The bathroom is where people spend a lot of their time. Over the course of the average person’s lifetime, they will spend a year and a half in the bathroom. Because we spend so much time in this room, it is important that it be a clean and pleasant place. Here’s some information on how to protect your bathroom from black mold.
What Bathroom Surfaces Are Most Likely to Have Problems with Black Mold?
- Spots behind or under sinks, the tub area, and behind appliances in the room are highly susceptible but because of the frequent wet conditions coupled with higher humidity in the room, your entire bathroom is a potential black mold breeding ground.
- Areas that are not easily accessible such as the access panel behind the tub wall are also very likely to be mold prone.
- The wall and floor behind the toilet is also prone to black mold, because it is often dark and is frequently wet. Wetness from a leaky tank or pipes, condensation from the tank itself and other sources of wetness are all contributors to the potential black mold problem here.
- Soft and absorbent surfaces are usually the first to be plagued by black mold, but it can and does grow on other surfaces as well.
What Causes Black Mold in the Bathroom?
- Black mold starts to develop because of water or damp conditions. It is encouraged in growth by dark, undisturbed areas and will really take hold if there is high humidity as well. These are the typical conditions of the average bathroom.
- A bathroom that does not have a window is even more likely to have problems with black mold.
- Leaky pipes, fixtures, and poorly sealed sink surfaces are all potential sources for black mold growth.
How Do I Know if I Have Black Mold in my Bathroom?
- There are two ways to find black mold: you will either smell it or you will spot it. In some cases, the smell is the first warning sign that there is a problem and most people know the smell immediately. In other cases, the mold will be stumbled upon during routine cleaning or while taking care of another problem. For instance, you might notice that the wall near a tub is “rotting” out. This might be mold damage.
- Once you find it you will see a black or greenish black growth. It might be centered on one spot or it might have started to spread out, depending on how long it has been growing and the conditions that it has been growing in. If the conditions have been quite favorable and the spot has been largely undisturbed, the mold growth can be quite extensive.
- If you have any mold at all, it is not always completely necessary to find out what kind you have. All types of mold should be handled in roughly the same way. If it’s present for only a short period of time, it is not typically dangerous to people who are of good health with no chronic immune-suppressive or lung conditions.
Cleaning Up and Preventing Further Black Mold in the Bathroom
Health and safety is the first priority here. If anyone in your household has allergies to black mold (or any mold), is in compromised health, or has a chronic lung problem, have them stay as far away from this room as possible. If possible, relocate them during the cleanup efforts and let the room air out several days before allowing them to return.
- Before you start to clean up, it is important to find out why mold is a problem. In most cases, mold is a result of a problem with water, so find and repair any leaks or excessively damp areas. Install an overhead fan that will help to dry up this room. There are several models of these including one that comes on automatically whenever humidity levels rise above a certain level. These are more effective, especially if your family continually forgets to flip a switch for the traditional fans. These fans are even more important in a bathroom that does not have a window.
- Get your family in the habit of drying up the floor and leaving open the shower curtain to air out after a shower. The curtain should be closed so that it can dry as well.
- Leaks or overflow issues are a problem in the sink; the cabinet under the sink is one of the first places that you should look for mold.
- The area behind the tub’s faucet, usually accessed through a small panel, is another area that is highly susceptible to mold. The more sources of water in the room, the more risk of mold there is. Find and assess all of these potential sources before you even try to clean up. Part of the prevention work will be to repair or replace all of these leaks.
- Clean up of the hard surfaces such as the toilet, pipes, and floors can be done with detergent and water or a bathroom cleaner that specifically lists mold on the label.
- Soft washables such as rugs should be washed with very hot water and then dried. If this does not remove the mold, they will need to be replaced.
- If the area of the black mold is extensive or there is no one who can effectively handle the cleanup, then it is time to call in a professional service for your own protection and peace of mind.