Bathrooms are an ideal spot for mold growth: in most homes, bathrooms are both dark and damp–essential conditions for the growth and survival of this nasty fungus.
Unfortunately, mildew seldom sticks to just one corner. Once it appears, it can spread like wildfire and completely overtake the place initially designed with personal hygiene in mind.
Grimy looks are the least of your problems when mold colonies march into your snug bathing area. In addition to the eye-sore, mildew also brings along a lengthy list of health hazards including rashes, headaches, respiratory problems, allergies and asthma. Though completely eliminating humidity from a bathroom is practically impossible, there are several steps that can be taken to put an end to the battle against bathroom mold.
Upgrade your ventilation
According to experienced bathroom renovation companies, the risk of mold conquests in properly ventilated bathrooms is minimal. If you do not have a window in the shower room, consider installing one in the future: though somewhat costly, the ventilation upgrade can save you big in the long run.
Until then, keeping the door open when you are not using the bathroom may do the trick. Also, use a ventilation fan to remove steam if you like your showers long and hot. After you take a shower, wipe the tiles dry if you can spare a few extra moments–this is one of the most efficient techniques to counter mold even if you already have a window in the bathroom.
Mold thrives in the dark, so boosting lighting in the bathroom may help put a stop to mildew conquests. This can mean either replacing window blinds and curtains with an opaquing film or installing sky tubes to introduce more natural light in the loo. Skylights are also a good option, if you can afford them financially and spatially: the brighter the room is, the lower the odds of fungi growth will be.
Tackle early mold signs
If your bathroom has already come down with a few moldy patches, you need to act fast. Clean the corners, shower screens, bathtub, grout, toilets, sinks, water tank and surfaces behind cabinetry using vinegar, a fungicide or any other mold remover.
Small mold stains will come off easily if wiped by a dry cloth immediately after they appear. But larger ones, which were probably left untreated for months, can leave unsightly stains once the surface mildew has been removed.
If the discoloration proves stubborn, consider calling in mold removal professionals–not only will they clean the mold thoroughly, but they will also make sure that the source of the growth is properly identified and repaired.
Replace moldy silicone
Mold sticks to moist surfaces 24/7, and the silicone at bathtub corners and grout is precisely such a spot. In case your tub or grout silicone has come loose or turned moldy, replacing it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run: simply peel it off, let the surface dry well and reapply a line of fresh sealant. Some silicone seals are designed especially for bathroom use and contain fungicide, so opt for these if you find them in a home improvement store, just to stay safe and mildew-free.
Repair and repaint your bathroom
If your bathroom seems to be beyond repair, a fresh paint coat may be the best option. Before applying mold-resistant paint, remove any peeling paint and clean the ceilings, walls, grout, and corners with a powerful stain remover or detergent.
You will need to repair leaky pipes, as well as cracks and holes around the bathroom to prevent moisture from accumulating there, and reattach loose tiles or replace broken ones. If you have carpeting in the bathroom, take it out – mold loves damp fabrics, which is why most contractors recommend installing tiles in the shower instead of laminate or fabric-based flooring.
The battle against bathroom mold is not easy, but it is definitely winnable. For maximum results, add bamboo charcoal or other activated charcoal alternative to the shower room: this simple trick will help control humidity in the air granted you are taking all other steps to keep the bathroom dry, clean and properly aired. In case you detect signs of mold, act immediately: a little initial preventative effort can save you a lot of time, money, and elbow grease in the long run.
This article was written by Zoe Clark. Zoe is an environmentalist, home decorator and DIY enthusiast from a land down under. You can follow her on Twitter.