You've worked all day and your feet are feeling it. You make it through the commute and finally arrive at home. You eat and get ready for that glorious shower.
You get your favorite self-care items all laid out.
You turn on the hot water to get your eucalyptus or shower bomb activated. The music is playing.
And right before you get ready to step into your much-needed personal spa, you see it.
Unfortunately, bathrooms are a breeding ground for mold. Not only will this black devil ruin your shower zen, but mold can also come with some serious health hazards. Take it from someone who lived in a moldy apartment — the effects aren't pretty. We were the only family on the block to open our windows every winter to keep from getting sick.
So what do you do when you notice a mold build-up, and how can you tell if it's dangerous? We're about to tell you in this comprehensive guide on how to remove mold in the shower and other bathroom areas.
What is Mold?
Mold is a fungus that loves hot, humid places.
Mold grows naturally outdoors but often makes its way inside our home via spores. Mold spores can be carried around by clothes or pets, and once inside your home, the spores will attach themselves to those hot, humid places of your home like a bathroom or near the roof.
Mold is common in most buildings and many homeowners won't realize they are housing mold until it becomes a problem. And because these tiny spores can get into the insulation and drywall, it's easy to see where the trouble arises.
There are more than one species of mold, but the most common genera you will find inside your home are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. While Penicillium may be a familiar term, many people aren't well acquainted with the other two. Here is a brief bio about some of these common mold types.
- Cladosporium: This is a nontoxic black mold that loves carpets, wallpaper, floors and other home surfaces. While it isn't considered a toxic mold, Cladosporium can trigger allergies, asthma and other lung disorders.
- Aspergillus: This toxic mold is one of the most common in the world. In fact, most people are exposed to trace amounts regularly. But despite its toxicity and prevalence, this mold does pose a huge risk to the average American. If your home becomes a breeding ground for this type of mold, however, you should expect some health effects like asthma attacks and lung inflammation
- Stachybotrys chartarum, or toxic black mold, is the big guy that you probably hear the most warnings about (and the one you definitely want to keep out of your home). This type of mold should not be taken lightly and often requires a professional.
- Mildew is a kind of mold that is flat, easily removed and doesn't spread as quickly as other kinds of mold. You will often see mildew on your shower walls and windowsills. Luckily, because mildew stays on the surface, it is much easier to treat and prevent than other types of mold that will make their way into your drywall.
As you can see, not every mold is created equally. And you will want to pay attention to the color and patterns of the mold in your house so you know best how to treat it.
How to Get Rid of Mold
Here are some simple steps to help get your home back to the peaceful sanctuary it was designed to be.
Figure Out What You're Dealing With
Your first step in combatting mold in your home is deciding who is going to be on the front lines. It is suggested that anything over 10 sq. feet (or a three-foot by three-foot mass) should be handled by the experts. Some things should just not be tackled on your own. And giant mold problems is one of them.
Another thing you should avoid trying to combat on your own is toxic mold. While all mold can cause health problems, a toxic type of mold is designed to intentionally cause harm to humans and animals. And if you find yourself face-to-face with a patch of toxic mold, you could easily find yourself way over your head with long-term health effects.
How do you know which type of mold you have? You can try a DIY mold testing kit like this one. Or, you can always call the professionals for a mold diagnosis, although you should be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars for that.
If it is something you can comfortably handle yourself, great! Read on for some practical tips to rid your home of this unsightly fungus.
Inspect the Area
To determine just how big your mold problem is, you will want to do an in-depth inspection. Check shower curtains, grout around your shower tiles, caulking and any other crevices that mold spores could settle into. Most people don't think about it, but you should also check out your exhaust fan to make sure there is no mold in there.
If your mold or mildew problem has reached the shower curtain or liner, you can easily solve that problem by tossing it and getting a new one.
But if the mold is in those hard-to-reach places or has spread to the ceiling, you will want to invest in some cleaning products.
Find the Right Mold Removal Cleaning Products
There are a variety of good products out there designed to help you with your mold problem. We're going to showcase three of our favorites that you can buy from Amazon.
With a powerful no-scrub formula, EcoClean Solutions will keep you from cleaning mold all weekend long. Just spray the area from bottom to top and rinse with water.
Each 1-gallon container is said to treat 300-400 sq feet.
And the makers are so confident that you will love their products that they offer a 60-day moneyback guarantee.
Available for $30
This highly effective mold remover is more than just a fungicide; it kills 99.9% of bacteria plus odor-causing bacterial and has antiviral properties as well.
In other words, you won't get stuck with that moldy smell long after you start treatment.
After passing scrutinous testing, the RMR-141 Disinfectant is one of the only commercial options registered by the EPA. So you can rest easy knowing that cleaning your home doesn't come at the expense of others' homes.
If you don't want to take any chances with your moldy situation, this cleaner will help you get rid of mold and prevent more mold growth in affected areas in one foul swoop.
Available for $12
Mold in your caulking or grout is no good, and it's not easy to eliminate.
Sure you could tear everything out and start from scratch, but do you really want to caulk your whole bathroom every time you spy a little black circle? And from one paranoid-cleaner to another, where does the madness stop? You'll drive yourself crazy!
This handy little tube is your go-to for those sticky situations. Simply squeeze some gel around your sink, tub, toilet or wherever else you see some mold growth and wait 3-10 hours. (It's a perfect time to catch up on all your Netflix shows or finally bake those cookies to deliver to your neighbors.)
You will still have to put in a little extra work, as this product is not the miracle cleaner when comparing it to the other options on our list.
Available for $14
If you aren't quite ready for the heavy-duty cleaners or prefer to make your own cleaning solution, here are few tried and true options for you. Sure, it may take a little longer before you see those results and you'll need to invest in a good scrub brush, but the trade-off for saving money (in the long run) will more than makeup for this small investment. Don't forget your old toothbrush for those hard-to-reach places as well.
But the best part of DIY mold removal?
These homemade solutions don't have a hundred ingredients to worry about.
Mix 1 part bleach to 2 parts water in a spray bottle.
Spray the moldy area well and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
Put those muscles to work and begin scrubbing!
You can also use white vinegar in lieu of the bleach, but you NEVER want to combine the two, as bleach and vinegar produce a toxic gas that could be lethal. Yikes!
So pick one cleaner and stick to it.
Once you are done, rinse with water and let it dry.
Some skeptics of bleaching mold swear by using Borax. For this method, simply mix 1 cup of borax with 1 gallon of water.
Spray the moldy area and scrub with a rag or wire brush.
Wipe the area dry, keeping in mind that Borax will also prevent future mold growth so you don’t need to thoroughly rinse the area.
Make sure it dries completely. You will want to run a dehumidifier for the next day or two.
Another thing about Borax? This solution is not intended for any porous material like drywall.
Hydrogen peroxide is arguably one of the most versatile home products. Got a cut? Hydrogen peroxide. Need to whiten your teeth? Peroxide can help. Got a little acne? There’s even a hydrogen peroxide solution for that.
So it probably makes sense to think that you can grab a hydrogen peroxide bottle when you start to see some mold growth.
Unfortunately, peroxide is good at removing mold, but not so much at killing it.
If you don’t believe me and want to try it out, you can buy a 3-10% solution, stick it in a little sprayer and go to town.
You will notice that the mold will begin to fizz as the peroxide does its thing. And if you follow it up with some scrubbing and drying, you will be pleased to discover that your mold is gone.
Or at least it looks like it.
Remember that terrible moldy house I lived in?
Hydrogen peroxide and I became quite close during those years. But did it ever actually kill the mold in the ceiling above my shower? Not in the slightest. Instead, use this spray for things like faucets and other areas where mold is just beginning to form.
It’s All About Prevention
The best way to tackle mold? Prevent it before it becomes a problem.
Because mold thrives in warm, wet places, one way to prevent mold in your bathroom is to keep it aired out and dry. Practically, that looks like using a squeegee to dry off your shower, keeping your towels cleaned and dry and keeping good ventilation — especially when you are taking a shower.
Also, as much as we all love the recent wallpaper trend, you may want to think seriously before putting it in your bathroom.
Finally, one of the most effective ways to keep mold out of your home? Create a regular, organized cleaning schedule to get into those nooks and crannies of your shower. Not only will this help you stay up-to-date on any mold development, but it will also help keep your space free of the things mold spores love. No mold reproduction = no more mold. Win!
You might also be interested in: 13 Reasons Why You Should Have An Air Purifier For Your Home