How to deal with mould and mildew in the bathroom
Mould and mildew are two types of fungi that thrive in moisture-rich areas like bathrooms. You can find it on ceilings and walls, around window frames and on tile sealant or grout.
As well as being unsightly, mould can also affect our health. As the NHS explains, people who live in homes with damp and mould are more likely to suffer from respiratory infections, allergies or asthma. It can impact our immune systems, too.
Mould and mildew: what's the difference?
Mildew is essentially the precursor to mould, and isn't as dangerous. It will first show itself as a patch of white/yellow spots before quickly turning brown or black. It's a surface mould, so it can easily be removed.
Mould, on the other hand, is black or green and is a sign of a much larger infestation. It can penetrate below the surface of the affected area and cause serious damage if left untreated for a long time.
When removing mould, nasty spores might be released into the air, so it's vital you wear protective goggles, gloves and a face mask. You should also open windows so the spores don't spread to other areas of your house.
Some remedies for mould removal include:
- Borax. Mix one cup of this cheap, natural cleaner with four parts water and brush into the affected area. When finished, wipe away with clean water and allow to dry before spraying the area with white vinegar to stop re-contamination
- Vinegar. Spray mild white vinegar onto the area and leave for around an hour before wiping away with warm water. Dry the surface thoroughly with a towel to prevent regrowth
- Baking soda. Mix one teaspoon of liquid soap to one cup of baking soda and some warm water to make a paste, before applying to the mouldy area. Leave for an hour before clearing away
- Bleach. If the other methods don't cut it, mix one part bleach to two parts water and apply to the area using a spray bottle. Allow to dry, spray for a second time and scrub using a brush – repeat until the mould has gone
- Specialist spray. There are many mould-busting products available on the market, just make sure you research reviews beforehand.
Preventing further growth
Once you've removed the mould, you don't want it to return. Ventilation is important to stop regrowth so your bathroom should be fitted with a quality extractor fan. Switch it on during every shower and leave it on for around ten minutes afterwards.
Cleaning your bathroom regularly using vinegar in a spray bottle will help, too, and don't forget to check for leaks and blockages that could be causing mould infestations.
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