5 Effective Steps to Get Rid of Mold in a Dorm Room

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: March 20, 2024

It’s more than a housekeeping hassle. Mold in a dorm room can quickly spread throughout the entire building. Airborne spores attach to clothing, move through open doorways and migrate across campus. It doesn’t take long for the problem to affect neighboring residence halls.

Left untreated, a mold outbreak can make students and staff sick, result in dorm evacuations and cost your college or university extended downtime.

How to Test for Mold and Mildew

black mold test kits

Is that fuzzy stuff on the shower curtain mold or mildew? Could the black mold on wood trim in dorm hallways be toxic? The type of fungus in your dorm determines which mold cleanup process is the safest and most effective.

Test for mold by applying several drops of bleach to the affected area. If it appears lighter a few minutes later, you’re dealing with ordinary mildew. If you’re worried that a slimy dark, growth might be toxic black mold, have it tested by a certified mold remediation contractor.

How to Get Rid of Mold in Dorm Rooms

Cleaning up ordinary mold in a dorm room isn’t hard, but it can easily turn into a bigger problem. You don’t want it to spread to surrounding rooms, and you don’t want to expose yourself to any health hazards. Follow these five steps for safely cleaning up mold in dorm settings.

1. Size Up the Job

Don’t try to clean up an area that measures more than 3 square feet. Only tackle mold cleanup on non-porous surfaces. If the project seems too big or you’re dealing with porous materials, call in mold removal professionals.

2. Protect Your Personal Safety

Protect your health with basic safety gear. You’ll need disposable clothes, gloves and shoe covers, respiratory protection and non-vented goggles. You’ll also need heavy plastic trash bags.

3. Protect Adjacent Dorm Rooms

Before starting any mold cleanup, close all doors and windows in the affected room. Cover them with plastic sheeting, and seal off wall and ceiling vents.

4. Choose the Right Cleaner

Bleach is your first choice for killing mold spores on non-porous surfaces. You can also buy products formulated for mold cleanup. Porous materials like drywall and carpeting need to be treated by mold removal specialists.

5. Scrub, Dry and Double-Check

Scrub moldy areas with a stiff brush dipped in your cleaning solution. Thoroughly rinse several times. Plan on throwing away buckets, brushes and rags. When you’re done, set up fans to dry scrubbed surfaces. Over the next few days, run a dehumidifier, and double-check for any signs of renewed mold.

Where Does Mold Grow in a Dorm Room?

Cleaning up a patch of mold doesn’t guarantee it won’t come back. If mold keeps growing in the original location, you need to identify and eliminate the source of moisture that feeds it. Most mold problems tend to breed in these dorm room areas.

Corners piled up with damp towels and clothes
• Dirty shower stalls, fixtures and curtains
• Damp areas behind toilets and under sinks
• Exhaust fans in bathrooms
• Leaking window sills and frames

Tackling mold in an older residence hall poses a number of serious challenges. Leaky roofs and faulty plumbing result in hidden wet spots behind walls. Mold in air conditioner units spreads through a building’s ductwork. Without professional mold remediation, an older dorm can become contaminated with toxic black mold.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Students have a right to a healthy living environment, but they’re also responsible for keeping their dorm rooms clean. Facility management has an obligation to educate students about the health risks involved in a mold outbreak.

Students and staff should work together and develop strategies for minimizing mold problems. It starts with good housekeeping. Vigilance plays an important part too.

Everyone needs to know what to look for and how to report mold growth in dorm settings. Everyone shares the responsibility for minimizing this type of campus-wide health threat.

Let the Pros Keep Your Dorm Healthy

We understand the concerns involved in keeping residential halls healthy. When area colleges and universities need mold removal professionals, they turn to us. Our comprehensive services cover it all including repairs and restoration.

You can trust ServiceMaster by Zaba for industry-certified expertise and project planning tailored to your Chicago campus. Give us a call today for more information about our certified mold removal and remediation process.