How to Prevent the Growth of Mold In the Bathroom
Bathrooms are a very popular place for mold growth. Most families have experienced mold in their bathroom, and those who think that their bathroom does not contain mold are either unable to identify the mold, or the shower in the bathroom is never used. If you regularly use your shower, chances are you have mold in your bathroom.
While mold growth is one of the most common issues that homeowners face, it is also one of the easiest to prevent and remove. In this article we will address:
- Why mold grows in the bathroom.
- How to eliminate excess moisture in the bathroom.
- How to remove mold from the bathroom.
- How to clean your bathroom and keep it dry.
Our goal is to assist you in clearing the mold out of your bathroom, and preventing recurrent growth by implementing some simple changes.
Causes of Mold Growth in the Bathroom.
Just one shower a day produces enough moisture to significantly increase the level of humidity in the air. When the shower is not running, there is frequent use of the sink or bathtub that creates a near-constant occurrence of dampness and moisture in the bathroom. Your bathroom is particularly susceptible to mold growth if it has poor ventilation in addition to frequent use.
Some of the most common causes of mold growth in the bathroom include:
- Plumbing issues like leaky pipes, sinks, taps, and toilets.
- Improper ventilation that allows moisture to get trapped in the room.
- Dampness from wet materials like rugs, wood, wallpaper, and wet clothes left in the bathroom to dry.
- Steam from the shower that adds humidity to the bathroom.
How to Control the Humidity Levels in the Bathroom
While keeping your bathroom completely dry and free of moisture is nearly impossible, there are plenty of ways to keep the air free of excessive humidity and as clean as possible.
Here are some of the strategies you can implement to keep your bathroom dry:
- Find, repair, or replace all leaking pipes, sinks, taps, and toilets. Regularly check the seals attached to the taps, sinks, toilets, and all the pipes for signs of breakage or leaks. If you detect any leaks, be sure to have them repaired immediately.
- Don’t keep bottles of shower gel, shampoo, loofahs, bath toys, or any other bathing products in the shower. These products provide a perfect hiding spot for mold to collect and grow. Washcloths and other similar items should be wrung out and dried after each use, and should always be stored in a dry linen closet when not in use.
- Use a mildew-resistant shower curtain that is washed and replaced regularly.
- Use a squeegee to remove excess water after each shower. The water should be removed using a vertical swiping motion to ensure that most of the water goes down the drain, rather than spreading it across other surfaces in the shower.
- Seal grout lines in the tiles flooring. Grout should be replaced when it begins to show signs of wear and tear or mold growth.
- Add ventilation to the bathroom:
- Add an exhaust fan and keep it running during and after each shower. The purpose of the fan is to circulate the air, and reduce the accumulation of steam. We recommend that you use the fan every time you shower, and leave it running for at least 30 minutes afterward.
- Close the bathroom door and open any windows to keep moisture out of the rest of your house, while still maintaining adequate airflow in the bathroom.
- Open the shower door or curtain after showering to promote evaporation, which will dry any wet surfaces much faster. Closing the curtain and shower door traps the moist air in the bathroom, creating the perfect environment for mold and other bacteria to thrive.
- Use a dehumidifier to extract excess moisture from the air during showers. Investing in a dehumidifier will guarantee that the humidity levels in the bathroom are kept below 50%, which will inhibit mold growth. A dehumidifier is the most effective way to reduce humidity in the bathroom.
- Remove surfaces where mold tends to hide such as wallpaper, fabric curtains, and bathroom rugs. If you do choose to include these items in your bathroom decor, be sure to inspect and wash them as often as possible to prevent them from getting moldy.
How to Remove Mold in Bathrooms
Once you have created an environment that is not conducive to mold growth, it is time to remove the mold that has already accumulated in the bathroom.
If you see any visible mold in the bathroom, you can simply use a clean cloth, sponge, or brush to remove the mold from the surface. Some effective, mold-fighting cleaning solutions include:
When removing mold, it is important that you do not let it come into direct contact with your skin. Always wear protective gloves that are made of PVC, nitrile, neoprene, or natural rubber. We recommend that the gloves be long enough to extend to the middle of the forearms to prevent accidental exposure. Protective eyewear should also be worn as a precaution in the event that hazardous liquid cleaners are splashed into the eye area.
Depending on the severity of the mold infestation, and the type of disinfectant you are using, you may need to wear a respirator to avoid breathing in the toxic fumes. It is also important to note that you should never mix cleaning products, which can produce harmful, and sometimes fatal, fumes.
Remove mold from bathroom drains, clean all of the objects in the bathroom, inspect all corners of the bathtub or shower for mold, scrub all of the tiles, and apply a sealant to protect grout.
When Should you Call a professional?
- If the area with the mold infestation exceeds 10 square feet.
- When you ascertain that the mold has seeped into the bathroom walls.
- If after trying several cleaning methods over a period of time, the mold is still growing.
- If you find mold in your vents or air conditioning system.
- If you do not feel comfortable removing the mold yourself.
- If the mold cannot be removed from the surface, you may need to remove the tiles and replace them with new ones as a last resort. This may require a professional to ensure that the job is done safely and correctly.
How to Clean your Bathroom and Keep it Dry
To inhibit the growth of mold in your bathroom, you must ensure that the environment is kept dry and free of humidity as often as possible. Clean it as often as you would clean the rest of your house, preferably at least once a week.
- Use a glass-cleaning solution to clean mirrors and windows.
- Use an all-purpose bathroom cleaner for all other surfaces. This will disinfect each surface, and keep them clear of mold spores and bacteria.
- Hang up damp towels, and keep clean, dry towels in a closed linen closet.
- Keep the sinks and bathroom surface as clean and dry as possible, and use paper towels to dry off any wet surfaces.
- Dry or squeegee any excess water left in the shower.
- Wash fabric curtains and rugs frequently.