Bathrooms are the perfect breeding grounds for mold and mildew
Molds love damp, humid, and wet environments, so bathrooms are one place where they can thrive. Not only is mold hazardous to your health, but it can cause serious structural damage in your home. Every shower, soak in the tub, and handwashing releases water droplets into the air and encourages mold growth.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take to lower the humidity level in your bathroom and prevent mold from cropping up. These tips can save you thousands of dollars on mold removal while keeping yourself, your home, and your family safe.
1. Waterproof and Seal Grout
Grout is the mixture of cement and sand that fills the lines between the tiles in your bathroom and secures them together. You can waterproof your shower tile to stop moisture from leaking into the walls or subfloor.
Cracked or chipped grout not only looks unattractive, but it can also lead to moisture leaks and damage to the subfloor or drywall behind your tiles. If you’re an experienced DIYer who isn't afraid to get their hands dirty, you can fix cracked grout yourself. Otherwise, hiring a grout repair person is always an option.
2. Switch to Liquid Soap
Bar soap gets wet and scummy after using it, and the water collecting underneath it creates the perfect spot for mold growth. Ditch your bar soap to keep your sink high and dry.
If you’re not ready to give up your favorite bar soap, you still have options. Use an elevated soap dish with drainage holes, so your bar soap will dry out between uses.
3. Run the Fan During and After Showering
Taking a long, steamy shower is luxurious, refreshing and comforting. While steam is great for clearing your sinuses and opening pores, it has some downsides. If your shower isn’t enclosed, like a steam shower or steam room, steam can accumulate and condense onto other surfaces. If you’ve ever hopped out of the shower to find your bathroom mirror fogged over, you’ve seen this firsthand.
A bathroom fan or vent sucks up steam and increases air circulation to deter moisture and condensation from forming. Always run your fan during a shower and leave it on for at least half an hour afterward.
4. Open Doors and Windows After Showering
Ventilation is crucial to keeping moisture under control. Open your bathroom’s windows or doors (if possible) after a steamy shower to release moist air trapped in the bathroom. If you don’t have a bathroom fan, this is even more essential for combating moisture.
5. Insulate the Walls
The right insulation in your bathroom can prevent mold and rot by controlling temperature and reducing condensation. If your bathroom isn’t insulated and you’re constantly struggling with mold or mildew issues, an insulation company near you can insulate the walls. Choose a mold-resistant, quick-drying insulation material, like fiberglass, to keep your bathroom dry.
6. Squeegee Regularly
Most home improvement retailers sell shower squeegees. Keep one in your bathroom as a reminder to squeegee your shower door and walls after each shower. It may feel trivial, but taking a minute to squeegee your shower will significantly reduce the moisture in your bathroom.
7. Wash Towels, Mats, and Shower Curtains
When you step out of the shower sopping wet, your towels and bath mats absorb almost all of the water. As a result, they can harbor moisture-loving mold and mildew. Wash and dry them regularly to keep mold and mildew from growing rampant.
Your shower curtain is another moist surface where mold can grow, so throw that in the wash once a week for good measure.
8. Run a Dehumidifier
If your bathroom fan isn’t cutting it, you can lower the humidity with a bathroom dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers restrict mold growth by lowering moisture levels. If you already have a standalone dehumidifier, just wheel it into the bathroom after a long shower. If you live in a humid area, you can purchase a whole-house dehumidifier for an average cost of $1,300 to $2,800.
9. Repair Leaks
While your shower is the most likely culprit behind bathroom mold growth, leaks can also be part of the problem. A leaky sink, tub, or roof can cause moisture to accumulate and encourage mold to grow.
Repair leaks as soon as you notice them. You can DIY small leaks if you’re handy, but mistakes can lead to even bigger leaks and damage to your plumbing system. When in doubt, hire a local plumber for repairs.