We pride ourselves on the cleanliness of our homes. We spend countless hours each year making sure our homes sparkle so that we can not only live in a clean environment, but also so we can breathe better, maintain our furniture, and show our friends and family that we are not complete slobs. But even with all of our tireless cleaning efforts, there are still some things that manage to slip through our fingers – some pesky organic matter that sneaks up on us and that we seemingly only notice when it is too late. That substance is none other than mold.
Mold is a furry growth of a small fungus occurring typically in moist, warm conditions, but it can also grow on food or other organic matter. Because it is most often found in the wettest areas, it is no shock that we find mold most often in our bathrooms, even when we clean and scrub frequently and vigorously. That's why we here at homify have created this Ideabook – to show you the common causes of mold, how to get rid of it in each area of the bathroom, and how to prevent this pesky devil from ever returning.
There are many causes of mold growth in our bathrooms. The first and most obvious reason is that there is a lot of water and humidity in the bathroom. In order for mold to grow, there needs to be mold spores, a food source (like wood, drywall, or cotton), darkness, warmth, oxygen, moisture (like steam from the shower or bath), and time (only about 24 to 48 hours) present in your bathroom.
Moisture is the key cause of growth seeing as the other conditions are always present in the home. So frequently running water in the bathroom sink, the bath tub, and the shower creates wet surfaces, puddles of water, and plain old water buildup that will allow mold to flourish if not dried out quickly enough.
As if that weren't enough, when the water does eventually dry out, it evaporates into the air and increases the humidity. And because bathrooms are often not very well ventilated, wet surfaces don't dry fast enough and the humidity tends to linger about.
If you have mold growing in your bathroom, you need to remove it immediately, as mold spores are a common allergen, toxic even to those who have no allergies. Ancient Oriental medicine tells us that fresh, clean air is one of the most important components of our physical and mental health, and some studies have actually shown a link between airborne mold spores and depression.
Luckily for you, you don't need a huge range of equipment or supplies to get rid of mold. You can use a sponge, cloth, or scrubbing brush to clean mold off of most bathroom surfaces, or a toothbrush for those hard to reach nooks and crannies. Bleach, baking soda, Borax, vinegar, and ammonia are common cleaning materials used to combat mold, and all of them work incredibly well. Our only suggestion is to stay away from bleach if you have children or pets, or if your bathroom isn't entirely white, as the bleach can stain any fabrics or even surface colour in your bathroom.
One way to remove mold from the shower and tub is to use a bleach or a baking soda mixture. You can buy baking soda at the store, or you can create your own special baking soda mixture by combining one teaspoon of liquid soap, one cup of baking soda, some essential oil drops for a nice smell (such as citrus, rosemary, or lavender), and enough water to form a paste. Slap the paste wherever you see mold, let it sit for about five minutes, and scrub it away.
If you want to use bleach, dilute the bleach by mixing one part bleach with two parts water in a bowl and transferring it into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture where you see the mold and let it dry. Once it has dried, spray the area again and then scrub it away with a brush or a sponge. Then rinse until the mold and the solution are gone from the shower. You can also use vinegar in a spray bottle, but you don't want to dilute it – you want it at full strength to combat the mold.
You can remove mold from the walls and tiles in the same way you can remove it from the shower and bath tub. The only difference here is that you have to pay attention to the material your wall is made out of (is it wood, dry wall, etc.). To remove mold from wood, wipe or scrub the mold from the surface with a sponge or scrubbing brush along with some water and detergent.
You can use any of the above mentioned methods to clean mold from tile, but one thing to be mindful of with tile is that mold often creeps into the grout and it can settle there permanently if you don't get rid of it fast enough. If the mold has settled into the grout, clean it out as best you can with either cleaning method mentioned above, let the grout and tile dry completely, and then replace the caulk or grout in the area.
Mold occurs in sinks or basins for the same reasons it grows in bath tubs and showers. Soap scum and grime provide an excellent food source for mold, and the running water from the tap provides the moisture. If there's mold in your drain, you can remove it by scrubbing it away with a brush or a cloth. You will have to remove the grate of your drain and scrub away the mold growing inside of the drain pipe.
Pouring drain cleaner or any of the above mentioned mold killing solutions down the drain is also an effective way to get rid of mold in the sink. You should, however, scrub the area before and after to get as much of that pesky fungus out of there as possible, since it is nestled in such a tight spot and can cling to areas you can't see. Also, if your solution does not come into contact with the mold for long enough when pouring it down the drain, you might not be able to kill all of it.
There are many ways to prevent mold buildup in your bathroom. The first and most obvious thing you can do is to clean your bathroom with vinegar or household cleaner on a regular basis. If you needed to replace the caulk or grout in your bathroom, make sure you use a mold resistant product to prevent future growth. Another thing you can do to prevent buildup is to have proper ventilation. Open a window during or after you shower, or use a fan to dry the room faster and blow the humidity out of the room.
If your bathroom continues to have mold issues even after following these tips, then you may have a ventilation or plumbing problem that needs addressing. These problems create and trap the moisture in the air that causes mold to grow, and you can't afford to keep buying the cleaning products to get rid of the mold, nor would you want to continually exert all of your energy on this one task.
If you've managed to get your bathroom mold-free, check out these inspiring tips on bathroom renovation!