Fewer places in the home are as mold and mildew-friendly as the bathroom. Combine a small, usually windowless, space with moisture and warmth and you’ve got the perfect breeding ground for that nasty stuff. If you’ve got allergy sufferers or people with compromised immune systems in your home, you already know the dangers of that slimy pink or orange (and in truly bad cases, black) goop that grows on shower curtains and grout.
But how do you get rid of it and, more importantly, how do you keep it away? It’s easier than you think!
Remove shower curtain mold in the washing machine.
- Put a couple of bath towels in the bottom of your washing machine.
- Carefully remove the dry shower curtain from its hooks and put it in the washing machine on top of the towels.
- Add a couple more towels to the washer. These will help scrub the curtain during the wash cycle.
- Use the normal amount of laundry detergent and add 1/2 cup of baking soda.
- Wash the load on the gentle setting using hot water for both wash and rinse.
- IMPORTANT: Remove the curtain before the spin cycle and hang it outside to dry, if possible, or attach it to its hooks after you’ve eliminated mold in the shower stall.
Remove mold and mildew from the shower stall.
Non-toxic mold removal is as simple as combining 1/2 cup of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide and 1 cup of warm water in a spray bottle. Now, spray it generously on every surface of the shower stall, including the floor. Allow it to sit one hour then scrub vigorously with a stiff-bristled brush and hot water. Don’t bother making up a batch of this stuff in advance; hydrogen peroxide can lose its potency over time, so you’ll need to make this fresh every time.
The bleach alternative is faster but some people, and I’m one of them, would rather work harder than expose themselves or their family to what’s actually a pretty harsh substance. If you’re fine using it, then simply mix equal parts of bleach and plain water, then spray it on every surface of the shower stall, including the floor. Be sure you’re running the bathroom fan when you do this, and take precautions to avoid breathing the mist or allowing it to come in contact with your skin. And never, EVER mix bleach with any other household cleaner!
Keep mold and mildew from returning.
Run your bathroom fans regularly. Yes, it’s nice to step out of a hot shower into a nice, steamy bathroom on a cold winter’s day. Unfortunately, that mix isn’t just cozy to humans: it’s the perfect environment for mold and mildew. Either run your bathroom fan while you shower, or make it a point to run it for at least 15 minutes afterward. (You can easily install a timer to run your bathroom fan.)
Let the light shine. We had a skylight installed in our bathroom for this exact reason, but you don’t have to cut holes in your roof. Just leave the lights on when you’re using the bathroom, and consider installing a timer on them, too.
Spray every surface, every day. Either buy a commercial shower spray or mix your own using 1/3 cup white vinegar and 3 cups water, and add essential oils for fragrance if you like. Some people have reported problems using vinegar on their grout. I’ve never had that problem, but if you’re concerned, use the same amount of rubbing alcohol instead. Either way, make it part of your daily routine to spray the shower walls, floor, curtain and drain every day to prevent mold and mildew growth.
Shake the curtain. After your shower, give the curtain a good shake then close it most — but not all — of the way. This will allow the curtain to completely dry between uses, reducing the amount of mold that builds up.
Hang the towels. Kids are notorious for tossing their damp bath towels on the floor. Not only is this an annoying habit, the towels can never dry so they just add to the moist environment that promotes mold growth. If your kids are too young to understand how to use a towel rack (or if, like mine, they broke your rack by using it to do chin-ups), consider installing simple wall hooks to make it easier for them to hang towels after each use.
Clean it regularly. Even with daily attention, you’ll still need to clean the bathroom regularly. Consider using the weekly bathroom cleaning routine from my printable chore charts, or come up with your own!
A few minutes of work getting it clean, followed by regular daily attention, is all it takes to keep your bathroom mold and mildew free. Happy housekeeping!