How to avoid mold growth in your bathroom

Why Do I Get Mold In My Bathroom?

shower head spraying waterAuthor and social leader Bryant McGill said, “Balance in life is the key to everything.” He may not be speaking directly of moisture in your bathroom, but the saying also applies. Too much of anything can become a poison. And bathroom moisture causes big problems if imbalanced. In fact, bathrooms are the spaces in a home that are most apt to have a water issue.

Think of all the sources of moisture that are present in a bathroom. Typically, you have several fixtures that produce liquid water: sinks, bathtubs, showers, toilets or bidets. Take into account evaporation and hot steamy showers, and now you have a vapor source of water, as well. There are two common mold issues caused by these water sources in bathrooms. Read on for tips on how to avoid them.

Mold growth in grout and caulking

water droplets on blue tileMost homes that Mold Medics of Pittsburgh asses have issues with mold growth in grout and caulking. Since mold mainly grows in places with an active water issue, it is definitely common to see growth in bathrooms. In fact, there is no better place for mold to vacation than in your shower or bathtub!

After a shower or bath, we rely on airflow to dry out the wet area left behind. However, since mold floats around in our environments at all times, this leaves an opening for opportunistic mold spores to land on the wet area and reproduce. Closing the shower door or curtain only exacerbates this issue. The closing off of the natural air flow prevents evaporation from happening.

Next Steps

The best way to avoid mold growth in your grout and caulking is to properly dry out the space. You can perform this drying process in several ways. First, it is recommended to manually wipe down the area to ensure no extra moisture sits within the space. Next, you’ll want to increase air flow into the space. To accomplish this, keep the bathroom door open, open windows, and utilize the bathroom exhaust fan. You can also run a box or oscillating fan in the bathroom to help dry out the space. Air movement is imperative in keeping your bathroom dry after introducing moisture into the space.

Mold on bathroom ceiling and walls

outdated bathroom with moldThe next place mold is typically found in bathrooms is along the ceilings and walls. Specifically, mold growth occurs high on the walls and in the corners of the ceiling, proving that mold does not need standing water on a surface for issues to arise.

This pattern of growth occurs for two main reasons. Firstly, as discussed in the previous section, water evaporates after it is left to dry in the bathtub, shower, or sink. Additionally, and most commonly unknown, toilet water also evaporates. The evaporation process raises the humidity in the air.

The second reason, and most blame worthy for growth on ceilings and walls, is due to steam. Steam is created any time you use hot water in your bathroom and also raises the humidity in the air. If an area has a relative humidity above 60% for a prolonged period of time, prime conditions are created for mold growth.

Next Steps

There are a few ways to manage this added humidity in your bathroom. First, make sure you have a powerful bathroom exhaust fan installed. Even if you already have an exhaust fan, where it is located and how often it is used determines it’s effectiveness. Many fans are placed too far away from the areas creating steam or lose pulling power over time. If you notice your exhaust fan is not performing well, look into replacing it or have it cleaned

Secondly, you can create ventilation by opening windows and doors. The main objective is to remove the moist air and replace it with dryer air. Unfortunately, older homes in the Pittsburgh area often have windows painted shut or bathrooms installed for multi-unit rentals. This eliminates ventilation options, so purchasing a dehumidifier for your space is a good alternative. Also, beware the “Pittsburgh Potty”, a bathroom installed in an unfinished basement. These areas are very common in Pittsburgh homes and are notorious for having limited ventilation.

Prevent mold growth in bathrooms

Air flow and ventilation are the two most common problems causing mold growth in your bathroom. Dilution is the solution. Always aim to keep humidity low and replace humid air with dry air when possible.  Additionally, make sure that there are no active leaks and all plumbing is functioning properly. A dry space is less ideal for mold growth. If you already have a mold growth issue or are still struggling to keep your bathroom dry after reading these tips, please do not hesitate to call a professional to assess the issue.

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