Mould is a type of fungus that thrives on and grows in damp environments and spreads through the release of spores which travel through the air. When it lands in a moist place, it will grow. Outdoors, mould is not really a problem — but when it’s indoors, it’s really only great if it’s found on cheese rinds (and is edible). Your bathroom is a common place for mould and mildew to build-up and spread because of the moisture in the air. You can tell if you have mould just by visually inspecting any damp, dark areas in your house, but you can also identify it by its musty, earthy smell. This poses some health risks, as mould can cause allergic reactions like coughing, sneezing, and wheezing, or even asthma attacks, all of which are bad for your respiratory system. Here’s how to take care of your bathroom to ensure your walls and shower remain mould-free.
Clean and Replace Your Caulking/Grout
It’s a pain to do, but re-sealing the grout or sealant between your tiles in your shower and bathtub every year (or more, if you notice a lot of cracks or already have mould) is one way of preventing mould from spreading. This ensures the space between your tiles remains waterproof on a regular basis and keeps mould and mildew out. Keeping your tiles and sealant in good condition is important, so after you shower or take a bath, use a squeegee to remove excess water that collects on your tiles. Mould won’t grow on dry surfaces! Of course, redoing your grout once a year doesn’t mean you should stop paying attention to your bathroom for the other 364 days. Scrubbing in between your tiles with a mixture of baking soda and bleach once every week or two will help keep your grout in good condition, and won’t allow mould to fester.
Use Your Fan
Your bathroom (and any room in your house, for that matter) should not feel like a rainforest when you walk in! A ceiling exhaust fan plays a big role in balancing the moisture levels in the air. Every time you take a shower or run a bath, turn your fan on so your bathroom doesn’t get too humid, and keep it running for 30 minutes after you’re done. Proper air ventilation and circulation prevents water from condensing in your shower, tub, or on your walls. If you don’t have a bathroom fan, open a window, install one, or buy a standing or counter-top fan and use it when you shower. A dehumidifier will also help suck moisture out of the air, too.
If you are running your fan on the regular, and you are still having issues with mould, you could have a problem with the fan. Hold a tissue up to the vent, and if it sticks, then it’s working! If not, or if you don’t think the fan is powerful enough, measure your bathroom and ask an expert at a hardware store what kind of fan they would recommend for a room of that size.
Mould comes in a variety of fun colours like yellow, green, pink, white, brown, and black. Regardless of the colour, however, if you see spots or areas of growth on your walls or tiles, you should remove it. Check hidden areas like under your sink and your cabinets; spongy areas like your bath mat and loofahs; and even the walls or ceiling underneath your bathroom, to see how far it has spread. If the mouldy area is smaller than 10 square feet and looks fairly manageable to control, then go ahead and remove it on your own. To avoid breathing it in and exposing your skin to any chemicals, buy a disposable respirator mask and protective gloves from the dollar store and/or hardware store before you get to work.
Small traces of mould can be removed with any environmentally friendly mould removal product (like Concrobium Mold Control), or you can mix a solution of bleach and water (one part bleach to two parts water). If you do a quick search online, there are lots of other home remedies, but be mindful not to mix certain chemicals together like bleach and ammonia! Always check the warning labels or do some research before making any homemade concoctions. Spray the mixture on the surface, let it sit for about 10 minutes, and scrub it away with a sponge. Let the contaminated area dry completely before inspecting again, and repeat if it doesn’t come off in the first round. Rinse the area with water when you’re finished, and dry it off. If the mould in your bathroom is already out of control, or if you cannot get rid of the mould on your own after several attempts, call an expert to remove it safely.
It’s important to get into the habit of regularly cleaning your bathroom (not just when you are expecting company) 9because it helps keep you and your home healthy. Spraying your shower, tiles, silicone bathtub sealant with vinegar every so often is another handy tip when you are in cleaning mode. The acidity of the vinegar prevents mould from growing, and also acts as a natural cleaning agent. While it’s impossible to get rid of 100 percent of all mould in your house, these above methods prevent it from spreading and becoming a bigger problem later on. And, of course, HomeStars has a variety of experts to call on for help if your bathroom is already needing more than just a quick DIY fix!