Bathrooms accumulate moisture, fostering mould growth, posing health risks, particularly to allergy sufferers, necessitating vigilant efforts to maintain a clean home environment.
To prevent mould growth, consider installing a bathroom heating system, maintaining good ventilation, and using mould-resistant sealant. If mould appears, use baking soda, tea tree oil, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or borax for effective removal.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about preventing bathroom mould and discover some useful tips and tricks.
Bathroom mould is a type of fungus that grows in damp, warm conditions, usually in areas such as showers, walls, tiles, grout, wallpaper, wood, toilets and sinks. Excess moisture and inadequate ventilation lead to the growth of mould, which starts as a type of white fungus known as mildew. Once there, mould proliferates rapidly.
Standard mould and black mould are not the same. White mould, also known as mildew, tends to grow in places with high moisture content. It looks powdery and fluffy, and grows only on surfaces. Exposure to white mould does not cause severe health issues.
Black mould, in contrast, spreads beyond the surface. This mould contains mycotoxins, exposure to which can lead to serious health complications such as breathing problems, allergies, infections, and asthma attacks.
Children and the elderly, particularly those who have existing respiratory issues and skin problems, are the most likely to be affected.
When it comes to dealing with bathroom mould, prevention is always your best bet. Here are some ways to prevent bathroom mould from taking root in the first place:
Underfloor heating (UFH) prevents mould buildup by reducing humidity in your bathroom. A UFH system encourages water evaporation and keeps your bathroom comfortably warm. With that said, preventing mould growth may not be your primary motivation for getting UFH installed in your bathroom. The system will turn your freezing cold bathroom into a warm and welcoming one.
An exhaust fan reduces moisture by sucking it out of air and then passing it outside. Make sure you do not choose an exhaust fan that’s too small for your bathroom. Keep the fan running during your bath or shower, and leave it on for about 20 minutes after you leave the bathroom.
If you leave bathroom rugs, mat, shower curtain, towels and liner unwashed for weeks, they become mould growth spots. That’s why it’s important to wash them regularly, preferably once a week. If your shower curtain liner is not washable, don’t use it for months. Another breeding ground for mould and mildew is the hamper you use to keep bathroom items in, so keep it clean.
A dehumidifier is a small device that reduces humidity and dampness, and thus prevents mould growth. If you cannot install an extractor fan in your bathroom to avoid disturbing the decor, a portable dehumidifier can be a great option, in part because you can use it in other rooms in your house as well.
To inhibit mould, the humidity in your bathroom should range from 30% to 50%. A dehumidifier automatically keeps the level of humidity within this range. You just have to plug the device in and turn it on. No additional setup is needed.
This one is an obvious tip. If your bathroom is well-ventilated, there is less humidity, and therefore a reduced risk of mould growth. By keeping the doors and windows open, you also let natural light in, and natural light is an enemy of mould.
Applying a mould-resistant sealant, which typically contains an antifungal biocide, is another smart way to prevent mould growth in your bathroom. It is a silicone sealant that acts as a protective layer, used in areas of high humidity such as bathrooms and kitchens.
You can also apply the sealant to door and window frames. It is a long-term solution that provides protection against mould and mildew for about 10 years.
The main components of tile grout are sand and cement, which are porous and absorbent. Moisture seeps between your bathroom tiles, where mould and mildew grow and proliferate. The process of sealing ground is pretty simple, and it can remarkably reduce mould growth in your bathroom. You can just buy a shower tile grout sealer and apply it by yourself.
If mould is already there in your bathroom, don’t worry. There are several safe and easy ways to get rid of bathroom mould. Try any of the following ingredients:
Baking soda is non-toxic, so it’s safe for humans and pets. It not only kills mould but also prevents further growth by absorbing moisture.
Mix some baking soda with water and spray the mixture on mould and mildew. Use a sponge to remove the soaked mould and then clean the surface with water.
While this essential oil is a bit pricey, it is natural and harmless. When buying tea tree oil, check if it contains an ingredient called Melaleuca Alternifolia, which kills mould.
Combine equal amounts of tea tree oil or water, and spray the mixture on areas affected by mould. Then scrub the mould off and rinse the surface with water.
Vinegar also kills mould pretty effectively. Directly spray vinegar on mould and mildew, let the stuff sit for about an hour, and then rinse the surface with water. To kill persistent mould, consider combining baking soda with vinegar.
Hydrogen peroxide creates an effervescent fizz that eliminates mould very effectively. When it comes to killing mould, this non-toxic compound is safer than bleach.
Saturate the mould by spraying some hydrogen peroxide. Leave it for about 10 minutes and then scrub it off. Then rinse the surface with water.
Borax is a relatively harsh chemical, and toxic if you swallow it. However, unlike some other cleaning products, borax does not create any toxic fumes. Borax is affordable, and easily available at grocery stores.
Take 1 gallon of water and 1 cup of borax, and mix them. Saturate the mould with the mixture and leave it for about 10 minutes. Scrub the mould off and wipe it up with a rug. Consider leaving the residue on. It will prevent further growth.
Not necessarily. As we have explained, mould removal is a quick and easy process and you can do it by yourself. No dangerous chemical is needed to remove your bathroom mould, so you can safely take it as a DIY project.
With that said, you will have to hire a professional, if not a mould removal professional, in case you want to get an underfloor heating system or exhaust fan installed in your bathroom.
The actions you take to deal with bathroom mould depends on the severity of the problem. There are super easy ways to remove bathroom mould, but the problem is, mould tends to come back. If the problem is persistent, consider opting for a long term solution. Take a preventative measure that you find convenient.
If you are living in a cold region, consider getting an underfloor heating system installed in your bathroom. It will make your bathroom warm and welcoming while preventing mould growth. The other options for preventing and eliminating bathroom mould are easy and inexpensive, so you can dive right into action.