One of the most common problems in a home is mold. Mold thrives in places that are damp or wet so it’s no surprise that bathrooms are a haven for it. The good news is that it is typically easy to prevent and take care of if it is a small amount. We’re here to share the basics about common causes of mold in bathrooms, how you can prevent mold growth, and if you do discover mold, what you can do to clean it up.
Common Causes of Mold
Mold needs moisture to grow and a bathroom is one of the wettest and most humid places in the home. You will see it as black or white specks or smell it as a musty odor. There are several areas to be aware of when looking for the causes of mold growth.
- Poor ventilation from baths and showers
- Leaks from toilets, sinks, or plumbing
- Damp surfaces such as rugs, wood, wallpaper, drywall, fabric, grout, or paper products
- Damp towels left on floors or counters
- Cracked grout
- Peeling paint
How to Prevent Mold
Getting rid of moisture in the bathroom is the key to fighting mold growth.
- Use a squeegee after a shower or bath to get excess water off shower walls.
- Always use an exhaust fan when bathing or showering. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes following the bath or shower.
- Home humidity should be kept at levels below 50%. Air conditioners or humidifiers can be used to help even out levels.
- Wash bathroom rugs frequently. If they become soaked after a shower or bath, hang them out to dry.
- Hang up all towels after use. Wash them often.
- Hang a mildew-resistant shower curtain. Clean or replace curtains often.
- Seal grout often, especially if there are cracks or signs of damage.
- Don’t wait to fix leaks. Pay close attention to sinks and plumbing. If you notice a leak, fix it immediately to avoid further damage.
How to Remove Mold
Small jobs can be handled fairly easily by homeowners. Precautions should always be taken with products used and if you are someone with asthma or severe allergies.
- A simple soapy mixture of detergent and water can be used, then let the area dry completely.
- A mixture of 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water may also be used. Brush or spray on the solution, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse off and let it dry.
- Leave doors and windows open when cleaning to allow fresh air in to help with the drying process.
- Strip away old or cracked caulking or sealant that has mold growth. Replace with new grouting material.
Know When to Call a Professional
While most mold can be handled fairly easily by a homeowner, there are circumstances where a professional may need to be called.
- Bathroom mold is not always obvious. Mold can hide in areas like ceiling tiles, behind walls, under sinks, on bathroom fixtures, around exhaust fans, or under flooring.
- Pay attention to any signs of dampness, softness of material, discoloration, bubbling, or wrinkling.
- If you have a problem area bigger than 10 square feet, refer to guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or call in a professional.
Moisture can be your enemy when it comes to mold growth. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to keep your bathroom mold-free. Practices that keep moisture levels under control and some consistent cleaning will be your best ways to prevent the possible harmful effects of mold growth.
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