Mold is a natural part of the environment. It floats from place to place to reproduce and it does so to break down dead matter. This is a good thing, until it comes into your house and starts growing there. There is no way to stop it from coming in, but you have the power to stop it from growing. With a little knowledge and some care you can keep mold from growing anywhere in your house, including your bathroom.
Mold likes moisture, heat, and food. While we don't think of there being food in the bathroom, mold has no problem eating paint or even dead skin cells that we leave in the shower after a nice long shower. With this in mind you want to try and avoid giving mold the perfect place to live.
- Wipe down the entire bathroom with an anti fungal spray (such as Lysol) about once a month. To do this you should include all of the walls and also the ceiling. This will get rid of any mold spores that are living in your bathroom.
- If you have wall to wall carpet in your bathroom it is best to remove this. Carpet catches and holds on to a lot of moisture which gives mold the perfect place to grow.
- Use at least one small bath mat and change it regularly. You can launder as normal, but make sure you do it regularly. The mat will catch moisture for you and make sure that it isn't sitting on your floors. Cleaning it often will make sure that it doesn't have time to grow mold.
While the sink isn't the most common place for mold in the bathroom it is an open opportunity with the possibility of some gross results.
- Clean the sink regularly. This means making sure that all the toothpaste has been cleaned up and there is nothing sitting in the sink waiting for mold. You want to do this within 24 hours because mold can start to grow after that period of time.
- You should make sure that you dry up any spills in or around the sink. Water is the perfect source for mold to grow and by cleaning it up you are making it harder for mold.
- Make sure the caulking around the sink is clean, secure, and not starting to split. This seals the sink and when the caulking isn't doing its job moisture can be moving to places it shouldn't be. If the caulking is getting old then you should replace it.
- Check for leaks under the sink as well. You don't have to do this too often, but you want to catch a leak early.
For most of us the tub is the problem area. Not the whole tub, just those corners behind the shampoo bottles or the shower curtain. However, you can make sure that you don't get mold in these areas as well.
- Cleaning is the most important thing you can do. Clean thoroughly and often to keep mold at bay.
- Dry the shower down after you have taken a shower. This may seem time consuming, but it will protect your tiles and grout. If you have a problem this is definitely the way to go!
- Seal around the edges regularly. When the caulk pulls up it makes a great place for water to sit.
- You should keep your shampoo bottles and other bottles up off the edge in a place where the water drains.
- Pull the shower curtain closed after your shower so it can dry.
Usually the toilet is a good place to not see mold cause of running water. However, around the edge there may be a great place for it to grow.
- Make sure you clean the whole thing regularly and get down around the seal of the toilet. This area can gather moisture really easy, especially if you have small children.
- You should also make sure that your seal hear is nice and smooth. Take some fresh caulk and reseal it if there are creases or crevices that the moisture can rest in.
The window should also be well sealed. You want to be able to open it should you need to, but at the same time you don't want it to build up a lot of condensation and you don't want that condensation to rest along the edges. You should also make sure that you are thoroughly cleaning this with an anti fungal spray at least once a month and more in times when there is a lot of moisture.
Keeping Humidity Down.
The bathroom is a very humid location and keeping humidity down is important to keeping mold at bay. You will want to follow these suggestions to work toward a better bathroom that is mold free, especially if you have the occasional problem.
- Install and use an exhaust fan. These will pull warm, moist air out of the bathroom. You should turn them on during the shower or even a bath. You should also run them for fifteen to twenty minutes after your shower. It is important to keep your bathroom fan clean as well because it will function better and you can make sure that there are no mold spores resting there waiting to be spread.
- It is also a good idea to leave the door open. For some this may be easier than others, but it lets the moist air escape throughout the house which makes it less concentrated in the bathroom.
- You should insulate cold water pipes so that they don't sweat.
Take Preventative Measures One Step Farther.
While not all of us have this option at our disposal (at least not at the moment) if you can or if you are remodeling then you can take your mold preventative measures one step farther.
- Use drywall that is specifically designed for bathrooms. This is made so that it resists the moisture in the room.
- Use paints that are mold resistant as well. This way you are protecting your bathroom and making it harder to grow mold.
- Seal everything really well. Often times you will have to go bath through and reseal items, but if you do this really well the first then you are less likely to have this problem later on.
Your bathroom doesn't have to be a great place to grow mold. You don't have to take bleach to the shower every week (or every two weeks). Instead you can follow these measures and attack the problem before it arises!