Bathroom Mold Prevention Tips From Your Local Plumber
No matter how much you clean, your bathroom is always going to be a haven for dangerous mold. The combination of high humidity and low ventilation is often the culprit. Mold spreads quickly and contaminates the air in the rooms where it resides.
The moisture that comes from constant use and potential plumbing problems could lead to a mold infestation. Since humidity takes almost all the credit for bathroom mold, the best way to prevent mold growth is to control the level of humidity.
It is very important to take the necessary precautions in order to prevent mold from growing in your bathroom. In case you actually notice signs of mold during your check, it is time to call professionals to determine the type of mold and treat it while still young.
There are an overwhelming number of mold variants; each one requires different methods of clean-up and precautions. While you can remove mold off of surfaces with a diluted bleach solution, unless you consult a professional, you may not be able to identify the underlying structural damage causing the mold. Simply wiping down a wall will not address the leaky pipe causing the mold.
Common Types of Mold Found In Homes
Unlike the mold that can make delicious cheeses, mold that spreads throughout your home is far more sinister. Here are a few common types that you may find in your home.
Acremonium Mold is toxic and evolves in its appearance over time. It first starts out as a small moist mold that turns into a fine powdery substance. Acremonium mold is often pink, grey, orange or white in color. It typically grows in household systems and areas such as condensation from humidifiers, cooling coils, drain pans and window sealants.
Alternaria mold is a dark green mold that you can usually find in showers or sinks. This mold can spread quickly and can cause irritating allergy symptoms. Alternaria mold often appears as dark or gray spots, which can spread into large patches if left without removal. It releases spores and musty smell into the surrounding environment, which present certain health risks with long exposure.
Fusarium is a toxigenic mold that can grow in cold temperatures and often appear to have a red hue or even white color. Fusarium can grow on clothing, carpeting, or wallpaper, and prolonged exposure can lead to bone infections or nervous system damage.
You may recognize this mold because it is the same mold that gave us the wonder of penicillin! While penicillin is amazing, prolonged exposure to penicillium is not as incredible. Penicillium can be blue or green, often found near water damage, and can cause chronic sinusitis. Exposure to Penicillium can cause shortness of breath, coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, and chronic sinusitis. Allergic reactions may occur in some people, including a rash or hives and swelling in the throat (a potentially life-threatening reaction known anaphylaxis).
Stachybotrys, aka Black Mold, is the scariest and most infamous toxigenic mold we have heard of before. Black mold is easily identifiable, and prolonged exposure can lead to fever, depression, headaches and even death.
Common Causes of Bathroom Mold
Bathroom mold is often caused by a high level of humidity, which happens when you take a shower. Humidity in conjunction with poor ventilation can be a dangerous combination. Most people close their bathroom door when they are showering. By doing this, they trap all the moisture-laden steam produced by a hot shower. Since there is no airflow during shower time, moisture then attaches itself to the floor, walls and plumbing, giving mold the perfect conditions to grow.
The bathroom is the wettest area in a house, except maybe the basement. Even if you ventilate your bathroom properly, all the dampness caused by the water in showers, sinks, and even toilets, will eventually cause mold to grow. Bathroom mats and towels also contain moisture, which can easily become mold heaven.
In addition, deteriorating caulk is another common cause of bathroom mold. When grout begins to crack, moist air from a steamy shower can easily find its way into the sides and back of your tile. With paint as a source of food, darkness behind the tile and now moisture, you might have a new, dangerous mold lurking.
Where to Look for Bathroom Mold
The main problem with bathroom mold is that it can appear almost anywhere – from caulk to towels. Bathroom is perfect for mold growth due to a constant high level of humidity.
If you want to check your bathroom for signs of mold, then you should pay attention to these places:
Towels and bathroom robes
Shower curtains and mats
Sink and toilet
Caulk, grout, and tiles
Ceiling and walls
How Mold Can Impact Your Health
Mold is simply a type of fungi that, if left unchecked, can quickly spread throughout the structures of your home. Mold loves moisture, so humid areas or even water damage in your home can lead to mold growth. What makes mold so scary is that it can release hundreds of microscopic spores, and when inhaled over time, it will cause adverse effects on your health.
The Mild Health Effects of Mold
Breathing in mold spores can lead to chest and nasal congestion, alongside sore throat, dry eyes, coughing and even headaches. It may feel like you are coming down with a mild cold, but it could very well be mold.
For those with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, these issues will be far more intense. If you are a relatively healthy person without pre-existing conditions, mold exposure can lead to conditions such as asthma.
The Severe Health Effects of Mold
While the “mild” effects listed above are serious enough, mold exposure has even far more terrifying effects. Prolonged exposure to certain molds can lead to scarring in the lungs, internal organ damage such as heart problems, severely impacting pregnant women and even cancer.
General Tips to Prevent Mold
The key to preventing mold growth is controlling the humidity and moisture in your home. For bathrooms, open a window to get proper ventilation during and after showers to avoid excess moisture from building up and avoid leaving wet cloth such as bath mats or carpet lying around.
In other areas of your home, make sure to allow for proper ventilation by opening a window or running fans to allow for air circulation that prevents excess humidity. You can always use a dehumidifier to help with moisture, and it comes in handy for areas with poor ventilation, such as basements or attics. When deep cleaning around the home, make sure to scrub and use mold-killing cleaning products and allow for these areas to dry. Lastly, keep an eye out for leaks or structural cracks.
Tackling Mold in Your House
Address Your Plumbing Leaks
If you hear a constant dripping or notice that one of your pipes has a small crack that is leaking, get a plumber in immediately. Small leaks can easily become large pipe bursts or the source of an extensive mold infestation. Make it a part of your routine to check your toilet connections and pipes beneath your sinks to catch the small leaks early and prevent the development of expensive plumbing and mold problems.
Get Rid of Excess Water
As soon as you are done showering, get rid of as much water as possible so that it does not have time to evaporate and cause mold. Keep a squeegee in the shower and give the walls and doors a quick wipe before getting out of the shower. Also, thoroughly clean your shower, tub, sink and toilet once a week to ensure no excess water has piled up.
Pay Close Attention to Shower Curtains, Floor Mats and Other Cloth
Almost any place in your bathroom is a potential mold-growing place. Every time you step out of your bath or dry yourself, what you leave behind is actually a tasty morsel for mold to eat. It is very important to pay attention to pieces of cloth and additional equipment often found wet in a bathroom.
Shower curtains are in direct contact with water and often get wet without getting enough time to dry, so be sure that your shower curtain and liner is not sticking to itself so it has a chance to dry thoroughly.
Bathroom mats should be washed regularly and be sure you have the very absorbent floor mats in place to help ensure that the water splashed during showering does not find its way onto your tiled floor.
Towels are often overlooked, but they can easily cause many problems as well. If not properly dried after each use, they become a surface for mold to develop on. If you usually reuse a towel for several showers, make sure you dry it well after each use before folding it. Regularly wash towels in hot water and hang them outside to dry whenever possible.
Ensure Your Bathroom Has Proper Ventilation
From built-in fans to cracking open the window every now and then, keeping your bathrooms ventilated helps prevent mold.
As air moves through and out of your bathroom, moisture will also leave with it. Therefore, not only will you have a mold-free restroom, but you also will not have to suffer from any excess humidity during warmer months.
Clear Out any Clogging Drains
When water cannot properly flow down your drains, it is more likely to create a moisture-filled breeding ground for mold. When water constantly pools around your drains or just rests right around the lip, it is time to call in a licensed plumber to remove your clog and get your pipes back in order.
Take Care of the Grout
Cracked grout is the perfect surface for mold to grow on, and it is often the easiest problem to identify. It is best to clean your tiles and grout once a week with a pH-neutral cleaner, to prevent mold from invading and developing. You could also seal it with a latex penetrating sealer a couple times a year to prevent cracking issues. The pores in the grout will absorb it, which will provide protection from mold.
Your bathroom is unfortunately home to bacteria and germs that can easily turn into mold and mildew if left untreated. Weekly deep cleanse of your home’s bathroom can help keep germs away, while also preventing mold.
Bleach-based cleaning products
White vinegar for tiles and countertops
Squeegees to remove excess moisture from your shower doors and tile walls
Call the Pros
Know When to Give Best Plumbing a Call
Mold growing in your home is never a good sign. If you start to notice mold growth along your cabinets or walls or near your plumbing, this means you most likely have a leak in your pipes. Mold thrives and grows in wet environments, and if there is excess moisture in the room, you need to find the source as quickly as possible.
Mold is a health and safety hazard that is both difficult and expensive to get rid of. If you find mold in your home, consider it a plumbing emergency and get the source fixed in order to stop its spread while you work out mold removal plans.
If you need help with any other plumbing issue, call Best Plumbing Services at 951-788-1321 for professional drain cleaning methods. Located in Riverside, California we are family owned and operated with over 10 years of experience. We take pride in our service and expect each job to be completed as if it were our own home or business. Our Licensed Plumbers and Technicians will be professional, clean and polite.