Q: Uh! I recently discovered ugly patches of mold on the walls in my bathroom. Is it dangerous? How can I get rid of it?
A: It’s an all-too-common problem in any room of the house where humidity levels tend to be high: mold stains grow on the walls or ceiling. Although mold can sprout anywhere along a wall, it is most often found either high up near the ceiling, down near the floor, or crawling along the edges of woodwork or baseboards. This frustrating and potentially dangerous problem is more common in bathrooms with frequently used showers or tubs, but can also affect damp basements, kitchens or laundry rooms. If conditions are humid, ventilation is poor, and temperatures are high, invisible airborne mold spores – which can be found almost anywhere – will happily settle and grow.
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The most feared type of mold is Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly referred to as black mold, which can cause chronic respiratory irritation, headaches, and persistent fatigue. According to Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention, black mold requires constant moisture for its growth, not just intermittent moisture from showering, so your problem is more likely to be caused by another, less toxic mold variety. That said, a serious mold situation can lead to or worsen respiratory or immune system problems.
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If mold grows in an area that remains damp, it is best to consult a mold removal expert for professional cleaning services. The good news is that you should be able to fix most mold problems on your own on a daily basis. Keep reading to learn techniques for curing common mold.
Remove mildew stains from the walls.
Mix a solution of one part bleach to three parts water in a spray bottle and thoroughly saturate the moldy areas of the wall. Open a window and / or let a fan run while you work; bleach fumes are unpleasant and can irritate the lungs. Let the bleach soak in the mold on the walls for several minutes, then use a scrub brush to remove the stains. If the stains are extensive or deep, you may need to repeat the process to remove any discoloration.
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Kill mold on the walls.
While bleach works well in killing surface fungi and removing ugly marks on walls caused by mold, it does not penetrate deep into drywall and therefore leaves the “roots” of mold intact. This means that the problem is likely to reoccur, sometimes within a few days. To kill mold under surface, simply spray undiluted white vinegar on the affected area and allow it to dry. Don’t worry about the smell; the smell will dissipate once the vinegar is completely dry.
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Prevent future mold growth.
Once you’ve got rid of any mold on the walls, keep those surfaces in good condition with a few preventative measures:
- Wipe up spills or spills immediately.
- After a shower or bath, leave the bathroom door open with the fan on or the bathroom window open for at least 20 minutes to allow the humidity to decrease.
- Keep an eye out for plumbing leaks. Fix them immediately: Most types of mold only need about 24 to 48 hours of moisture before the spores start to multiply, and black mold becomes more likely as the spores leak. longer water are left unattended.
- Lay out damp towels so they dry quickly.
- If possible, shower with the bathroom door open so that condensation does not collect in the enclosed space.
- Place a moisture-absorbent desiccator cartridge (these usually contain silica gel or salt) in a corner of your bathroom, or use a dehumidifier if you live in a particularly humid climate.
- Scrape down shower walls and glass doors after each use to help remove moisture that promotes mold growth on your walls and also prevent unsightly build-up of hard water and soap scum.
- Use mildew-resistant paint in the bathroom or in areas prone to mold when it’s time to repaint or renovate.
- Clean the bathroom weekly with your favorite disinfectant, whether it’s bleach, vinegar, or a commercial cleaner, and don’t forget to scrub under bottles of shampoo and other cleaning products. shower where mold spores tend to linger.