Bathrooms and showers are humid all the time, and we can’t stop bathroom mold from developing.
As hard as we try to maintain them, bathrooms are mold’s native environment, and we may end up trying to remove it from every crack and corner! What is worse, mold in bathroom areas can cause serious health threats.
What makes bathroom mold even more dangerous is how it develops. At first, it is a small and unsightly spot we could even neglect, and the next day it becomes a serious health hazard for our family.
The good news is that it doesn’t take a fortune to deal with bathroom mold. You can remove it easily and in no time, and restore the beauty and freshness of your bathroom.
How (and why) does bathroom mold grow?
Mold is not a rare sight even in the best maintained bathrooms. As we mentioned before, it enjoys the water and humidity such environments provide, and there is little we can do to prevent its appearance.
Mold usually appears on wet surfaces tha accommodate puddles of water. Good examples are the bathtubs, showers, and basins. Thus, you need to remove the moisture as soon as you can.
The bad news is – even if you do so, mold can work its way around it. The drying water evaporates in the air, and creates a humid environment that is just perfect for mold.
The same happens with steam while you’re showering, especially if there is no proper ventilation to let the hot air out.
Yet, don’t freak out when you notice bathroom mold. Removing it is probably easier than you think.
Here are some safety points to remember:
- You can remove mold with bleach, but only if the bathroom is properly ventilated. To avoid the released toxins, wear a respirator.
- Put on gloves to protect your hands
- Put on some older clothes – bleach spots can’t be washed, and they fade the colors severely.
Note that there are various types of bathroom mold, and they’re all removed differently. Here’s our guide on how to remove mold from showers:
Pink mold in the shower
Pink mold is caused by bacteria, and it appears quite often in showers, bathtubs, on the bathroom tiles or the grout.
What is specific about pink mold?
It is commonly found on baseboards or around commodes – if water can reach the spot, so can mold.
Pink mold is among the most dangerous types of mold, and it can therefore put your health in risk if you come in contact with it.
It is associated with a number of respiratory illnesses (especially among older people), and it causes gastrointestinal and urinary tract infections among children and hospitalized adults.
Green mold in the shower
Green mold is also very dangerous, but it is at least much easier to spot. There is also a specific genus of green molds that appear outdoors, or can be seen on spoiled food or decomposed vegetation. Quite often, you will find them on citrus fruits.
What is specific about green mold?
Damp zones give green mold excellent conditions to thrive. If you’ve ever had to clean a flooded floor, you can remember how it looks.
Green mold is very easy to spot, both under a microscope and to the naked eye. It owes its color to the large presence of Aspergillusniger. Depending on the surface where you’ve found it, it can also appear black, yellow, or white.
You can discover green mold in many different areas. There are even certain molds from the Aspergillus family confirmed to develop inside human tissue.
The color of the mold depends foremost on its food source, but it often changes as the mold ages. You may think that your bathroom’s been infected by several types of mold, but yet be looking at a toxic piece of black mold about to start colonizing.
What we’re trying to explain here is that it may be challenging to determine which mold species you’re dealing with. This shouldn’t worry you, as you can remove all types of molds without consequences, as long as you do it safely.
Can green mold harm your health? Yes, it can, especially if you’re exposed to it all the time. It is known to cause all types of health problems, including several serious conditions like aspergillosis (a common lung disease caused by breathing in mold spores).
Actually, the Aspergillus genus is quite a threat to your family, as it can release many dangerous toxins that lead to asthmatic symptoms, respiratory troubles, neurological ailments, and so on. The people most susceptible to the fungus are those with weakened immune systems.
All things considered, you should prepare well before you remove green mold from your bathroom. This means you should wear gloves and respiratory masks.
White mold in the shower
You will recognize white mold by its feathery or powdery texture. It also develops in a specific way, releasing root-like tentacles from its main growth.
What is specific about white mold?
White mold grows in the most unusual places. You may see it on the ceiling tiles, drywall, wood, surface paint, insulation, or even your carpets.
Most molds with lighter colors belong to the Penicillium or Aspegillus genus, and can thereof produce airborne toxic pathogens. The color makes them difficult to spot, and they usually blend in with the surface where they’re growing.
It sounds scary, but most people actually discover white mold when it begins causing health problems. These problems, to name a few, are respiratory infections, nausea, eye irritations, elevated allergies, headaches, and more. You should also check whether you’re actually dealing with white mold, or a developing piece of the dangerously toxic black mold.
Red mold in the shower
The most common area to discover red mold is bread. Nevertheless, the specie appears also in the bathroom shower, as it provides it enough humidity to thrive. Look for it in the grout and tile area.
What is specific about red mold?
It is not exactly red. You can discover it in any shade between pink and dark red, so don’t take any chances.
The same as yeasts, red molds are not that easy to spot, particularly because they’re never alone. You will find them alongside green or even black mold, and they may not even look red to the naked eye. If you want to be sure which type of mold you’re dealing with, consult a mycologist, and ask him to check your bathroom.
The good news is that red mold is the rarest to appear among this genus. Yet, this doesn’t make it any less harmful, and you should remove it immediately.
Its negative effect on health is the strongest on an advanced condition, and you need to be well protected while trying to get rid of it.
Black mold in the shower
Black mold in bathrooms is either harmless or extremely toxic (Stachybotrys). Therefore, it is not safe to assume that their nature is hypo-allergenic and that they won’t cause any harm. As soon as you see them, ask for the help of an experienced professional.
What is specific about black mold?
If you discover black mold in the shower, don’t freak out. It only happens in one of ten cases that this mold is toxic (Stachybortrys). What you’re about to deal with is most probably Stachybortryschartarum – a less harmful and non-toxic black mold that doesn’t count in between the 50 Stachybortrys species. Still, you have to check how to get rid of black mold in showers.
The reason is that toxic black mold requires specific conditions to grow, and the immediate shower zone doesn’t provide them. Here are some examples:
- Black mold feeds itself with cellulose. It colonizes in a week, under the appropriate moisture conditions.
- Elevated humidity is not good enough for it. You will only find it growing on consistent water tables.
- The ideal areas for it are wall backs, paper, wood, and cardboard (as long as there’s a leak, and they’re subjected to consistent watering). Expect it to appear on drywall paper and wallpaper if they’re wet.
Black mold is also to be found along the caulk lines in the bathroom, the grout between tiles, or on metal frames and sills on the windows.
Is black mold in shower dangerous? Even if the black mold you’ve discovered is not toxic, you should deal with it as soon as possible.
How to get rid of mold in showers? Here are some very effective bathroom mold cleaners:
Bleach and baking soda solutions
Note – most of the mold can be safely removed with hot water and baking soda. The advantage of applying this method is that baking soda is gentle and inexpensive, and you can use it to prepare all sorts of bathroom cleaners. Here’s what you will need:
- A teaspoon of liquid soap
- A cup of baking soda
- Few drops of any natural essential oil (rosemary, lavender, citrus, peppermint, etc.)
- A bit of water to help you make a paste
Here’s how to prepare a bleach solution:
- Get some bleach, and prepare a solution that is 2 part water, 2 part bleach. Pour it into a spraying bottle.
- Spray some of the mixture in the mold area, and let it dry.
- Spray for the second time, and scrub the surface with a brush.
- Rinse the surface as many times as necessary until the mold disappears.
- In case the mold doesn’t come out, get rid of the grout/caulk. Nothing is as important as protecting your health.
- You can remove mold with mild white vinegar. The solution is only moderately acid, but yet very harmful for the mold. Remember that you should use it pure, and without diluting it with water.
- Put some vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray lots of it in the moldy area. Give it about an hour to work, and open the windows to avoid the unpleasant smell.
- Once done, use hot water to wipe the area, and dry it with a towel. Make sure it is absolutely clean, as a damp surface will certainly cause mold to appear again. As you wipe the vinegar off, the smell will disappear too.
Vinegar is not only perfect to remove mold, but it also prevents it from outbreaking at the first place. Plus, it is powerful enough to kill more than 80% of mold species, while imposing no health threats to the person using it. Use vinegar to prevent outbreaks of mold before they happen. Bleach is also effective, but it releases many toxic fumes.
- How to prevent mold from appearing? Spray some vinegar in mold-prone areas at least once per month. On a regular basis, this will stop mold from growing even if it appears.
- Take a gallon of water, and mix a cup of borax inside it. This solution is a natural insecticide, and is therefore very efficient in removing mold. Besides, it is very cheap and easy to find (you can probably get some at your local grocery store).
- Before using borax to attack mold, clean the surface up with a filtered HEPA vacuum. You need to do this to ensure that the spores won’t spread around, and that the entire mold will go away.
- Apply some of the borax solution on a brush, and get down to work. Stay attentive for spores moving around, as you don’t want the mold to appear again.
- Once done, wipe the solution up and give it time to dry. If you’re afraid of a new outbreak, spray some vinegar on the surface.
- Before you begin, let us warn you: Ammonia and bleach should never be used together. If you mix them, they’ll release incredibly hazardous and toxic fumes. This also means that you should skip buying ammonia-based products if you’re using bleach at home.
- You can buy ‘clear’, ‘cloudy’, or ‘sudsy’ ammonia. Whichever you choose, don’t mix it with other cleaners.
- As before, get a spraying bottle for the ammonia, and attack the affected surface.
- Take a brush, and scrub the surface to ensure all mold spores are gone. Give it an hour or two to dry, and keep the windows open to get rid of the unpleasant smell.
- Wipe it.
Hydrogen Peroxide solutions
You can also use hydrogen peroxide to clean mold in showers. Here’s how:
- Get a dark spraying bottle, and fill it with 3% hydrogen peroxide. The effectiveness of this solution decreases when exposed to light, so take care where you’re storing it.
- For best results, mix the hydrogen solution with some vinegar.
- Test it first – spray a bit on a small moldy spot, and give it few minutes. If it fades, the solution is effective.
- Next, spray the entire surface and give your solution about 20 minutes to act.
- After a couple of hours the mold will be completely gone, so you can wipe the surface clean. Keep windows open all along, as the smell is very strong and annoying.
Natural solutions – Bathroom mold removal without bleach
Image source: Tara Seawright Interior Design
We can’t deny that bleach does the best job when removing mold, but we all know it is not exactly health-friendly. There are other natural options that can substitute it, and still leave behind a spotless bathroom. Here they some ideas on how to get rid of shower mold without chemicals:
White Vinegar: As we mentioned before, vinegar is one of the best natural cleaners and an efficient mold enemy. It can get rid of most mold varieties, and its only disadvantage is the strong smell. If you can’t stand it, simply dilute the vinegar with water.
Baking Soda: Baking soda was also discussed as a strong and natural shower mold cleaner. It is harmless, easily available, and very cheap, and it only takes 10 to 20 minutes to remove mold. You can prepare your baking soda past with water or vinegar.
How to remove basin and bathtub mold?
The same as in the shower, mold grows easily in the bathtub, basin, or the sink, and the reasons for that are the same.
It has enough humidity, grime, and soap scum to feed itself with, and it thrives easily when water is all around. The best we can do to prevent it is to keep our basins clean. In case it is already there, we should remove it immediately.
Bathroom drains mold
Bathroom drains mold can be scrubbed away with a cloth or a brush. To reach all spores, take the grate out the drain, and scrub all over the pipe. If you can’t reach it, consider unscrewing the drain pipe under it.
The next thing to do is to pour some of the discussed anti-mold solutions, and a bit of drain cleaner down the drain (pure vinegar is also an option). Since visibility is quite limited, there is a chance some of the mold will remain. To avoid this, repeat the process several times.
Mold on tiles and grout
Tiles and the grout between them are extremely mold-friendly. The good news is, you can remove the mold on them just by scrubbing it with a brush. If the mold grows inside the grout, however, it may take a bit more to clean it.
How to remove shower grout mold? We recommend bleach as the most effective solution for cleaning mold and fading its stains.
Apply some on a brush, and give it some good scrub until it goes away. Wipe with a dry cloth afterwards, or pour some vinegar to ensure it won’t appear again.
As a matter of precaution, you can seal the grout as soon as you apply it. In case it is severely damaged, consider scraping it out with a flat screwdriver, and applying a new mixture. It can’t get any safer than that.
Mold that appeared due to blocked drains
If the bathroom drains don’t let water flow properly, they can cause mold to appear in basins, bathtubs, or showers. This is because stuck water doesn’t take long to cause moisture issues, and it therefore creates a perfect environment for mold growth.
If you notice water building up the drain, it has probably been clogged and you need to clean it. You can do this yourself with the adequate chemical product, or call a plumber to deal with the problem.
Mold on your bathroom furniture
We all tend to keep tenths of cosmetic products in the bathroom, but what we don’t know is that they can also be a mold-friendly surface. Our shampoo bottles, old soaps, and bath salts we never use lead easily to mold appearance, especially when we keep them exposed to water.
The best approach is to avoid placing items on continuously wet surfaces. The ideal place for them is a high shelf you can’t possibly reach while showering. Even better, keep the essentials only. There is certainly a better place in the house to store your beauty products.
Here’s another tip we all need: Empty bottles should be thrown away immediately, as they also make it more difficult to clean the bathroom. The bottles that stay, on the other hand, should be cleaned regularly and separately to stay safe from mold.
A less humid bathroom
Image source: Echelon Custom Homes
To make sure that mold won’t appear; keep the humidity in your bathroom lower than 55%. This is easily achieved with good ventilation and proper airing, especially once you’re done with your shower.
At best, turn the fan on while you’re in the shower, and let it work for at least 5 minutes after you’re done. If there isn’t one, keep the windows open for fresh air to circulate in the bathroom.
Another thing you should do on regular basis is to wipe the wet surfaces down immediately after you’ve showered. This way, you can have the peace of mind that mold won’t appear in your bathroom.
Always keep the bathroom clean
Image source: Smith Firestone Associates
Remember: The best bathroom mold killer is hygiene.
Mold is, of course, more frequent in messy bathrooms than in the clean ones. To avoid it, take good care of hygiene, and wipe with an anti-fungal solution at least once per month.
Keep in mind that mold can appear everywhere (even on the ceiling!) so clean carefully. A smart tip is to wipe your floor with prevention solutions such as white vinegar.
Knowing how helpful vinegar can be, you can consider spraying the shower and the bath from time to time. Remember to rinse it afterwards, as it won’t smell nicely if you let it dry.
Keep the bathroom dry
It is really not that much of an effort to dry the wet surfaces each time you use the bathroom. This helps decrease the humidity levels, as all water left to dry on its own evaporates and cause moisture.
After showering, for instance, take a cloth and wipe over the tiles, mirrors, windows, or even walls (you can also do this with a squeegee). As mentioned before, try to remove unnecessary items from the bathroom, and store the ones you need where water can’t reach them.
Finishing thoughts on getting rid of bathroom mold
Indeed, mold is difficult to avoid in the bathroom, and poses serious health threats for us and our families. The good news is it doesn’t take much time to clean, and you won’t need professional help to get rid of it.