Where there is moisture, mold and mildew will find it. Mold and mildew are types of fungi that are commonly found throughout our homes. They love moist environments and have a tendency to find every leak in your home before you do. If left unattended, these growths could become harmful to your family.
Mold has a tendency to show up where there is moisture and heat. It is a fungus that can penetrate beneath surfaces and grow on foods and permanent structures. It is harder to combat. Mildew is a flat growth that mainly stays on damp surface areas, paper and fabrics. It can easily be removed.
Both fungi like damp and dark areas such as a bathroom. Bathing or showering leaves enough moisture to allow mold to settle in and make itself a home. Eliminating bathroom dampness is the key to keeping mold from growing.
Ways to eliminate mold and mildew include:
- Make sure there is proper ventilation in the bathroom by opening a window or by running an exhaust fan after bathing.
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep your house free of humidity.
- Fix any leaking toilets, sinks or pipes causing moisture in the bathroom.
- Make sure moisture isn’t coming from a leaky roof or gutters.
- Eliminate damp hiding places like wallpaper, fabric curtains or rugs.
- Try not to store shampoo bottles, shower gels, wash cloths, loofahs or bath toys in the shower.
- Buy a new shower curtain – one that is resistant to mold and mildew.
- Mold and mildew like dark places, so keep it light in the bathroom. Let light in by raising the shades, pulling back curtains, or installing a sky light.
- Add bathroom cleaning to your daily routine. Spray your shower and tub with a shower cleaner that contains bleach or another mold/mildew fighting ingredient.
- If you have tile in the bathroom, make sure the grout lines are sealed and waterproofed annually.
It is virtually impossible to rid your home completely of all mold and mildew, as some spores will still be floating in the air through house dust. However, spores can’t grow if moisture is not present. For small, contained areas of mold in your bathroom, there are a variety products on the market that can easily take care of the problem. Vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and other products containing bleach are always good to use.
For larger areas of mold, call in a professional. Here’s when it’s time to make that call:
- When cleaning methods do not kill the mold.
- If the area of mold is larger than 10 square feet.
- If mold has grown into walls and insulation.
- If you suspect that the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (or HVAC) system may contain mold.
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