Our showers are places we naturally associate with cleanliness. Unfortunately, if you’ve discovered mold inside yours, you’re likely experiencing a mixture of shock, disgust, and confusion.
It’s understandable to want to destroy the offending growth as quickly as possible. However, it’s essential to be educated on a couple of things before you take action.
For one, not every component in your shower can be treated similarly. Also, using certain products can make things worse. Our guide on how to get rid of mold in showers will detail what you need to know to handle the problem.
- Mold in showers is caused by moisture, lack of ventilation, and negligence in cleaning.
- Use mold removers, bleach, steam, disinfectants, or essential oils to clean mold effectively.
- Avoid using plain water or deviating from the manufacturer’s guidelines on cleaning products.
- Specific cleaning methods depend on the affected surface, such as grout, caulk, tiles, or showerhead.
What Causes Mold in Showers?
Mold is a type of fungus. Specific fungi produce mold spores that travel in the air. These spores settle and grow in areas with everything they need to thrive.
All mold spores need to survive are a food source, moisture, and appropriate temperatures. Unfortunately, the ideal temperature range for mold is pretty broad. This means you can’t freeze or heat it to death easily (2).
Some species can consume wood, paper, soap residue, and even oil residue from your skin to grow (3).
Now that you know the fundamentals of mold, you can probably hazard a guess at why your shower is playing host. Here are the possible reasons:
- Poor ventilation: We know it’s impossible to keep your shower dry all the time. Still, if your shower is constantly damp due to a lack of ventilation in your bathroom, it isn’t surprising that mold took hold.
- Leaks: A leaking shower head or faucet translates to a constant source of moisture. This is the case even when your shower isn’t in use and otherwise dry.
- Negligence: Can’t remember when you last cleaned all the cracks and crevices in your shower? Then, mold can take the opportunity to grow unhindered, for instance, in areas such as your sliding door seals or wall corners.
Products You Can Use to Clean Mold in Showers
These are suitable products you can arm yourself with to get rid of mold in showers:
Mold removers are solutions designed to destroy fungi. They’re usually made with acids and other substances. These components can eradicate mold without damaging the underlying surface.
How to Use It:
- Follow the instructions on the bottle. Ensure it won’t harm the surface you’re using it on (e.g., chrome, tile, etc.).
Bleach is the champion of cleaning products. Unsurprisingly, bleach-based solutions can be effective at eradicating mold on a variety of surfaces. No wonder the Center for Disease Control (CDC) supports using bleach against mold (4).
How to Use It:
- Combine one cup of bleach along with one gallon of water.
Water is a friend to mold, but not when it evaporates into steam at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (5). Even the hardiest temperature-resistant species will die when the temperature surpasses 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Use It:
- Buy or rent a steam cleaner and use it as directed.
We don’t mean the type of disinfectants you use on yourself. Instead, any disinfectant that contains phenols (phenolic detergents) should do the trick. An added benefit is that phenols can suppress mold growth as well as other bacteria, viruses, and more (6).
How to Use It:
- Dilute the disinfectant in water according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Many of you probably consider vinegar and baking soda an indefatigable team. That may be true for other cleaning jobs. However, you may want to use it as a backup or finishing touch for this project.
Despite its reputation as a natural fungicide, vinegar came up short against two typical strains of household molds. It had little to no effect on inhibiting or stopping growth (7).
How to Use It:
- Add half a cup of baking soda to one cup of vinegar.
If you’re not keen on going the chemical route, there’s hope yet. Some essential oils have demonstrated effectiveness against mold (8):
- Clove oil.
- Eucalyptus oil.
- Lavender oil.
- Pine oil.
- Tea-tree oil.
How to Use It:
- Dilute 25 drops or so of your oil with half a cup of isopropyl alcohol and plain water.
What You Should Avoid
We all have unique preferences for cleaning agents. But when it comes to nasty invaders like mold, it’s vital to use solutions that not only remove it but kill most or all of the residual spores. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up with a recurrence.
- Your own mix: Never deviate from the manufacturer’s guidelines on household detergents. Don’t use an undiluted cleaning agent or play the scientist to make a more powerful solution. You could injure or intoxicate yourself (9).
- Plain water: Blasting the mold off your shower wall or door won’t do the job. Even if the growth is physically gone, it can return.
How to Get Rid of Mold in Showers
Before you start, there are a few preparatory steps to take:
- Be realistic: If the affected shower is one you haven’t used for a long time, the mold growth could be severe. If the fungi have colonized an area larger than three feet by three feet, call a professional (10).
- Stay safe: Before you engage in battle with the mold, protect yourself. Wear gloves, a mask, and goggles to shield yourself from floating mold spores. Keep doors and any windows open for air circulation.
- Prepare your equipment: Have your cleaning agent or steam cleaner ready for action. Grab your sponge or scrub brush and paper towels.
- Keep pets and kids away: Mold spores can provoke allergic reactions in some individuals. So make sure your family members steer clear of the bathroom while you work.
- Clear the area: Get all your shampoo bottles, loofahs, and other bathing items out of the shower. Check every item for mold contamination if it was near the growth site.
Tips for Preventing Mold in Showers
You’re now an expert on how to get rid of mold in showers, and you know why it happens. It’s time to discuss prevention so that you don’t end up in the same situation again.
- Increase ventilation: Aim to boost air circulation in your bathroom as much as possible. Switch on the vents after you shower, or at least leave doors and windows open. If your bathroom has no windows, you might want to invest in a dehumidifier to take moisture out of the air.
- Fix leaks: Now is the time to repair that leaking shower hose or dripping faucet. A constant source of moisture makes for prime real estate for opportunistic fungi.
- Clean regularly: It sounds obvious, we know. But cleaning your shower weekly can inhibit mold from settling in and growing.
- Be thorough: When you’re in cleaning mode, don’t forget cracks and crevices. As you know, mold can grow anywhere in your shower. Take your shower head down every so often and soak it in your favorite cleaning agent.
Enjoy Fungi-Free Showers
A moldy shower is not only gross, but it can be unhealthy to expose yourself to mold spores daily. If you’ve been dealing with a persistent sore throat or irritated sinuses, it may be due to fungi in your shower.
Tackling small mold patches isn’t as intimidating as you might have thought. Don’t forget to call in a professional if the mold is widespread.
Prevention can be the ultimate weapon against mold. If you do your best to make your shower inhospitable for mold colonies, they won’t have a chance to grow.