Bathroom mold is ugly, disgusting, and unhealthy. And, unfortunately, it often seems an ever-present nuisance that even the most fastidious homeowners must deal with. However, mold doesn't have to greet you every morning as you step into the shower. These preventative measures and cleaning tips will help you get rid of the mold and mildew that collects in showers, baths, and sinks.
Do Your Drains Drain?
First, make sure that you have good drainage in your sink, tub, and shower. If the water does not drain as quickly as you run water, you have a problem. When water doesn't drain properly, it stands, creating an environment that is moist for longer periods of time. These types of environments are those in which mold thrives. Use a bleach solution, a chemical specially formulated to unclog drains, or call a plumber if the drain stoppage is particularly bad. It will be impossible to maintain a clean bathroom without properly working drains.
Toiletries, beauty tools, and soaps are common bathroom items, but do you need all of them? Variety is the spice of life, as they say, but almost-empty bottles of shampoo, the once-a-week facial scrub, and the plastic toothbrush cup are all breeding grounds for mold. The more stuff you have, the longer it takes for your shower, bath or vanity to dry. Damp or wet crevices will only encourage mold growth. Throw away, store, or use up any products that you don't use frequently. Set or place beauty tools where they will not sit in collected water. You may even consider hanging a shelf that is easily reached from the shower, as this will allow your products to air-dry completely, avoiding mold growth.
When you go to clean your bathroom, make sure that you remove all products first. Use a quality cleaning product and spray or wipe on all stained, soiled, damp, and moldy areas with a sponge. Brushes can scratch surfaces, reducing their life and appearance. Use an old toothbrush to clean around faucets, drains, and in crevices. For moldy showers, it's possible to use a mild solution of bleach to kill mold and prevent its immediate regrowth. However, never mix bleach with any other cleaning solution, as this could produce toxic fumes.
Before putting the products back, wipe them with a moistened cloth that contains some of the same cleaning solutions. This will deter mold by removing any already present around the bases of bottles and jars, kill germs, and prevent the already sanitized surface from being re-contaminated with mold and bacteria.
Repairs and Remodeling
It may be that the caulking around your sink, tub, or shower is peeling, old, or cracked. Caulking that is no longer doing its job needs to be replaced. It is often impossible to remove mold that has found its way behind caulking, and some mold even grows in the pores of the caulk itself. This is unsightly and unsanitary. Old caulking can be stripped away and replaced with new caulking appropriate for sealing areas that come in contact with water.
You may also find that replacing loose, old, or outdated faucets and fixtures reduces mold. Sometimes mold has grown inside the crystal or plastic casings of sink or shower taps. If you invest in solid handles for these fixtures, you will have eliminated one more spot in which mold likes to grow.
If you have the time, money, and motivation, a wonderful solution to mold prevention is to purchase a solid-piece tub or shower insert. By removing porcelain tubs and tile splash walls, you will be removing the best environment for mold growth and increasing the ease with which you clean. Plastic tub and shower inserts provide one slick surface, cutting down on the need for caulking, tile adhesive or mortar, and regular maintenance. These inserts are inexpensive, easy-to-install, and best of all, easy to clean. With regular care, a simple weekly wipe-down with a sponge is all that is required to keep it clean and mold-free.
Keeping your bathroom free of mold doesn't have to be an routine task. Care of your bathroom, regular maintenance, and reduction of surfaces on which mold can grow will keep mold at bay.