Finding mold growth in high moisture areas is always a common issue. Take, for example, your bathroom. It is humid, dark, and warm, making mold growth a perpetual problem.
Without enough ventilation or routine towel-drying after each use, black mold can easily take up residence in your shower and thrive!
Fortunately, you can do things to combat mold growth just by using basic household cleaning products and simple prevention measures.
Discolorations in your bathroom’s tile and grotto are not just unsightly; they can be very dangerous. Once you’ve figured out which type of mold you’re dealing with, you can wipe it off with the appropriate plan of attack.
However, it is likely you’re dealing with black mold. Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold or toxic black mold, is a variety of microfungus that produces its conidia in slime heads. It’s the one we typically see in humid or water-damaged environments.
How to Eliminate The Mold
Before we break down the steps here, it’s important to note that if you need to perform any removal of black mold, which covers more than a few square feet, we recommend taking special precautions. There is a section later in this article that covers these steps more in-depth.
Step 1: Remove the mold
What you need:
- Antifungal surface cleaner
- Sponge or cloth to wipe
- Start by wiping the mold off non-porous surfaces such as tiles and porcelain.
- Afterward, use a scrub brush on any stubborn areas and rinse thoroughly with water.
Step 2: Clean up the stains
What you need:
- Equal parts of bleach and water
- Mix this in a spray bottle
- Let the mixture sit for a few minutes on any black stains left on non-porous surfaces.
- Return and respray the area, this time, use a scrub brush to remove any remaining discoloration.
Tip: An old toothbrush reaches the narrow lanes of the grout
Step 3: Eliminate mold spores
While bleach is excellent for removing black mold-related stains, it is not the most effective way to completely remove mold spores.
To keep mold at bay, spray vinegar onto the area and allow it to dry so that the cleaner can finish any remaining mold spores.
Do this by:
1) Pouring white vinegar in a spray bottle, but it’s important not to dilute with water. The acidic qualities of vinegar make it quite deadly to mold, which is why you don’t want to water it down.
2) Spray the affected surface areas with a straight vinegar solution and then wait for one hour. If there are windows in your bathroom, open them, and let the air out during this time.
3) After an hour has passed, use hot water and a clean towel to wash the area. Make sure the surfaces are dry to prevent the mold from coming back.
Keep this spray bottle of vinegar in your bathroom at all times and use it to spray mold-prone surfaces whenever they get wet. This simple preventive measure will make it difficult for mold to grow or return, which means you won’t have to go through the annoying (and gross) hassle of removing it.
Tip: To make the vinegar smell like potent, you can try adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the bottle.
Bleach Doesn’t Kill Mold
It’s important to note that bleach doesn’t kill the mold. It merely removes the stain created by the mold. As mentioned above, vinegar is a great way to kill the mold.
Start with the vinegar method and move on to this method for the best results:
1) Mix 1 tsp of liquid soap and 1 cup of baking soda.
2) Add a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender, peppermint, citrus, etc., and then add enough hot water to make the paste.
3) In a separate bowl, combine 1 part of the bleach with two parts of the water. Add the mixture to a bottle of spray.
4) Use the bleaching solution to spray the affected areas in your bathroom. Let it sit down and dry up.
5) After the solution has dried, use a bleach solution to respray the area and, this time, use a scrub brush.
6) Rinse the wall, and if after rinsing, you still see the mold, go back to it and repeat until the mold disappears.
Step 4: Prevent future mold growth
After going through the process of removing mold, you’ll probably want to prevent mold from ever coming back in the future.
First things first:
1) Keep vinegar on hand!
Vinegar kills 82% of the mold species. Plus, as we’ve mentioned already, it’s excellent at preventing mold in the first place. Another good thing about vinegar is that it doesn’t contain toxic fumes like many other agents used to eliminate molds.
2) Reduce the humidity
If you don’t already have one, you’ll really want to install an exhaust fan. Running a fan every time you shower or bathe and a few minutes afterward should remove any residual steam and dry the air.
3) Wipe dry after every use
What you need:
Wipe down glass doors and tiles to remove extra moisture from those surfaces. Also wipe the tub out after each use, so that the mold doesn’t have anywhere to grow.
4) Clean regularly
As we mention a lot here on Fresh Home Guide, the more often you do the small clean, the less often you’ll have to do the big clean.
To really ensure mold is not taking up space in your home, you’ll want to do a thorough clean of your bathroom weekly. This consistent regimen should keep the mold spores from taking hold and running wild. Rotate an antifungal cleaner into the routine at least once a month.
If you think this might be too much work, remember that grout cleaning is just as important to maintain in your bathroom as anything else. If the mold spreads, grout or caulking will need to be replaced, which will be costly.
Removing Mold Safely (Bigger Job)
Suppose black mold is a severe issue in your shower and covers more than a few square feet. In that case, we recommend taking special precautions to ensure you’re not contaminating the rest of the house and also protecting yourself from breathing high concentrations of spores and VOCs.
Here are the steps:
1) Wear old clothes and shoes that you can wash or throw away after the cleaning work.
2) In addition to goggles and gloves, wear special N-95 or P-100 respirators.
3) Set up an old box fan in the window to ventilate the room while working. Throw the fan out when you’re done cleaning because the spores are almost impossible to clean.
4) Tape plywood or cardboard around your window openings so that the spores can’t blow back in.
5) To control the airborne spores, use a garden sprayer to moisten the moldy areas while you work.
6) Turn off your furnace or air conditioner and cover ducts and doors to contain spores.
If you have a problem area greater than 10 square feet, please refer to the guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or call in a professional.