how to clean a mildew shower?

Stone wall covered with mildew

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.

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