mold/mildew on bathroom ceiling

Old 02-16-11, 10:08 AM
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mold/mildew on bathroom ceiling

I have a slightly textured bathroom ceiling with a growing mildew problem. I've washed it before with bleach which helped but didn't get rid of the dark spots completely, and now they're coming back anyway. I'd like to re-paint since half the paint has peeled off but of course I need to clean it. Is there any way to completely get rid of the mildew? The worst part is above the shower of course. I feel like its harder with the texture because if I use a sponge it gets shredded and a cloth gets stuck on the points and little threads start coming out of it. What is the best method to clean this?

Also, how do I re-paint over the texture?
Old 02-16-11, 10:31 AM
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What type of paint is currently on the ceiling? what kind of texture?

The 2 best methods for cleaning with a bleach/water solution is a spray bottle or a sponge, since the texture is rough, using an old paint brush might work better. If the current paint is enamel, the water won't hurt it but if it's flat latex - I wouldn't get it too wet.

I'd recommend repainting with a bath enamel. They have extra mildewcide and will hold up better in the harsh environment of a bath rm.
Old 02-16-11, 11:17 AM
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Kill the mold as Mark instructed, then prime with a sealing primer and cover that with a quality kitchen and bath paint purchased from a paint store, not a paint department in a big store
Old 02-16-11, 08:07 PM
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Sounds like u need to fix the humidity issue first
Old 02-16-11, 11:55 PM
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The real problem is that your bathroom was painted with something called a "PVA" paint.

MOST of the latex paints in North America are made of one of two different kinds of plastic:
PVA - or polyvinyl acetate, which you probably know better as the plastic which white wood glue is made of, and
PMMA - or polymethyl methacrylate, which you probably know better as the plastic which Plexiglas is made of.

The problem with PVA primers and paints is that under humid or wet conditions, they soften up and lose their adhesion. The result is that they crack and peel under wet or humid conditions, which is exactly what you're experiencing in your bathroom.

Better quality latex paints will be made out of PMMA plastic (or Plexiglas) and are much more resistant to wetness and high humidity. However, the BEST choice for a paint to be used in a bathroom is one which is intended specifically to be used in bathrooms. Such "Bathroom" paints will be made with a PMMA resin chosen because of it's excellent resistance to wetness and high humidity, and will contain mildewcides which migrate through the paint film to keep the surface
of the paint free of growing mildew.

You should remove the mold/mildew fromt he bathroom walls and ceilings by cleaning with bleach (maybe use a nylon bristle paint brush to do this). Mildew can grow through latex paint, so it's best if you clean the entire ceiling and all wall surfaces you intend to repaint using bleach.

Then, rinse off the ceiling and walls with clean rinse water.

Scrape off any loose paint on the walls or ceilings.

Then repaint your bathroom with either Zinsser's PermaWhite Bathroom Paint (available at Home Depot) or Sherwin Williams "Bath Paint". Both products contain mildewcides which kill mildew spores which land on the paint before they have a chance to grow, thereby keeping the paint clean and attractive. Two coats of bathroom paint will be sufficent to form a humidity "barrier" which will prevent the underlying PVA latex paint from softening, and cracking and peeling.

Last edited by Nestor; 02-17-11 at 12:14 AM.
Old 02-18-11, 02:14 AM
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Bleach only kills mold on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Weird, but true. Something about mold having long 'roots' that bleach can't get to because of the surface tension. Anyway, bleach will kill mold on hard, non-porous surfaces like bathroom tile but it also has to be left on the surface (wet) for 5-10 minutes in order to actually kill mold. Bleach does not kill mold on porous surfaces like drywall, grout or ceilings. Use vinegar or hydrogen peroxide instead.

Cleaning Mold? Wear gloves and a dust mask (or a respirator). Wet surface of mold BEFORE scrubbing or removing to help keep mold spores from becoming airborne. Use soap and warm water (and a brush) to clean moldy area. Then apply white vinegar - straight from the bottle to kill the mold. (Never mix bleach & vinegar.) Or, use an EPA registered fungicide specifically designed to kill mold and mildew. I like MoldStat ( or; it kills mold and removes stains. Works great on moldy vinyl gutters.

But your underlying problem has to do with the excessive moisture. Mold won't grow without it. What's above the bathroom? An attic? or another room? Any chance there are leaky pipes above the bathroom or is the moisture strictly coming from showers/baths? If there is an attic, is it possible to go up there and check to see if mold is growing on the other side of the ceiling? If so, that portion of the ceiling actually needs to be replaced or mold will continue to grow and become a much larger problem. Somehow, you really need to determine what's causing the mold problem and take steps to remove the excessive moisture.

Cheap paint? Probably. I use something like KILZ to prime the entire bathroom before painting with an antimicrobial paint. Zinsser - I've never heard of that one before. I checked and it does contain zinc and titanium so it will have some antimicrobial properties. Other paints contain Microban. Sherwin-Williams also has an antimicrobial paint. In addition, there are also some antimicrobial surface protectants on the market that can be applied (sprayed) on almost any surface and inhibits the growth of mold or mildew for up to 90 days.

[Personally, I'd stay away from anything containing heavy metals: silver, titanium, zinc, etc. I don't like what I've been reading. Yes, almost all heavy metals have antimicrobial properties but they can create some health questions, too. (Lead and mercury are also heavy metals).]
Old 02-18-11, 04:29 AM
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I just posted to a similar thread ( - which I'm not going to repeat here - and you may find that information helpful.
... couple of minutes later...
I just noticed that's an old thread. If you have trouble pulling it up,let me know and I will repeat my comments here.
Old 02-18-11, 07:29 PM
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I've had a similar mold problem in my bathroom. I found bleach pretty successful to get rid of the mildew, because I also used a borax and water paste to prevent the mold regrowing.

This is the site where I found all this info: Ceiling Cleaning. Maybe check it out, it could help.

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