the mold, even if it’s just small amounts, you’ll want to repeat steps 3 and 4.

  5. Wipe the Ceiling

    After all of your cleaning is done, use fresh water and a microfiber cloth to wipe the surface clean. You may need to do more than one pass to ensure you’ve gotten all the remaining cleaning solution off your ceiling. Work like you did when scrubbing, and go from left to right in small circular motions.

  6. Pat It Dry

    A spacious bathroom with a skylight
    Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

    Moisture is the enemy when it comes to fighting mold, so you’ll want to use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe away any excess water left behind from when you were rinsing. It’s also a good idea to leave a window open and the fan on to help speed up the drying process.

Keeping Mold Away

"I have worked alongside many building contractors, and when it comes to mold, their advice is to locate and eliminate the source," says Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dust Busters janitorial company in Williamsport, PA. "Oftentimes, the source can be tracked to the ventilation—or lack thereof."

Unfortunately, you’ll never be able to eliminate humidity from your bathroom—especially if you’re a fan of taking steaming hot showers from time to time. Combat future mold growth by limiting how much moisture remains in the air. 

Always shower with your bathroom vent on, and remember to crack a window when you get out. According to HomeAdvisor, professionally installing a bathroom fan costs around $380. If your bathroom doesn’t have a vent installed, consider adding one by contacting a local handyperson.

DIY Cleaning vs. Hiring a Pro

Cleaning your ceiling is hard work. Not only does it require harsh chemicals, but you’ll need to spend a portion of the job on a stool or stepladder and have your hands above your head. If that doesn’t sound like an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, you can hire a house cleaner. A local house cleaning service will be priced based on the size of your home and can run you from $0.07 to $0.15 per square foot.

Sometimes, mold can be the sign of a bigger issue and wreak havoc where it’s growing. You may discover your moldy ceiling is actually the sign of a much larger problem. In that case, you’ll need a mold remediation service to come out and take a look. Mold remediation can cost between $1,130 and $3,350, depending on the size and scope of the issue.

Additional Questions

What are the common causes of bathroom mold?

Humidity, moisture, and a lack of ventilation can all cause mold to grow on surfaces in and around your home. 

What are the dangers of mold in your bathroom?

Mold can damage the surface it’s growing on, cause mold-related sickness, and even affect your upper respiratory system.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.