Mold has the potential to cause you many serious health problems. It also has the potential to grow in many areas that you come into contact with. One area that it commonly grows in is the shower. You can prevent this potential danger to yourself by learning more about mold, how to prevent it, and finally how to remove it.
What is Mold?
It is neither a plant nor an animal. That might surprise you because of its hairy appearance, but it actually is a Fungi. The “hairs” you see are actually hyphae which when they form together are called mycelium. You don’t need to remember those names, but what you need to know is that this is the method that mold uses to spread.
It feeds on organic material but it’s not really eating things the same way that you do. It secretes enzymes that break its food up into smaller molecules that it can then absorb.
Mold thrives in warm, dimly lit, damp conditions. Those conditions could be present in your shower and could be perfect circumstances for mold growth.
Where Do You Find It?
You can find mold virtually anywhere in or around your house. It is especially prevalent, however, in your bathroom. Why? Because of the high amount of constant humidity. Take special note of the caulk, grout, tiles, sink, and toilet.
The area around the bathroom window is also ideal for mildew growth. And don’t forget about the less permanent fixtures in your bathroom like the shower curtain, floor mat, towels, or even your bathrobe.
Why is mold dangerous?
Mold is hazardous to your health because its spores are so small and light-weight that they can easily become airborne. That means that while they’re floating around in the air they can be inhaled effortlessly by anyone within the vicinity.
Some kinds of mold even make toxins or mycotoxins that can cause all kinds of health problems. They can even cause serious illnesses like: aspergillosis, blastomycosis, histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, paracoccidioidomycosis, sporotrichosis, and systemic candidiasis.
Certain demographics are more affected by mold spores. The elderly or small children or people with respiratory problems like asthma may be more susceptible to mold related illnesses. Ultimately, though, mold spores can make anyone feel sick; even your pets.
Some of the symptoms may include cold like symptoms like a headache, sore throat, runny or plugged up nose, sneezing, and coughing. However, if you’re also experiencing wheezing, red, itchy eyes, rashes, fever, fatigue, or depression chances are you may have been exposed to mold. It is time to see a doctor. Your treatment should be continued until all traces of mold are removed from your home. If you don’t your symptoms will only get worse.
How to Prevent Mold in Shower?
Eliminating the potential of mold is your first, and best line of defense. The main way to eliminate that potential is by reducing the dampness of your bathroom. Moisture is something that you can’t eliminate from a shower. Through regular cleaning and by following this routine you can prevent mold, or slow the growth of already existing mold.
Properly use your fan
The correct sized fan can make all the difference in eliminating moisture. The fan sends the moisture in the air and to the outside, where it’s no longer an issue for you.
To determine if your fan is equipped to handle your bathroom you need to check the label on your fan. On the label, it should list the CFM (or Cubic Feet per Minute). If that number is larger than the square footage of your bathroom multiplied by 1.1 for an 8-foot ceiling or 1.5 for a 9-foot ceiling than you are in good shape. If not, then you need to buy a stronger fan.
Another important thing to remember is to run your fan whenever you use your shower. Leaving the fan running for at least 30 minutes following each use. This stops all the leftover moisture from remaining and damaging walls and giving mold an opportunity to grow.
Take the time to squeegee! Yes, it does require extra work from you, but it pays off. By using the squeegee to remove the water from the walls and tub it reduces the moisture by up to 75%! So the extra few moments it takes to is well worth it. Buy a squeegee and make good use of it.
Wash bathroom linen
It may seem like a simple thing, but you need to wash all bathroom linen regularly at least once a week. That included the floor mat which can easily be overlooked. Another bathroom item that could go forgotten is the shower curtain, even plastic curtains can get moldy. The longer these go unwashed the higher the chance of mold. Clean towels and mats mean a clean and healthier bathroom.
Remove shower items
By following the rest of the routine you’ve eliminated almost all of the hiding spots for mold. However, did you ever think about how mold may be hiding in your personal items in the shower? Your sponges, washcloths, loofahs, and shampoo bottles, old bars of soap, and even your razor cannot go overlooked.
Water can accumulate on all of these and by not keeping them clean and dry, the problem will only continue to spread. That is why it is essential to dry off these items and remove them from the shower when they are not in use.
How to Remove Mold and Mildew?
After finding mold in your shower it is very important to not ignore it. You need to take immediate action. It is also important to determine where the water is coming from. If you have been cleaning regularly and followed the routine mentioned above then you could have a leak. A good idea is for you to inspect around water fixtures while they are running to see if they are contributing to the problem. If that is the case, these leaks need to be repaired as soon as possible.
You can easily identify mold with a simple test. Mix a solution of one part bleach to sixteen parts water. Use a small swab to dab the mixture on the wall. You will know that you are dealing with mold and not just dirt if the spot quickly lightens or if the discolored area keeps returning. A mold test kit will also prove to be useful to identify the type of mold you will have to deal with.
Once you’re certain you have a mold infestation, how can you remove it? After the surface has dried from the test, you can clean and spray the area with an antimicrobial treatment. This will prevent the mold from returning.
For hard-to-clean areas like tile grout, try using peroxide or bleach. Allow the area to soak in the solution of choice then scrub it with a stiff brush and rinse. Even difficult-to-reach areas can be mold or mildew free once again. Just soak a few cotton balls in bleach and leave them in the area for a few hours then remove them and rinse with warm water.
If the area is larger or it has poor ventilation like in a basement, the best option may be to use Concrobium Mold Control. It is best to dispense in spray form or with a fogging machine.
You are now equipped with the knowledge needed to fight the fungi in your shower! The health risks from coming into contact with it should motivate you to take the preventative steps mentioned.
It’s well worth the extra effort. If you already have mold then take immediate action! If you do encounter a large quantity of mold, however, it might be best to contact some mold remediation experts to handle the problem for you.