Table of contents
What causes the mould?
There are only two factors needed for mould to be formed – high humidity and organic materials. You may ask yourself, what kind of organic materials do we have in our bathrooms so mould forms, we don’t bring food there, right? But if we think further, the answer is more than obvious. Of course, while taking one long hot relaxing shower, nobody thinks how their dead skin and hair flows down the drain. Then we leave the bathroom relieved, closing the door behind us, allowing the hot air to condense and creating the perfect environment for mould. Here are the two factors present – organic materials from our hair and skin combined with the humidity. Formed once, the fungus spreads fast, so we should react as soon as possible when we notice something.
Ways to avoid the mould in the shower
- The bathroom has to be ventilated at all times, especially after a shower. Open a window after you are done and leave it cracked until the moisture is out
- If you don’t have a window (or it is a freezing winter), turn on the aspiration and let it suck out the evaporated water in the air.
- Leave the door open and pat dry the tiles.
- Make sure you clean your drain regularly, so it doesn’t get clogged with hair and create the environment for mould to grow
- Occasionally, preferably once a week, spray the corners of the shower and the drain with the vinegar and water mixture to prevent mould from appearing. You need to disinfect often even if you don’t see mould.
But if the mould has already appeared, you may ask yourself the following question.
Can you get rid of the mould in the shower?
Yes, you can surely get rid of it with a few tricks at home. The mould most commonly found in our bathrooms is the black mould. Usually, it can be seen in the corners of the shower, where droplets of water hide and condense. It has a dark greenish or black hue. You can see it on your ceiling also, in all the crevasses in your bathroom too, may be in or underneath the sink. Most commonly it is found in or around your drain. If the mould starts growing on porous surfaces it is tough to get rid of, so keep an eye on your shower. With a few materials (most of which you have already) you can clean out the mould in the shower.
White vinegar is one of the most frequently used materials for cleaning and disinfecting at home. It doesn’t only clean the mould, but white vinegar also kills around 70-75% of the fungus and prevents any future growth of it. I recommend not to delude the vinegar with water when the mould has advanced in spreading. It does the job best when it is concentrated. If you have a spray bottle, fill it with vinegar and spray the affected areas. Make sure you spray enough, and the area is saturated. Don’t wipe it right away, give the vinegar at least 50 to 60 minutes to do its job. For regular maintenance and smaller spots, you can mix it with water, the smell is not so intense in that way. The vinegar is harmless; however, it is always recommend wearing protection when dealing with cleaning materials of any kind because everyone has different sensitivity, and it is good to prevent any skin reactions. Also, the fumes of concentrated vinegar are intense, but they don’t have a harmful effect.
When the time has passed, take a brush and rub the area to make sure that everything is off. Wet the brush before scrubbing with a little bit of warm water. Wipe the area with a towel or napkin and let it dry. If this didn’t do the trick for you, try this cycle again or try another method.
While the vinegar wasn’t considered harmful for us, we have to be times more careful when dealing with bleach. Especially if you have kids at home or you have any respiratory issues. Bleach can be harmful, it is no game. When cleaning with bleach make sure that you have your windows open, or you have turned the aspiration in the bathroom. Don’t close the door as the fumes are strong and it may get you dizzy or trigger a breathing problem. Bleach is effective, but it is not recommended to use on any porous materials. And NEVER mix it with ammonia, because you might as well make a deadly weapon at home, as this mixture releases poisonous fumes.
Make a solution of water and bleach and spray onto the affected area. Leave it on there for around 10 minutes and then scrub it with a brush. It is advisable to wear old used clothes when working with bleach so you don’t worry you may ruin them. Put on your old tracksuit and gloves, blast some music, sing along and rub away this devil. Rinse with water and voila!
Another trick I have tried recently to remove mould in the caulking is to saturate cotton balls with the water-bleach mixture. This trick is helpful when the mould is spreading vertically in the corners. If you spray the mixture it will run down, however, when the cotton balls are saturated well, they stick.
You must be careful when using the bleach to remove your mould in the shower. If the mould is too aggressive, the bleach might not remove it all, even though it may seem like it is gone. One of the most famous uses of bleach is whitening, and what sometimes it does to the mould is to remove its colour but still leave the fungus alive.
Did you like chemistry in school? I personally hated the theoretical part but adored the experiments. Everyone says, “when I am going to use in real life what I learn in high school”, but here we are today recreating on a much smaller scale the famous chemical volcano by mixing baking soda and vinegar. Here is what to do:
- First, combine vinegar and water in a spray bottle and saturate the area well
- Then mix water with baking soda in another container and spray on the area you sprayed with the vinegar solution. You will see how the vinegar and the soda start chemically reacting, it will start bubbling
- Take a brush and start scrubbing
This should do the job, and it is also fun to observe. After you have washed away the mould, go over the area with warm water and then pat dry.
You can use baking soda and water mixture by itself also. Add a little bit of water to the baking soda to form a thick paste. Apply it and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Scrub it off and wash it away with warm water. But to be honest, the vinegar and soda method is much more exciting.
This substance is practical in many terms in the household. The hydrogen peroxide is an excellent disinfectant, and it is a less toxic version of bleach. Spray the hydrogen peroxide on the area, leave it on for 15 minutes if nothing else is said on the label and then wipe dry. What makes this chemical more preferred than bleach or chlorine is its fizzy characteristics. It works on porous and non-porous surfaces. It also has multiple other uses at home such as making a disinfection mixture for your toothbrushes or cleaning blood stains from the cloths of your energetic running and falling children. We love multipurpose materials.
Why do we want to get rid of the mould?
Yes, it is aesthetically unpleasing to see you have mould in the shower, but should we care if we are not allergic to it? Actually, we should be cautious as mould can be very harmful to our health. The black mould, for example, the most commonly found mould in our bathrooms, is considered non-toxic, however, in significant amounts it can cause Mycotoxicosis, poisoning with mould. The symptoms are coughing, sneezing, red eyes and itchy skin. It can cause severe aspiratory issues. Moreover, it may intensify existing asthma or allergies, and long-term exposure to mould can have devastating effects such as hair loss, light sensitivity, numbness in hands and many more. It spreads fast, so you don’t want to let it grow even more.
Another mould found in bathrooms is the pink mould. Unlike the black mould which is a fungus, the pink mould is a type of bacteria and is commonly found in the environment. It spreads quickly in wet places such as the showers. It has pink to orange hue and has a slimy feel to it and feeds off of soapy materials such as our conditioners. This type of mould is hard to remove, because of how fast it spreads. You can use pure bleach or any bleach-containing detergent to get it off.
I think it’s unnecessary to mention how deadly it can be to people with strong allergies. Even being close to the mould and inhaling it can cause severe damage and reaction to the person, so take regular care of your shower to prevent any mould.
DIY natural solutions against mould:
We know that the mould is harmful to us no matter if we are allergic to it or not. But most of the solutions, even though effective, is fighting fire with fire or said otherwise, we confront the toxic mould with toxic chemicals such as the bleach. If we want to focus on our health, there are some nontoxic solutions to fight mould in the shower that you can easily make at home, it is so convenient. Here are some DIY natural mould fighters.
Vinegar, Baking Soda & Hydrogen Peroxide
The first three natural solutions I have already mentioned above: vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. I won’t go into detail, but those tree options used separately are even more effective than any other bleach detergent on the market. And don’t forget our fun experiment of mixing vinegar and soda too. Those options are affordable, you can get rid of the mould just for a few pounds.
Tea tree oil
However, there are a couple eco-friendlier materials you can employ in your fight against the shower mould that are more on the high-end side. A tea tree oil solution is an excellent remedy, but you have to make sure you are using a real extract from the Australian tree called Melaleuca alternifolia and contains the following ratios of terpinin 4-ol, minimum 30% and cineole maximum 15%. Mixing only two spoons of the oil with approximately 2 cups of water is enough, spray the solution onto the area, let it stay for at least an hour and then proceed with scrubbing, washing, and drying. If the mould is severe, you can spray the solution and leave it as long as you can without washing it away immediately. It doesn’t have fumes, it is environmentally friendly. However, it might cause irritation on the skin, and it shouldn’t be swallowed.
Citrus seed extract
You can also use a citrus seed extract. On the positive side is that it doesn’t have any odour, you need to mix approximately 20 drops of the extract with 2 cups of water. Heavily spray the area and leave it as long as you can.
In the end, it is essential to know that it is not our fault the mould has appeared, but there are ways we can minimise its occurrence, and there are several ways we can fight against it.
Be bold and say goodbye to the mould!