Our family bathroom does not have a window. So, we rely on an extractor fan to keep the moisture levels down.
Unless I keep on top of the cleaning, black mold quickly grows in the shower.
I know that because not so long ago, my husband said he would take care of the bathroom cleaning.
At the beginning, all was good, but then the frequency of cleans, started to slip.
I don't use the bathroom myself, but one day I ventured in to see how it was looking, and this is what I found.
This was just one part of the bathroom. Most of the grout around the shower area had started to go brown, and the caulking behind the bath taps had a lot of black mold growing behind.
So, besides a naughty husband, I had a cleaning job on my hands!
Fortunately, it was a quick fix. Here's what worked for me in a nutshell:
Use a cleaning spray containing bleach or soak some toilet paper in neat bleach and leave it to work on the area for 24 hours. This removes the mold stain. Follow with some mold killer so that mold spores are killed.
Here is the area looking much better:
Read on to find out more.
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What causes black mold in the shower?
If you are wondering why your shower is growing black mold, know that mold needs two things to thrive, moisture and warmth.
Both elements are common in bathrooms. Insufficient ventilation can cause raised humidity, making a mold problem even worse.
Let's not forget that showers are for cleaning our bodies, so we add body oils, skin cells, sebum, and more into the mix. Mold loves to feed on oily soap scum.
Is black mold dangerous?
Mold spores, when inhaled, can cause a range of problems, from a rash to breathing issues.
There are various types of mold. The common type that appears in bathrooms and showers is the black kind, called Stachybotrys. You often find black mold growing on tile grout, caulking and ceilings.
For those with compromised immunity, mold spores can be a serious concern. So, it's important to remove the mold as soon as you notice it and to stop it from returning.
Where does mold grow in the shower?
Mold can grow just about anywhere in the shower when given the right environment.
I also find a type of pink mold growing on shampoo and body wash bottles if I don't clean them from time to time.
You can also have mold growing behind tiles. If there is a crack somewhere in the grout, or you have a leak, water can get behind and thus mold grows.
How to get rid of black mold in the shower (most effective option)
As I said, unfortunately, we let our bathroom get into a state with black mold growing on the silicon seal and around the taps.
We also had brown mold growing on the tile grout.
I removed it all with bleach.
Bleach is all I will ever use in bathrooms with black mold.
Bleach is the best way to get rid of black mold in the shower. Either as a spray or straight thick toilet bleach. It is far more effective than anything else I've tried, such as baking soda or vinegar.
The way you apply the bleach will depend on where the mold is in your shower. Sometimes a spray is best, and other times you can pour on bleach and then let it sit for a while.
However, bleach doesn't kill the mold; it merely removes the stain caused by the mold.
So, what I like to do afterwards to kill off mold spores, is to spray on some distilled white vinegar or a preparatory mold spray.
Let's look at the various methods of removing black mold, depending on where it is:
When you use bleach, always wear protective gloves. Keep the area well ventilated and wear a mask.
For black or brown colored mold on your shower grout
I often have black or brown mold growing in my towel grout. It isn't possible to have a bleach solution sit for long because it just runs down the wall, so I find a spray is best.
I aim the spray at close range at the stained grout. Some of it runs down, but I still get a good cleaning effect.
For this, either make up a spray of bleach or use a bathroom spray containing bleach. If you are using a thick toilet bleach, you will need to dilute it to make it work with the spray.
I have had great success removing mold with Cillit Bang Bleach and Hygiene cleaner and also my local store equivalent.
For black mold in caulking or shower seals
For mold growing in silicon caulking, you need to let the bleach sit on it for a while.
The best way to do this is to soak some twisted toilet paper in the bleach and push it against the caulking. Then leave to work for at least 24 hours.
If you find that the mold remains, it has very probably penetrated the silicon, and the only way to deal with that is to pull it out and replace with new.
For black mold on your ceiling
Make up a spray bottle of vinegar and spray the area to be treated. Let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub the area using a microfiber cloth. The mold and the staining should be gone.
If you find stains remain, you may want to repaint your ceiling. Choose a water and mold-resistant paint to make cleaning your bathroom easier going forward.
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Other ways to remove black mold from your shower
You can also treat your black mold with baking soda.
Mix some baking soda with enough water to make a paste and apply it to the mold.
Let the paste sit for at least ten minutes, and then use a scrubbing brush or a toothbrush to scrub it off.
The baking soda is great for killing the mold, but there might well be a stain remaining.
This can be removed with bleach, either as a spray or applied to some kitchen or toilet paper placed directly on the area.
Vinegar is a fantastic natural killer of bacteria and is also good for killing mold spores.
Simply spray it neat on the area and leave it to work. You can let it dry naturally or rinse it off.
Keep in mind that vinegar is an acid and can damage some surfaces. I would never use it on my limestone tiles, for example.
Again, if you still have mold stains, you may want to also treat the area with bleach.
Remember not to mix the vinegar and bleach, as combined they create toxic fumes.
How to prevent mold from growing in your shower and bathroom
Now you know how to remove the black mold in your shower cubicle, let's keep it that way!
Having to clean mold off with bleach is pretty nasty. It is fumy and not great for the environment.
I recommend you try to keep your bathroom mold-free, so you can keep your use of bleach to a minimum.
The number one thing you should do if you want to stop mold growing is to reduce moisture.
Mold loves to grow in damp places, plus your bathroom is typically warm, which makes the mold grow even faster.
Here's how you can keep black mold from returning:
Keep the air moving
Open the window if you have one after a shower.
Another thing you can do is to install an extractor fan. These are very effective a drawing the moisture out of the area.
Keep your shower drain clear
If the shower isn't draining properly, then old soapy water, along with dirt and body oils, hang around in your shower cubicle for longer.
This can cause a layer of scum to form on the shower floor, and you will need to clean it more often. Mold loves this kind of environment.
Dry after showering
After showering, dry the area if you can. It's a bit of a nuisance to keep doing it, but mold loves moisture. If your bathroom is particularly prone to mold growth, it will be worth it.
Even if your shower isn't completely dry, a wipe down with a microfiber cloth will reduce moisture and clean off soap scum. It can also keep your shower door and walls free of hard water deposits.
Keep showers short
The longer you shower for, the steamier the room gets. Steam takes longer to subside, allowing mold to grow.
Carry out a thorough clean every one or two weeks
Cleaning your shower once per week or at least every two weeks will keep your shower looking lovely. You don't need a strong cleaner.
Simple dish soap is all I use, along with a microfiber cloth.
If you need more scrubbing power, combine the dish soap with baking soda or soda crystals.
Treat with mold spray once per week
You may need to experiment here.
I always recommend starting with the most gentle cleaning option before going for stronger chemicals.
If you are finding that all the above advice isn't keeping the mold away, start doing a weekly spray with mold killer.
Fix cracked grout or split caulking
Cracked grout, or split caulking will allow moisture to seep underneath, making a mold problem much bigger.
Repair cracks by re-grouting and replacing split caulking and cracked tiles.
Use water-resistant paint
If you are going to redecorate your bathroom, go for some water and mold-resistant paint, especially on the ceiling where mold often tends to grow.