Removing mould in the bathroom: How to get rid of mould!
Mould in the bathroom is not just a cosmetic problem: If it is not removed immediately, the infestation can spread to other rooms in the home. The risk to health should also not be underestimated: Mould can cause respiratory problems and allergies, in particular for people with weak immune systems. Fortunately, you can remove mould in the bathroom – in many cases using simple household products.
How to remove mould in the bathroom
If you need to remove mould in the bathroom, plan the process carefully and take the appropriate precautions. A fresh layer of paint on affected areas can provide a short-term cosmetic effect. But mould can continue to spread unchecked behind the paint. Correct removal of mould is therefore essential.
If you spot mould in the bathroom early enough, it’s possible to treat it using gentle household products. Provided the mould infestation is minor, it can be removed relatively easily. An infestation is minor if it affects areas of walls or tiles measuring 30 to 40 square centimetres. The mould must not yet have permeated silicone seals. But there is no time to lose as the spores could spread further.
Also note: In rental properties, the landlord must be notified of any mould infestation. You can discuss together whether the ventilation concept for the bathroom is fit for purpose or needs to be improved, for example, by installing a ventilation system.
The following household products can be used to treat minor mould infestations:
- Alcohol: Methylated spirit or rubbing alcohol with a volume of at least 70 per cent are very effective in removing smaller traces of mould. You can buy these products in a pharmacy or supermarket.
- Vinegar: If the mould is present only on smooth surfaces, you can use vinegar essence. However, vinegar will not remove fungal spores and should therefore be used only for very small, superficial mould infestations.
- Natron: Natron is a real all-purpose weapon in the home. It can be found in most kitchen cupboards in the form of baking powder and can be purchased in supermarkets and chemist shops. To treat mould in the bathroom, mix some baking powder with water to form a paste. Use an old toothbrush to apply the paste and rub it in. Caution: Natron can scratch sensitive surfaces such as marble. It is a good idea to carry out a test on an inconspicuous area first.
Follow these steps to remove mould in the bathroom using household products:
- Protective equipment: To protect yourself from fungal spores and fumes from the cleaning agent, wear gloves, a breathing mask and safety glasses.
- Ventilation: Open the window before you start removing mould in the bathroom to ensure the space is well ventilated.
- Remove mould: Pour some alcohol or vinegar onto a cleaning cloth and wipe it over the mould stains until they disappear. In the case of stubborn mould, you can leave the product to work for a little while. Then wipe the surface with clean water and dry it thoroughly.
- Check the bathroom: Check the bathroom for any other signs of mould. Textiles such as towels, bath mats, decorations or furniture will need to be disposed of if they show any traces of mould.
How can you tackle an advanced mould infestation?
You can often treat small traces of mould on tiles yourself. But how can you remove black mould on silicone joints? It is best to entrust this work to a professional. If mould is already visible on silicone joints, this indicates a more advanced mould infestation. By this stage, the mould is no longer a superficial problem. It has permeated the silicone and can no longer be removed simply by cleaning.
Silicone joints need to be fully renovated to stop the fungal infestation. Existing silicone seals will need to be removed and, in extreme cases, the tiles will also need to be replaced. This work is best entrusted to professionals. If it is not carried out correctly, fungal spores could spread all over the bathroom or even your entire home. To avoid this scenario, it is important to remove any mould infestation from the bathroom as quickly as possible.
Overview of types of mould
In general: Mould spores are part of life. In most cases, we don’t even notice them. Out of over 250,000 different strains, very few are harmful to health. Penicillin, for example, is derived from mould fungus, while other strains are used in cheese processing. However, the bathroom can also harbour harmful fungal species.
The following mould species are particularly common in bathrooms:
- Black mould (aspergillus niger): Black mould is notorious as it can frequently be harmful for health. It attacks foods, but can often be found in bathrooms too. Certain sub-species can cause breathing problems and allergies. Black mould is very aggressive and also attacks glass, metal and stone. It is impervious to temperature differences. If you find black mould in your bathroom, it’s best to be on the safe side and arrange for a test. This will allow you to rule out the presence of the dangerous black mould fungus alternaria alternata.
- Yellow mould (aspergillus flavus): Yellow mould can also emit noxious fungal toxins. It has a dry, flaky appearance and is usually found on seeds such as peanuts or corn. Its light colour means it is often mistaken for limescale in the bathroom or simply overlooked.
- Green mould (aspergillus fumigatus): Green mould spreads mainly on foods, but can also encroach into your home. It too can produce toxic substances that are harmful for health.
In general: Whatever type of mould you find in the bathroom – it’s essential to remove it quickly.
Preventing mould in the bathroom: Helpful tips!
- Strong intermittent ventilation: Effective ventilation in the bathroom is the best way to prevent the formation of mould. Regardless of temperature, high humidity provides ideal conditions for the formation of mould. Open the bathroom window fully several times a day for at least 10 minutes.
- Leave the window ajar: Between intermittent ventilation, leave the window ajar if possible to allow damp air to escape.
- Electric fans: If you don’t have a window in your bathroom, you can install a ventilator or an electric fan. Always keep bathroom doors closed to prevent moisture from spreading into other rooms in your home.
- Air dehumidifiers: As well as ventilating a room, dehumidifying the air can also help to combat mould formation. Electric or chemical air dehumidifiers are one possible option. However, chemical air dehumidifiers can often have adverse health effects. A hygrometer can help you to achieve an optimum level of air humidity.
- Eliminating moisture: Always keep the bathroom dry where possible. After bathing or showering, wipe away any water stains and use a squeegee to remove water from the bath or shower cabinet. Pay particular attention to corners as this is where moisture tends to accumulate. Wipe damp walls to dry them and change wet towels.
- Keep the shower cabinet door open: The accumulation of moist air in the cabinet after showering creates ideal conditions for mould spores. So it’s important to keep the shower cabinet door open to allow this moist air to escape. Spread the shower curtain out completely after showering to allow it to dry.
- Keep the bathroom door closed: To stop moist air spreading to other rooms in your home and creating ideal conditions for mould, always keep the bathroom door closed.
- Heating: The optimum temperature in a bathroom is between 21 and 23 degrees. Heat your bathroom during the day to make sure it dries faster and mould has less chance of developing.
- No wet laundry: Don’t hang laundry up to dry in the bathroom.
If you follow these rules carefully, mould won’t stand a chance – and you can enjoy a mould-free bathroom with pleasantly clean air.