Whenever someone takes a shower, the steam finds its way to every open and accessible surface. This can happen several times a day, depending on how many people use that space. Bathroom mold forms because the water vapor has a way of making every surface wet.
The Difference Between Bathroom Mold and Bathroom Mildew
Mold and mildew both belong to the fungi family and both require elevated moisture levels to grow and thrive. Mildew however does not produce mycotoxins, which can cause a variety of health issues. Mildew also does not spread as rapidly as traditional molds.
Is Bathroom Mold Harmful?
While bathroom mold (mildew) is unsightly and requires regular cleaning and/or caulking around the tub or shower, it is very rare for bathroom mold to make someone sick. A person would have to be in very poor health or have a severely compromised immune system to fall ill from bathroom mold.
Can bathroom mold make you sick? Learn more about the dangers of household mold.
Signs of Mold in the Bathroom
Evaporation will make most vertical surfaces dry pretty quickly, so mildew won’t have time to get a foothold. Most often, you will see mildew growing in the corners and lower areas of the tub or shower. These are the areas that water will sit and take longer to evaporate, therefor allow mildew to grow. Mildew is most often circular and black or green in color.
Do I Have Bathroom Mold?
Very often I will get a call or email regarding bathroom mold and 95% of the time there is no need for me to visit the home. I explain that bathroom mold/mildew is rarely dangerous and does not require a professional to assist. There are numerous products sold in hardware stores, grocery stores and even the corner pharmacy that will treat and kill bathroom mold/mildew. While killing the bathroom mold is not difficult, the staining it can leave behind is often much more of a task. Caulk is often permanently stained and can only be removed and redone to make it look clean and tidy.
With that said, I do understand that many people want peace of mind. If you want to schedule an appointment for me to do a mold inspection of your bathroom, please get in touch with me.
How To Prevent Bathroom Mold Or Mildew?
The best way to get rid of bathroom mold or bathroom mildew is to prevent it from growing in the first place! Here are some tips to avoid bathroom mold / bathroom mildew:
- Make sure you use mold-resistant caulk or silicone for the tub or shower. Phenoseal is a product sold at many hardware stores or big box stores that has excellent antifungal properties and will last almost a year before becoming stained (sorry folks, but you probably need to recaulk your tube or shower AT LEAST once a year if you want it to look clean and new). There are of course other products that you can use that are mold resistant, but Phenoseal has been the best in my experience.
- Use a squeegee in the shower. Every time you are done with the shower you take an extra 1-2 minutes and squeegee the walls and shower door down and that helps prevent bathroom mold growth.
- If you have a shower curtain, make sure to spread it out when you are finished in the shower. This will help the water to evaporate.
- Make sure your bath mats and towels are not bunched up. This will help them suitably dry. The longer your towels are wet, the higher the chance for them to accumulate bathroom mildew.
- Lastly and perhaps most importantly, make sure you run the bathroom fan during and for at least 15 minutes after the shower is used. This will remove the moisture laden air (steam) which rises to the ceiling and can be funneled outside by the fan and duct work. In the rare instances when I see a genuine case of mold in a New Jersey bathroom, it’s always because there is no fan or the fan is not used properly.
- NOTE: If your exhaust fan doesn’t work (or you don’t have one) then make sure to open a window and/or crack the door open to allow steam to exit instead of collecting in the bathroom.
Moisture Science is my expertise. If you need any other advice or suggestions, please contact me.
Can I Use Bleach to Kill Mold?
There are several ways to remove mold from bathroom ceilings. Vinegar is very popular, in addition, there are also specialized sprays and chemicals.
Sometimes you’ll find the suggestion to use bleach to kill mold in your home. My recommendation is to NEVER use bleach to kill mold anywhere in your home and especially not on a ceiling where the bleach can drip into your eyes and blind you.
Bleach used to be the only product that was available to kill mold because up until the mid-1990s nobody really cared about mold, so there was no Mold Armor or CLR or Microban. Bleach also used to contain chlorine and that was a chemical that would actually kill mold. It would also discolor, stain and ruin much of what it touched.
Today most bleach products have a chemical known as sodium hypochlorite which, when compared to the more specialized products, isn’t a good choice. So grab yourself a rag and vinegar or any of the above-mentioned mold killing products and simply wipe it off. Just don’t stand on the toilet or the edge of the tub to do it! That leads to much more adverse health risks than any of that mold you’re trying to clean off.
Trust Moisture Science for Bathroom Mold
I hope my guide was able to provide some peace of mind. I think the biggest takeaway is that not all bathroom mold is dangerous and cause for professional assistance. So even if I lose out on some business, I am happy to instill some of my expert knowledge.
My bathroom mold services extend from New Jersey to Philadelphia, PA. However, the great thing about technology is that even though I am located in Collingswood, New Jersey, I can still perform a bathroom mold inspection via a video chat. Call me to discuss my bathroom mildew services or schedule a virtual bathroom mold inspection.