Mold and mildew can be located anywhere in our homes, but is most likely to grow in areas that are wet, humid and damp.  It is most commonly found in bathrooms, basements and attics, when a combination of water and insufficient ventilation are combined.

One of the most noticeable areas you will find mold and mildew is in your bathroom because of the high levels of humidity confined in this small space.  Most commonly, mold and mildew are found in the corners and bases of your shower, under your sink, and along the walls near your shower.

Bathroom mold occurs because it loves damp, isolated and non-ventilated spaces. Leaky toilets, sinks and plumbing pipes also increase the likelihood that mold will accumulate in your bathroom.  Add water saturated wood, wallpaper, grout, drywall and fabric, and your mold will have all the surface area it needs to take over your bathroom.

How do you know you have a mold problem? If you can see it or smell it, you have it. Although bathroom mold is not always clear to see, you should look under sinks, in access doors adjacent to your shower or bathroom fixtures, around exhaust fans, and even in crawl spaces or basement under you bathroom.

The best way to prevent mold is to stop it from happening in the first place.  Use these simple tips to keep mold away:

-Use your bathroom exhaust fan when you shower or take a bath, and leave it on for 30 minutes afterwards.  Removing moisture from the bathroom is one of the best things you can do to reduce the chances of mold growth.

– If you don’t have an exhaust fan, try cracking open your window to help circulate air and dry the room more efficiently.

-Try to keep toys, shampoo, body wash and loofas out of the shower, as they provide additional surfaces for mold to grown on.

-Do not leave wet towels in the bathroom.

-Wash your bathroom rugs frequently.

-Use mildew resistant shower liners, and wash or replace them frequently. Try to stretch out your shower curtain after showering to prevent mold from growing in the folds.

-Keep household humidity levels below 50%.  Your air conditioning system or dehumidifier can help.

-If you have a hand shower, rinse the walls and corners of your shower stall or bathtub to remove any extra soap, shampoo and conditioner that may get stuck in the corners.

-Clean and dust your bathroom at least once a week, as dust is a food source for mold.

-Mix 70% water and 30% bleach in a spray bottle, and spray shower area to allow the mixture to settle for 2 to 3 minutes, then rinse with water weekly.

Have mold? As long as the mold is on the surface, and the infestation isn’t too large, you can attempt to remedy it yourself by cleaning your bathroom with mold killing solutions and cleaners like bleach, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Just be careful not to mix those products as they may cause a toxic reaction. By stripping away and replacing any caulking or sealant where you see mold, you will completely rid the mold without having to clean it. And lastly, try to open windows and doors after cleaning to provide ventilation and help dry out the surfaces more quickly.

Consider routinely checking your bathroom for leaks by feeling around pipes and seals under your sink and by the toilet. If you notice your hands are wet, call a plumber before it worsens.  Clear your slow drains, as these too can cause mold to grow in your bathroom.

If it is time to freshen up your bathroom, consider using a semi-gloss paint that is more resistant to stains, easier to clean and creates a harder surface, which makes mold more difficult to grow.

If you have an area affected by mold that is bigger than 10 square feet, it is recommended that you call a professional who can assist in identifying the exact type of mold you are dealing with, and what the proper abatement procedures are.

If you notice mold building up on your walls or insulation, do not handle it yourself.  The improper handling of mold can lead to releasing mold spores through your entire house, creating an even bigger issue than you had in the first place.

Max Mannino, President – Tri-Star Construction & Home Improvement

(718) 815-1800