Preventing Mold In The Bathroom
I frequently see advertising for cleaning products that kill mold and mildew in bathrooms. It made me think people must have a real problem with these based on how many products are available out there to address it. I could not figure out why I have never once had any mold or mildew in my bathroom (and since I am 60-something that is a long time). I also live in Kansas which is very humid. Not only that, I have never had a bathroom fan in any of my bathrooms.
I didn’t know what my secret was until yesterday. I read an article that said to prevent mold and mildew in your bathroom, take warm, short (5-10 minutes) showers, which I have always done. I took short showers to save on water but I didn’t realize that taking shorter showers would help prevent mold and mildew. Now that I think about it, I usually don’t even stay in the shower long enough for my mirrors to steam up. It must work because that is the only thing I do differently from a lot of other people and I don’t get the mold at all. I do clean my bathroom once a week. (When I had the kids living at home, we cleaned it twice a week).
I thought some of you might try this idea if you are having a real problem with mold, especially this time of year.
While we are on the subject of showers you might try taking one at night instead of the morning. This washes away the day’s grime and since you usually aren’t doing things in bed that cause you to get covered in dirt, you are usually clean in the morning and really don’t need another shower.
P.S. This is another one of those examples of how using a little prevention and changing your habits can save you not only time but money on cleaning supplies.
photo by: osseous
Another reason to shower at night is to eliminate the days build up of pollan and dust etc, even if one did not work out side in the yard, just going back and forth in and out gets it on you. This could cut down the build up of same on bedding also. I can’t seem to convince my grown children though, even with their allergy problems.
You made me laugh so hard I almost fell out of my chair, Kansas humid! Ha Ha. Try Houston were humidity in the summer runs 90-99% all summer. I agree with showering at night. I can’t imagine putting a clean nightgown on a dirty body. Washing at night also save money on washing sheets, since I am clean when I go to bed I only wash the sheets every other week. The best cure for mold is still god old fashion bleach $1.15 gallon and some elbow grease.
jill, my mom (who is 79) were discussing this same thing about the mold and mildew in her bathroom and she made a comment that kinda stuck with me… she said she couldnt ever remembering getting mold and/or mildew in her bathroom when she was younger and had 5 little kids and a husband taking baths/showers every day…
i am wondering if they used different products when they built those bathrooms with the tubs/tiles and showers…
i had asked my friend this same question and she couldnt remember having this problem growing up either and she came from a family of 7 and they all were not close in age…
just a thought… :D
*snickers and giggles about “getting dirty in bed”*
People either have dirty minds or dirty bodies. I make soap so that you should give you a clue as to what’s dirty about me. LOL!
Actually here in Kansas it runs 90-100% humidity all summer long. It starts about April and doesn’t end until October.
This year God has been merciful and it hasn’t been hardly humid at all yet.
There are times in August when it’s 100% humidity and you feel like your just going to suffocate!
I don’t mind Kansas but I hate the weather here!
I did not have a problem with mold and mildew in our bathroom until I removed the wallpaper and painted the the room with new paint. Then I really fought the mold. The difference appeared to be in creating a less porous surface with the new paint. So my guess would be that paint might have changed over the decades. I’m also in my 50’s and never saw mold growing up.
I agree with the bleach and elbow grease but cracking open a window while showering and while it airs out really helps too.
Another reason there is more mold now is that houses are more air tight–no way for the moisture to get out.
Oh, and I do, usually, bathe twice a day. I shower in the morning to get clean (and because my hair is curly and it has to be washed every day because it is so oily!). I take a bath at night to relax at night. Every night. It runs up the water bill, but I cycle my kids through the water after I’m done.
I don’t have any problem with mold, but my mom has a terrible problem with mold and has ever since she moved into the house she lives in now (15 years).
I have painted all my bathrooms with new paint and have had tile, wall paper, paint, and even logs (I had a log cabin)but never have had mildew. I think the idea of cracking a window when you can is good because it really helps with the steam build up as much or more than a fan. Part of it too maybe that homes are so air tight that combined with so much steam mold develops.
Along that same lineI have started “airing” out my house the way I use too and I really like. I save on air fresheners too.
It’s better not to use soap on most of your body when you shower at night – just use soap where absolutely necessary and rinse the rest with water.
Why? Because your body doesn’t metabolize Vitamin D from sunlight until you sleep, and you need normal body oils on your skin to accomplish that. Vitamin D is essential to the immune system and fights cancer.
Grizzly Bear Mom
You think YOU have mold? Its so moldy in DC that my cabinets mildew if I don’t use the air condtioner. In fact it would grow on the dog if he weren’t so active.
I believe that bathing at night is best to wash off all that dancer, and avoid breathing problems. However I can’t figure out how to wash my hair at night and blow dry style it in the morning.
I suggest that the lady who needs to bathe twice daily try the no-poo technique for her hair. I can’t think of anything I did between night and morning that required additional bathing.
Never had mold but hard water spots in a rental. I used magic eraser for that and only had to once because I kept up on the weekly clean. As far as the twice daily shower, I shower at night minus the shampoo and wash my hair under the bathtub facet or kitchen sink in the morning. That way I can style my hair and feel nice looking for the day ahead.
Savvymama that is what I do too and seems to save me time.
A suggestion for the person with the mold after painting:
Try a anti-mold primer (KILZ is one brand) and then a semi-gloss washable paint. The semi-gloss has a smoother surface and the primer provides an extra moisture barrier.
I too have an ‘older’ house (1958 construction) and have never had a problem with mold. We do take short showers though and did have an exhaust fan installed 3 years ago because we had to meet code after some rennovations.
Thanks for the tip!
I never steam up my mirrors either (we take short showers), but I fight mold like crazy. My shower stall doesn’t have any air circulation in it and it’s way too cold in the winter here (Canada) to open the window (I pay enough in heating costs). My shower stall’s the biggest problem, but my window frames are next worse (and I do open the blinds/curtains completely during the day.
So glad I came up on this discussion. I was researching ways to get rid of the mold spots that are creeping up the bathroom wall in our apartment. My fiance and I noticed it a few days ago. GROSS!!!! Thinking of a tub and tile mold remover to get rid of it. It also doesn’t help that I LOVE the shower, and I use pretty warm water. Thanks everyone for this discussion, will use the tips here!
So glad we could be of help. This article was more on preventing mold but you might check out the web site some more because we have things on how to clean bathrooms and mold etc. in many different places. Hope this helps.
I’m thinking that we never had mold in the bathroom when I was growing up was because we didn’t take showers, only bath and the water didn’t seem to make the room steamy.
Funny how we’re all different! I shower at night to clean off the days germs, oils, and sweat. I can’t sleep dirty. I shower in the morning to wake myself up! I have Fibro so a refreshing shower helps me to ease into my morning. I brush my teeth and wash my face in the shower so I simply do it in the shower, instead of at the sink.
I don’t have a problem with mold. I think airing out the room is a big factor, whether through a vent, a window, or simply keeping the shower open by moving the curtain or shower door to the side when you’re done. I have a friend that keeps her shower curtain spread open to avoid mildew on her curtain, but I think tossing the shower curtain into the washer is a whole lot easier than trying to clean mold off of the shower/tub enclosure. Another thing I do is spray with a vinegar and water mixture. Because it’s nontoxic, I can spray liberally. Preventing is always easier than removing after the fact. This is true of so many things, isn’t it?
BTW, Tawra and Jill, I love your website and have been spreading the word. It is amazing how prolific you both are in your writing, especially with being sick. Since I have Fibromyalgia, I understand the challenges. It is encouraging to see how much you CAN get done!
I live in Denver, usually pretty dry. Even so, we occasionally get mold in the bathroom. I have cut down considerably on the occurance by using less water in the shower, as some have mentioned, and by wiping down the shower/tub when done.
I have a solar shower, one of those black-backed water bags with a shower head. I figure, why not use it all the time? In summer I can heat the water in the sun, or use the already warm water from the hose that always sits in the sun. I save on fuel and water too, since the nozzel only runs on demand, instead of the constant flow of a shower. In winter I will still use the SS for the flow control. There are nozzel attachments you can get to do the same thing.
After rinsing and drying myself, I dry the tub and tile. This only takes a minute with an old towel, and eliminates the moisture and the weekly tub cleaning. Consider: You clean the tub once a week, and it is dirty for the other six days. By wiping out, my tub may not be sterile to begin with, but it is much cleaner the other six days. On occasion I still have to clean the tub when I slack off.
Advantages: Money saved on fuel to heat water, water, cleansing agents.
Costs: Time, maybe, but not as much as you think. The weekly cleaning–scrub, rinse–takes much longer than wiping out. Also time in filling the SS. The SS itself was about ten bucks several years ago.
I live in an in ground home. My bathroom is completely underground. Mold is a normal thing. I keep in clean and clear by using white vinegar. Can’t use bleach because i am chemical sensitive. vinegar is great at killing and preventing mold:
I think drying the shower or tub after use is important. Gerry, the above used a towel to dry the tub, but at our house we keep a squeegee in our shower to wipe down the enclosure.
That of what I do also. Shower stays clean and I don’t have soap scum build up.
I grew up on the border of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire. Every house either had a drip pan under the toilet tank or covered the tank with a cover. Most houses had mold or mildew in the bathroom and houses were ages 150 years old to 10 years old. I am in my 60s. I now live in Denver a semi arid climate, take long how showers daily and I have a mold problem that needs constant attention. I am not willing to take short luke warm showers. I think is is just a matter of vigilance.
Grizzly Bear Mom
I believe that washing all those little kids got people in and out of the tub so quickly little water hung around in the bath to make mold. It’s the “luxury” opf our long showers that create steam and mold things up.
So true. Plus I have found when my house temp in the winter is only 55-60 it is quite a bit of incentive to get in and out of the shower fast. : )
Marble Falls Plumber
Make sure you don’t have any leaky pipes in your bathroom under the sink or behind your toilet which could lead to mold build up.
Years ago I bought a 1 quart spray bottle of Clorox Clean-Up (Cleaner with bleach). When it was empty I made my own. I don’t remember the exact proportions I used, maybe 1 cup bleach and fill the bottle with water. I use a rubberized mat in my shower/tub to keep from slipping and they will get moldy if you leave them in the tub after each shower. I hang mine on the shower wall, rinse it off and then spray with my homemade cleaner with bleach. I don’t rinse again until I lay it back on the shower floor and take my next shower. When I turn the shower on to warm up it rinses most of the cleaner out. Haven’t had mold since and it doesn’t harm the tub.
Another thought: get an exhaust fan for your bathroom. Not only will it help reduce the humidity of the air, it can be helpful in eliminating odors.
I think that we run into so many more instances of mold in our bathrooms because houses are more air tight, in the name of energy efficiency. Most older homes are draftier and breezy, like an old barn. One show on T.V. told a couple to prevent mold from growing in their bedroom, all they had to do was open the bedroom windows after they had a shower in the ensuite bathroom. That couple did not have a fan in the bathroom, and had experienced some mold growth on the ceiling. When I was growing up, no one had a bathroom fan. Mold was hardly ever heard of in a house. I seldom take longer than a 2 or 3 minute shower. The same is true of my husband. We have had mold near our water pump in a utility room, which had a wooden floor. We have had a bit of mold around some poorly installed flooring sandwiched up against a downstairs bathtub, but we have never had mold in our small ensuite shower, that is without a fan. Our house is one of those old drafty barns.
I too lived in a drafty house until it burned in 1983, and we never had mold either. The new house is well insulated well, but we have never had mold or mildew. I suppose we are really blessed, because I did not know so many people had the problem. I do have the scrubbing bubbles auto clean system which with the push of a button, that shower contraption sprays a full spray all around the shower, floor and walls and shower door. It really saves having to clean the shower yourself. I only clean it myself about once every two or three months. It is only my husband and myself–no small children or dogs. The system costs about $18.00 and comes with 1 bottle of the liquid. You have to furnish the batteries. The one bottle lasts us about a month, as we only take showers once each day, sometimes I skip a day if I have not been doing any work (at 67yrs that is getting more frequent!) We usually take showers at the same time and the last one out pushes the magic blue button and cleans the shower. We got this at Walmart, but Iam sure there are other places that have them also. The refill bottles cost about $7.00 each, but not bad for cleaning 30 days. It seems to me this would be a good solution for those having the mold problem—if vinegar and bleach help, why not this scrubbing bubbles magic genie? Hope this is helpful to someone.
Martin @ Green Way Environmental
great ideas, thanks for sharing.