Grout surrounding bath or shower tiles and other bathroom fixtures is frequently exposed to moisture. If tile grout is not cleaned on a regular basis, it can be prone to supporting mold growth.
White vinegar is preferable to chlorine bleach when it comes to cleaning shower grout. Acetic acid penetrates into the porous material to kill the root structure of mold.
In this post, you’ll learn why shower grout often develops mold we’ll discuss natural antifungal treatments and mold prevention methods for your shower.
Why Shower Grout Gets Moldy
Most tile grout consists of a mixture of cement, sand and water. These substances are porous, which is why grout tends to accumulate dirt and grime. Grout in a shower area may be exposed to other substances from bath, body and personal care products. The combination of these products, moisture and food sources for fungi may lead to the development of mildew or mold.
Fungus that appears white, gray or yellow in color and has a fluffy or powdery texture is usually mildew. A simple test that can distinguish mildew from grime involves dabbing a paper towel dampened with chlorine bleach on a spot of the growth. If this area turns lighter in color, the contamination is mildew.
Mold may be any color, but the species most likely to grow in warm, moist environments may be dark green, brown or black. Fungus that appears black at a certain stage of the growth cycle may not necessarily be toxic black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum. Mold inspection or testing may be helpful for determining the cause and species of the mold in your shower.
How To Clean Mold in Shower Grout Naturally
Vinegar is the best natural cleaning solution for moldy grout. Here are the steps that you should take to treat mold growing in a shower:
A single treatment should be sufficient to kill most mold, and vinegar is effective against more than 80% of mold species. Consult MoldRemediation.io regarding fungus that does not respond to repeated natural treatments.
Rinse off the affected area any time you switch mold cleaners. Any residual vinegar can pose a serious health risk when you apply chlorine bleach, as these substances combine to form chlorine gas. Vinegar is also an acid that reduces the effectiveness of subsequent treatments with Borax, which is a base. If you plan to apply Mildewcide, thoroughly rinse off any and all natural cleaners first.
Why To Avoid Using Bleach On Grout
Natural anti fungal solutions and dedicated mildewcides are effective because these substances penetrate into grout to kill mold under the surface. Household bleach is considered a surface disinfectant because chlorine does not get absorbed into the cement, sand and water that comprise grout or other porous materials.
Chlorine and oxygen bleach are harsher than the acetic acid in standard household or cleaning vinegar or sodium borate sold as Borax. Bleach and other harsh bathroom cleansers are also more likely to cause grout to crumble away, making re-grouting necessary.
If shower grout wears down, water may be able to work its way behind tiles where the presence of excessive moisture can cause a hidden mold problem. Mold growing behind walls is more likely to require professional residential mold removal services.
Get Rid of Stubborn Shower Mold Infestations
When mold continues to regrow on grout, the treatments in use may be insufficient or conditions may remain conducive to growth. Consider reapplying vinegar or sodium borate solutions and be sure to wait at least 60 minutes for either of these treatments to sink in before scrubbing and wiping off the affected surface.
Some porous materials are impossible to disinfect thoroughly enough to avoid recontamination. Any substance that is completely contaminated with mold may need to be torn out and replaced.
Failure to remove contaminated items may cause the same type of mold to resume growing on affected surfaces and spread. If you are not sure what type of mold is growing in a residence, it may be worthwhile to schedule an inspection, mold test or consultation to get a mold remediation estimate.
How to Prevent Shower Mold
Mold is more likely to start growing the longer water is left standing on bathroom surfaces or stays soaked into porous materials such as bath mats and towels. Proper cleaning, ventilation and drying practices are crucial for keeping mildew or mold from forming in a shower.
Make sure your bathroom has a functional exhaust fan rated for the size of the room. Ventilation fan performance is measured in cubic feet per minute. For home bathrooms, 1 cfm per square foot of floor space is a good rule of thumb for selecting a fan with sufficient power to draw out moist, warm air. In bathrooms larger than 100 square feet, add 50 cfm for each toilet, shower, bath or combination installation.
Always run the fan after bathing or showering to speed up drying. Fungi thrive in environments with consistent sources of moisture and nourishment that are not frequently disturbed. Regularly spraying on a mixture of vinegar diluted in water and lightly scrubbing and wiping bathroom surfaces and grout can keep mildew or mold from gaining a foothold.
If a mold problem keeps returning in spite of DIY cleaning and prevention efforts contact a remediation expert near you. Professionals trained in the latest remediation standards can address the causes of mildew or mold growth and keep an infestation from spreading throughout a home or workplace.
FAQs About Mold in Shower Grout
Put on mold PPE, including a mask or respirator, goggles and gloves. Spray full-strength white vinegar on grout and allow it to sit for at least one hour before scrubbing with a firm-bristled brush or abrasive pad and vacuuming up spores. Be sure to seal and properly dispose of vacuum contents.
White vinegar, Borax and baking soda are more effective than bleach for killing mold. The chlorine in standard household bleach does not penetrate into grout. Mold may be more likely to regrow if the underlying membrane remains intact. Let a natural cleaning solution sink in before scrubbing and wiping grout.
Wearing PPE rated for mold, spray on full-strength white vinegar and wait at least 60 minutes before scrubbing grout with a brush or abrasive pad and wiping off the surface. Allow to dry and repeat if necessary. Dispose of any articles exposed to mold to keep an infestation from spreading.
Vinegar is mildly acidic with a pH level around 2.5. Frequent full-strength applications of distilled white vinegar containing 5% to 6% acetic acid followed by hard scrubbing may cause grout to break down. However, natural cleaning solutions such as vinegar and borax are still much less harsh than chlorine bleach.
Hiring a professional mold inspector will give you peace of mind. Being in a position where you are uncertain as to the toxicity of mold in your residence can be extremely stressful.
At moldremediation.io, we pride ourselves on being quick, thorough and effective in how we communicate the mold remediation tests that we perform for our homeowner clients.