how to clean a mildew shower?

I can’t even start to describe how much I hate those mildew patches in my shower. I don’t care if these are mildewed or molded areas, I just don’t want them in my bathroom. Yes, I know it is easy to get rid of those using the methods below but I’m also going to tell you how to make sure  It won’t come back.

If you are just looking for to quickly get rid of the mildew here are the steps :

  1. Get hold of mildew removal solution. The best are vinegar, Borax or Bleach. The latter is the most effective one but I suggest to start with the more natural solution and avoid the toxic fumes (see a list of environment-friendly solutions).
  2. Spray or wash the affected areas with the solution. Make sure you form a generous coat and the liquid cover both the tiles and grout on the lower parts of the shower or the infected ceiling area and corners. Pay special attention to all the small crevices, corners and cracks as those as really favored by the mildew.
  3. Let it dwell for 10-15 minutes. Assuming it is not the low tiles on your shower or the ceiling corner it is better to let the solution work for few minutes and make sure it is penetrating all the holes.
  4. Scrub all the mildew. Don’t be shy here scrub as hard as you can and make sure nothing left behind. Use a rough wipe or a toothbrush for the stubborn areas, the grout, and caulking. Remember that these are living fungus that needs to be killed and removed.
  5. Dry all leftovers. Use a cloth, an old towel or anything that you don’t really need (especially if you chose to go with the bleach option). Make sure to leave the treated tiles and walls as dry as possible.

These 4 steps will work in most cases. If you see that you failed then you probably need more advanced mildew and mold removal techniques

But first let’s understand what is mildew and why does it form in our bathroom

Why do I have mildew in showers?

In one word: moist.

Mildew is a living organism that flourishes in a wet environment. Their role in the environment is clear and we need it in order to help organic material decay. The problem is that this quality is also the one damaging our rooms and walls the fungus do not really make a difference between a leafs and grout, they just eat it all.

So what does mildew needs in order to form? Organic material and water (in any form). Theoretically speaking mildew start to form within 24-48 hours in a damp environment. Once formed they keep on spreading the colony while damaging the materials they grow on. Most organic materials are in risk to be attacked by the mold, the usual suspects are:

Insulation, wallpaper, drywall, foods, tiles, carpets, decaying plants, cardboard etc.

It is important to understand that as long as the two resources will be available the mildew will keep on propagate to adjacent material. In general, one needs to remove the source of the moist and kill/remove the fungus. Yet this is not a real option in a shower room… which leave us with removal and prevention.

Black mold patches on white drywall

Is it toxic and dangerous to your health?

On a day to day basis, we are all exposed to airborne mold spores and it’s all fine. Problems occur in one of the special cases:

  • Consumption of  high quantities
  • A sensitive or allergic person
  • individuals with existing respiratory conditions

The symptoms are very similar to an allergic reaction you are familiar with (sneezing, rush, eye irritation, etc.).

Unless we are dealing with a toxic black mold (Stachybotrys atra). How do you identify these malicious creatures? It doesn’t matter! If you really want to you can read about it in the Wikipedia link but the rule is that all mold and mildew need to be removed.

Advanced mildew cleaning techniques

So the bleach solution didn’t make it ha?

The safest solution will be to call an expert mold removal service that will make sure to professionally get rid of it all. They usually have the right tools to detect the source of water feeding the mold. Next, they isolate the affected area using a negative air pressure chamber and apply structural drying methods

TIP: Bear in mind that might never actually see the mold, In a lot of cases it grows inside the walls or under a wooden or tiled floor.

But here are some things you can still do on your own :

  • If you have molded fabrics or fabrics alike (bathroom carpet, shower curtains, etc.)  do yourself a favor and just throw these away.
  • Though most shower room walls are protected with tiles there might be a leakage that gets the walls wet. It has nothing to do with the humidity and water inside the room but it still a huge problem. As before the rule is simple but not really … If you have mold inside the wallboards there is no way but to get rid of the entire wall and replace it. The same rule applies for the insulation, through away the infected parts and replace Bummer.
  • Same goes for grout and   if you tried to bleach the hell out of them and the black stains remain and expand you will have to completely remove and reapply

Make sure the mildew is not coming back

The perfect conditions for mold and mildew to form are warm, damp and humid conditions which make our role easy. We just need to make sure these factors are constantly reduced.

  • Keep the water away as much as possible. Use a mop or squeegee and make sure to remove any extra water buildups, just add a step to your shower routine and get rid of the water. Same goes to the sink area, make sure that you do not leave before it is dry.
  • Vent vent vent – Even if you will try you won’t be able to always completely dry your bath or shower. Water will always remain in cracks, corners or anywhere else you didn’t swipe. That’s why we need the help of moving air to vaporize the left over. Leave a window open or make sure that you have a vent that will keep on running for at least 10 minutes after you shut the light (check the Panasonic WhisperCeiling ventilation solution on Amazon)
  • Reduce humidity – Either use Damprid or a dehumidifier like the Honeywell Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier (check on Amazon)r
  • Check for leaks and fix them – On the simple cases you see them with your eyes, on some cases you will even smell it. You might want to check your outside water gauge from time to time; if no water is being used it should be static. If it moves? Houston we have a problem
  • Use mold inhibitors which can be added to paints.
  • Do you have air ducts installed in your shower? Make sure those are clean from mold and mildew. Check thoroughly the duct’s inside surface, or if duct insulation has been wet.
  • Set a periodic schedule to look for the signs. Look for the black spots and  moldy odors. Use mold-kand moldyducts like Instant Mold Stain (check on Amazon). Just to be on the safe side

How to remove mold from walls with vinegar?

No dought this is the most natural and easy to get and simple to applicate. Take regular distilled white vinegar and baking soda (hydrogen peroxide in its fancy name). Just mix 80% of the vinegar with 20% water and add baking soda or borax in the rate of half a cup of vinegar to every two tablespoons of Borax to the mix.

Start scrubbing.

A hard brush or an old toothbrush will make wonders and will be really helpful. Note that the solution you have mixed is unhealthy and need to be thrown away or properly stored after used.

Wipe all the remains and wash with water and soap.

That’s all, you are done.

TIP: Use natural white vinegar. All the rest will not deliver the same results

TIP 2: For ease of use you might want to mix everything in a spray bottle, though a small container will definitely do the work as well.

 

Environment-friendly mildew removal solutions

  • Tea Tree Oil (check on Amazon) – All natural oil from Australia. Family and pet-friendly mold removal. Make sure to let it dwell on the infected areas for some time.
  • Vinegar – known to kill 82% spices. Just pure it into a spray bottle (no need to add water) and spay. The smell will disappear in a few hours
  • Baking soda – One tablespoon in a spray bottle full of water should do the work.

What is DampRid?

Don’t you hate this little musty smell you get when you enter your basement? Have you got moisture in the air around you? Well, you probably need DampRid.  Just leave it in the humid space and you will easily get rid of the excess moisture from the air.

DampRid is a portfolio fo solutions aims to attract and trap moisture from the air.  By reducing the humidity DampRid prevents damage to goods (mainly from the mold) and musty odors which are common in close spaces. The main ingredient is a salt names calcium chloride which is all natural, refillable and disposable. 

Its role is to help keep the moisture level below 60 percent.

Why do you need to decrease moisture in the air?

Mold is a harmful fungus that grows into our home from too much moisture. Mold can be easily found in wet areas like bathroom, attics, and basements. They can grow in places like leaking roofs, pipes, windows or walls. By keeping your room with minimum moisture, you will be able to prevent this mold from growing into your rooms.

Heavily molded room

DampRid can be purchased in fragrance-free or different pleasurable scents to make a room fresh and free from that musty smell. I believe that anyone in a humid-risk area needs to keep it in the basement, closet, laundry room, office, kitchen, garage, storage unit, gym locker or even in the car.

TIP: If you don’t really suffer from the obvious signs it doesn’t mean that you are safe. A humidity gauge is something always handy to have around.

Hygrometer Indoor Thermometer Humidity Gauge with Jumbo Touchscreen and Backlight Temperature Humidity Monitor

DampRid ingredients:

There is only one simple ingredient used in DampRid. DampRid consists of a non-toxic mineral called calcium chloride which is in the shape of large crystals of salt. It is very similar to rock salt and can be commonly found anywhere. You can use it for melting snow or hard ice and is widely used in products like de-icers. People usually toss this mineral in swimming pools and aquariums in order to balance the chemical level of the water as well. Calcium chloride is also sometimes used in canned food products like tofu or canned vegetables to firm them up. Although the use of this mineral in foods is somewhat debatable, I recommend you not to consume it because it is not safe. The method of calcium chloride is also used by doctors for the treatment of some diseases. The ingredient inside DampRid does not have any bad odor and is safe to use.

The main benefits of it are:

  • Replaceable and refillable.
  • Disposable
  • Highly effective dehumidifier.

Is DampRid toxic?

According to my extensive online research DampRid does not emit any fumes, vapor or gas of any type, so it is not toxic or harmful for the environment. It is an all-natural product and will not provide any irritation.

not toxic

Even though the mineral used in DampRid is all natural, it should be placed in a position that is out of reach for children and pets. The contents should be avoided to be in contact with eyes or skin and should not be consumed in any case. If in contact with eyes, immediately wash. Remove any contact lenses and thoroughly rinse with cold water. If in contact with skin, wash with soap. In case of continuing irritation, seek medical assistance. If the contents are ingested, seek immediate medical help. However, the manufacturers say that children might put it in their mouths but will not swallow it due to the bad taste.

The product is covered with a tight lid, so it does not permit the calcium chloride to fall out, but to stay cautious, it is best to keep it on an out of reach spot for the kids and pets. Calcium chloride can cause esophagus or burns in the mouth. It can also cause vomiting, stomach ache, low blood pressure, weakness, mental disturbances, irregular heart rate, and even coma if swallowed. It is recommended not to put DampRid on metal or leather surfaces as it can easily damage these materials.

Nothing new here, just be on the guard same way as you do with the rest of the risky semi materials we deal with

DampRid vs. dehumidifier:

Damprid vs dehumidifier comparison

Dehumidifier and the DampRid serve different purposes. Yes, they both reduce moisture from the room but all in all, have different functions.

The dehumidifier

Takes out humidity from the rooms that are extremely hot. It sucks out excess moisture depending on the size and quality, but at the same time will cost you more. A dehumidifier will usually cost from $30 to $200 or above according to the brand you purchase. It will also run on electricity which is an added expense. According to a dehumidifier brand called Pingi, an averagely sized dehumidifier will use power that will cost over $150 per year if used for more than 10 hours a day.  Dehumidifiers are heavy and often have wheels for comfortable support. They cover up big space and are often noisy. Some usually give out fresh air and can serve as an air conditioner which further lessens the humidity in the room. The also usually come with a humidistat that can be adjusted to the level of moisture in the place.

A bucket of DampRid

Is used for smaller rooms with mildly humid environments. It sucks out the moisture and collects it later to be disposed of. It is disposable and costs around $10 which makes it cheap and easy to use. The DampRid is an entirely natural process of taking out moisture from the environment and is non-toxic as well. It has crystalline calcium chloride that is a great and effective way to remove any moisture in the room. The pouches in the product are refillable or disposable. The product can be hanged or kept anywhere as it does not require a plug or electricity to work. It also does not consume power which saves you the trouble of adding further expense to your bills. This is ideal for closed spaces like closets, storerooms or places where a dehumidifier will probably not fit; you can easily hang or put it. It is also great for nooks or bathrooms where the chances of growth for mold is predictable.

The advantage of using DampRid over a dehumidifier:

Price

The advantage of using this product is that it is disposable. It is twenty times less expensive than a dehumidifier and costs around $10. For small or compact places, this is ideal to use, especially for mildly humid environments. DampRid will not use electricity as compared to a dehumidifier and thus will not make an addition to your electricity bills.

Easy to use

The fact that the DampRid is disposable makes it convenient. You do not have to find a plug to switch it in or clean its moisture bucket. Just take the lid off and put in anywhere you like. After it reaches its full limit throw it away and put a new one.

Versatility

Because the DampRid does not need to be plugged in, this makes the product versatile. You can easily put it in a storage unit, car or truck for use.

To sum up the comparison I would say that if you have one very expensive vintage car in a non-air-conditioned garage you should probably go with the dehumidifier. For the rest of the simple cases, DampRid will most likely do the work

Important tips to remember when using DampRid:

While using it home:

  • DampRid is not only for taking out moisture, but it can also be used for preventing foul odors from places like closets, bathrooms, mudrooms, garage, storerooms, etc. Special DampRid products are available that have pleasing scents that help the room stay fresh.
  • Moisture and humidity can quickly ruin your things and clothes. The DampRid helps to protect your valuable stuff. It is recommended not to use this product in safe boxes.
  • In the case of the high humid environment, the DampRid will need to be replaced more often.
  • When the bucket is full, pour the contents out and refill with new crystalline calcium chloride pouches or refillable packets.
  • The product does not absorb liquid as it is, it absorbs moisture from the air.
  • If any of your product is wet, like cellophane or other electronic product, you can put the product inside the DampRid and close its lid tight. It will absorb all moisture from the product

On the boat:

  • You will have to replace the DampRid buckets more often on a boat because of high humidity and moisture levels. Obviously, it cannot be used for absorbing water, only for moisture absorption from the air.

For RV and campers:

  • Whether if the RV is on the road or in storage, DampRid can be a useful product to keep it protected from moisture damage.
  • You can put it anywhere, the kitchen, bathroom, living room or anywhere else.These are the immediate suspects to get damaged or molds due to high levels of humidity.
  • It is essential to keep the bucket of DampRid in a place where it would not tip or fall. So that the absorbed moisture does not fall out or in case of leakage it does not spill all over.

In the car:

  • The DampRid prevents any moisture or odor collecting in your vehicle. Just place it under the seat of your car and let it work as a moisture absorber or solely for odor prevention.
  • It is even more effective when all windows and the sunroof is closed. You can keep it even when your car is not in use.
  • When kept under the seat, your car will be more fresh and scented from the inside.

How to apply sealer to grout – step by step guide

Sealers play an important role in the care and maintenance of natural stone, tile, and grout. Though solid these surfaces need a little help in order to protect against water and weather and on some cases just improve their look. I’m not an expert but based on my research and experience I believe I can help newbies with some guidance and tips.

You do need to seal grout

First, let’s remove the question from the table: You do need to seal grout. As it is a mix of sand and cement it really needs some help stop absorbing water and other liquids. Not only that you need to waterproof it you want to do it every one or two years.

Where do you need to seal? Shower floor, kitchen counter, outdoor flooring and anything with a porous stone

Step by step

In this guide, I will show you how to select and apply a sealer in 9 easy steps

  1. Choose the right sealer
  2. Gather the tools you need for the task
  3. Make sure the surface is dry and clean
  4. Apply sealer in an even coat
  5. Allow sealer to dwell for five minutes
  6. Wipe remains until the surface is completely dry
  7. Wait for 30 minutes and apply a second coat (steps 4-6)
  8. Wait two hours and test
  9. If failed apply the third coat

Choose the right sealer

As I do not recommend the spray option I will assume that you are going to choose one of the liquids that need to be applied using a brush or a roller. The three main options and recommended brands are  Miracle Sealants, Tuff Duck and StoneTech. I believe that those three are more or less the same with some minor differences between them. If I would really need to choose I will probably go with the StoneTech one.

If you are interested I added my little review on those three options below

Gather the tools you need for the task

Sealer – make sure that you have enough of it for the surface you plan to cover

Applicator – Here there is a personal preference. The roll is a bit easier to work with while the brush is more exact and pinpointed. A soft sponge brush will probably be a nice middle between the two options. Anyway, there is no need to invest as an old toothbrush will be great for the job.

TIP: you can skip buying all those ‘miracle applicators’.

Container – anything to hold the liquid

Towel – Any type will do

Protection – Anything to protect your hand skin from touching the sealer.

Make sure the surface is dry and clean

I mean really clean, anything that will be sealed under to the sealer will remain there for a long long time. In case of floor sweep and wash in order to leave no dust and debris, for kitchen counter make sure to remove water spots, stains and any moisture in general.

Even before cleaning the grout need to be completely cured. Check and product manual to see the exact time you need to wait for it to dry (normally few hours) 

Apply sealer in an even coat

Don’t save on the sealing material, put on plenty and made sure it stayed wet for 10 – 15 minutes. The key for a successful application is to keep the surface wet during the 15 minutes of saturation time, don’t be afraid to add more of the sealer it is completely valid for the surface to absorb it in

TIP : If you are doing it indoor try to vent the room. Sealer has a strong odor

Allow sealer to dwell for 5 – 15 minutes

How would you know exactly how much time to wait? read the instructions. There are some variations between the vendors

Leave it on but do not let dry. You wipe it off when it is still wet. If it dries, add more. It will liquefy the tiles/grout again before it dries

Wipe remains until the surface is completely dry

Best to use a lint-free cloth but an old towel will do as well. Just wipe off all the remains.

TIP : use two cloths, one to take most of the extras and the second to close the deal and leave it all dry

Wait for 30 minutes to 24 hours and apply a second coat (steps 4-6)

This is step is a matter of personal preference, it is not mandatory to apply a second coat but in my view, it is highly desirable and will give you some piece of mind. In case of stone that is very porous (slate etc..) you should really consider a second coat

Wait 24-72 hours and test

Leave it to cure, don’t let it get wet and try not to step on the treated area

. Once cured just drop some water on the surface and you’ll see it bead up

If failed apply the second/third coat

Congratulations! You have taken care of the important sealing task. Now what? Now you need to maintain it all year round.

Grout sealing maintenance

In a perfect world, you would repeat this operation every year or every second year.

While I didn’t recommend the spray for the initial sealing I truly believe that on the ongoing maintenance a clean and seal spray () together with a grout scrubber () will surely do the work. Weekly run with those will keep your grout look as new and maintain its sealing abilities

Top three sealers you might want to use

Picture Miracle Sealants PLUSPT6 511 Porous Plus Penetrating Sealers () – Great stuff! Very easy to apply. No way to avoid the smell but it disappears after a few hours. No major changes to the grout color (though I heard a different view on this subject) and water keep on beading after a few months.

Picture StoneTech BulletProof Sealer, 1-Quart() – The best product that I have found for sealing stone.Tried it following a recommendation from the local stone dealer and I’m happy I did follow. One concern I have it the lifespan of one year where other vendors claim for more.

Picture GRANITE PLUS! 2 in 1 Cleaner & Sealer for Granite, Marble, Travertine, Limestone –  Using it to get the shine again and happy with the sealing benefits which is just there for me. Smell is not too bad for my nose.(not a chemical odor)