Mold is a everywhere. Like a fine dust it floats around and lands on all surfaces in your home. To grow it needs indirect light and moisture. As one of the wettest areas in your home, the bathroom is where mold is most likely to grow. Even in our dry semi-arid climate here in Colorado a bath that stays humid will start to grow mold. Warmth and moisture provide great conditions for mold to grow and flourish. However, like most home repairs, with some attention and proper maintenance, it is easy to prevent mold from growing and spreading in your bathroom.
What to look for
Preventing bathroom mold is also vital for your health and for the appearance of your bath. In addition, if neglected and no kept in check, bathroom mold is likely to spread internally through walls, ceilings, and floors, leading to more expensive bath remodel. One of the key factors for bathroom mold prevention is regular inspections for water damage that can lead to mold growth. Curling vinyl floors, cracked grout and sealers places for water to seep and cause damage. Be sure tubs and shower pans drain completely. If the sides of tubs and shower pans are holding small amounts of water a good habit would be to wipe these down after use.
The first step in mold prevention is keeping your bathroom dry and airy. If you have access to one, use a humidity meter for a few days to check humidity levels before and after showers. It’s best to keep humidity levels below forty to forty five percent. With adequate air circulation, your bathroom humidity levels should drop below 45 percent within 5-10 minutes after finishing a shower. Sunlight is a leading killer of mold. This is why I always recommend light paint colors in baths to encourage a bright well lit atmosphere.
Shower and Bathtub Maintenance
Keep the bathtub, floors, walls, and ceilings clean and dry at all times. Any standing water and dust will carry mold spores and encourage mold growth. To prevent mold were it is most likely to grow, be sure to open the shower curtain at both ends until dry instead of pushing it all to one side as we all have the habit of doing. The idea is to allow the moisture to leave the room as quickly as possible instead of holding the entire room at a higher level for perhaps many hour or days.
Allowing for good air flow and air circulation are a key step in keeping low humidity levels. The basic technique and the simplest is to open the window and door right after taking a shower to allow air to free flow and remove excess moisture if your bath uses this method. If your bath has an exhaust fan this makes the removal of moisture mush simpler, especially in the winter. Turn on the exhaust fan while taking a bath or shower and leave it working for 5-10 more minutes after finishing to allow the bathroom to dry completely. As a side point be sure that the fan actually exhausts outdoors directly and not into the attic or wall which can cause leaks. This will eventually lead to mold and water damage to the structure of the home.
Day to day maintenance is important to prevent water damage and mold. It will also help detecting problems before they become a large scale disaster. Drains must be kept in good shape. Allow the bathtub to drain completely and by removing all debris and using drain openers from time to time. Create hard surfaces on your bathroom walls using semi-gloss paint, especially on ceilings.
Using these tips you will make your bath much less mold friendly.