Bathroom mould is a common problem and it is usually caused by this particular room’s high humidity levels.
Let’s take a step back in time to your school science lessons. When water reaches a certain temperature, it evaporates and becomes water vapour. As the vapour cools down, it condenses back into a liquid. Simple, right? Well this process occurs every time you have a shower.
As the water evaporates when you’re having a bath or shower, the humidity levels increase in your bathroom. If this room is not sufficiently ventilated, this warm, humid air has nowhere to go and can prevent the room from drying out properly.
If you have tiles in your bathroom, you may notice that they have a fine layer of water covering them. This is because tiles are a naturally cold material. As the water vapour hits the cold surface of the tile, the vapour condenses back into liquid.
All of this additional moisture can cause mould to grow. This nasty substance can be unpleasant to look at and it can also be bad for your health. Therefore, we’ve come up with some techniques to keep your bathroom dry and mould-free, while also providing some advice on how you can get rid of any mould that already exists.
There are a number of things you can try that may help to prevent mould from growing and will keep your bathroom fresh and hygienic.
Mould loves bathrooms because they’re warm, damp and humid. Therefore, the easiest way to prevent mould from growing is to make the room less humid. So how do you go about this?
Opening a window for around 10 to 15 minutes could be very effective in getting rid of this warm, damp air. However, in winter, you may not want to let lots of cold air in, particularly as bathrooms are often naturally cold rooms. Therefore, an extractor fan could be a worthwhile investment. In fact, according to Building Regulations, an extractor fan is a necessity if your bathroom doesn’t have an openable window. The fan works by removing the humid air and expelling it outside your home, eliminating it from your bathroom completely. It should be left on for at least 30 to 60 minutes after you’ve showered or bathed.
It’s all well and good removing humid air from a bathroom, but if damp items are left lying around, more moisture will be expelled into the air as they dry.
Do you leave your damp towel on the floor? When was the last time you washed your bath mat? Where have you put the flannel or loofah you used to wash with? All of these wet items could encourage fungus to grow.
Loofahs should be hung up so they can dry properly. Your towel should be placed on a warm radiator or towel rail to ensure that it can thoroughly dry out before your next shower. Alternatively, it could be placed in an airing cupboard.
Once you’ve removed the humidity from the bathroom and hung up any wet or damp items, it’s time to think about other areas that water may have reached.
Many people complain that it’s their bathroom tiles, grouting and sealant that goes mouldy, particularly in hard-to-reach corners and around taps. As the condensed water on your tiles slowly drips down the wall, it’ll settle on the sealant around the bath or shower. To prevent this from happening, you can use a squeegee to get rid of the excess water on your tiles. They’re relatively cheap to buy and it’s thought that they can remove around 75 per cent of the water from the surface. To get behind your taps, you could use a dry cleaning cloth to absorb some of the extra moisture.
Water can even linger around shampoo bottles that are left on the side of the bath and mould could grow here. You could either dry the bottles using a hand towel or place them in a rack that allows the water to drain away.
Your towels and bath mats should be washed regularly to prevent the bathroom from smelling musty. It can be unhygienic to leave your towels unwashed for too long, so try to clean them every couple of weeks.
Mould doesn’t just love the damp and warm, but it also loves the dark. Therefore, you may be able to prevent it from growing by making your bathroom a bright environment. But this isn’t always easy, as bathrooms tend to have small windows. If you have a blind that covers the window, consider removing this and replacing it with translucent glass so that no one can see in. You may also want to think about installing some mirrors to reflect the light around the room.
Not every plant loves the damp environment of a bathroom but some love it and can actually help to remove the moisture in the air and make the bathroom a healthier place to be. Varieties such as palms and ferns can control humidity by absorbing excess moisture, purify the air and stop mould from growing. You could look into adopting a Boston fern, areca palm, spider plant, snake plant, or peace lily. The former three are pet-friendly, too.
If mould has already begun to grow, there are some things you can do to get rid of it.
Bleach is the best solution to get rid of mould, so dilute one part bleach to three parts water and apply the mixture to the relevant areas. This will kill the fungus and remove the black substance from your tiles and bathroom fixtures. When you’re handling bleach, be sure to wear gloves as it can be quite corrosive. You may even need a face mask to avoid breathing in fumes. Alternatively, open a window and make sure you avoid mixing different cleaning solutions.
Dip a cloth into the diluted bleach solution and wipe away the worst of the mould. Then, use a toothbrush to get into the difficult nooks and crannies. Depending on how bad the mould is, these steps may need to be repeated.
If you’d prefer to use more natural substances to remove mould, you could try a mix of washing-up liquid, baking soda and hot water. Simply mix one teaspoon of washing-up liquid with one cup of baking soda. Slowly add hot water and mix until the solution becomes a thick paste. To make it smell nice, add some lavender or lemon essential oil. Apply the mixture to the mould and allow it to work for around ten minutes. Wipe the paste away and the mould should be gone.
Mould can be much harder to remove from sealant. The rubber tends to absorb the fungus so that it gets stuck and is nearly impossible to get out. You may need to remove the sealant and replace it. This could make a huge difference to the look of your bathroom.
Once you’ve got rid of the mould, you can follow our steps above to prevent it from coming back.