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How to Spot and Remove Bathroom Mold

By: Susan Finch
March 9, 2020

We've all seen it. That telltale black mold in the bathroom inevitably greets us all. It's tempting to ignore it and hope it goes away. However, the best line of defense with black mold in the bathroom is cleaning it and trying to prevent it.

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get rid of mold in the bathroom? Here's what to know.

How Does Bathroom Mold Grow?

Bathrooms are a prime breeding ground for mold to grow and thrive. It's easy for moisture to get trapped in your bathroom and hang around after a hot shower. The small space and lack of ventilation in a bathroom can also cause bathroom mold to show up and linger. 

Leaky toilets, sinks, and cellulose materials like wallpaper can also encourage mold in bathrooms to grow. Sometimes you can do everything possible and still find black mold in the bathroom that won't go away. 

How to Spot Mold in Bathrooms

Black mold in a bathroom isn't always easy to see. Check under: 

  • Your sink vanity
  • Around the toilet 
  • The shower doors 
  • The ventilation fan

Mold on the bathroom ceiling is also easy to miss. Get on a ladder and look behind the tops of your blinds and curtains. Also, check your light fixtures.

It can be tempting to just paint over mold on the bathroom ceiling. However, black mold is stubborn. It’s likely to grow back or grow through your paint.

How to Tell if it's Black Mold or Mildew

People often confuse mildew for black mold in the bathroom. However, there are some key differences. 

Mildew is usually white, gray, or yellow. It’s soft and powdery to the touch. 

Meanwhile, black mold in the bathroom is often green or black. It starts growing beneath moist surfaces and can look fuzzy. 

You might also find bathroom mold is slimy to the touch. That’ll promptly gross you out.

Black mold and mildew are both unsightly. You can clean either one the same way. However, the mold in the bathroom is often more problematic. It can cause health issues.

How to Clean Bathroom Mold

There are a few different ways to clean bathroom mold. The important thing is to remove the black mold and clean your bathroom. However, you need to approach it correctly. Otherwise, you could end up ruining your walls. 

Before you get started, take a few photos of the issue. Remember to snap a few photos of the mold on the ceiling. This way, you can easily monitor the black mold and have documentation for your landlord. 

Cleaning Mold Off of Tiled Walls

Throw open the windows, turn on the ventilation fan, and wear a face mask. It's time to break out the bleach. 

Add one part bleach and two parts water. Next, scrub down any tiled walls that do not have colored grout. You could cause the grout pigment to fade. 

Use a hard brush to work your bleach solution into the tile. Then, rinse it thoroughly after 30 minutes. 

You can skip the bleach solution and opt for a bathroom cleaner with mold and mildew remover. Just don't flush bleach down the toilet. That could cause a dangerous chemical reaction.

Bleach can produce an overwhelming odor and be challenging to manage. Instead, you can also use a one-part vinegar, two-part water solution. 

Spray that directly onto the mold. Then, let it sit for 30 minutes before scrubbing with a hard brush. 

Cleaning Mold Off of Wallpaper or Painted Walls

Attacking wallpaper and painted walls or ceilings with bleach could ruin your surfaces. Instead, mix up a solution that includes: 

  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar 
  • two cups of hot water
  • two or three tablespoons of borax

Spray onto the black mold. Then, let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes before scrubbing and wiping dry. 

If you're nervous that your wallpaper is too damp, you should continue patting it dry every 10 minutes or so.

Dangers of Black Mold

So what's the big deal with black mold? Black mold is more than just an eyesore that looks harmless. 

It can actually impair your health and well-being. Inhaling or touching black mold could:

  • Create an allergic reaction
  • Trigger an asthma attack in some people
  • Cause shortness of breath
  • Put infants, children, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems and lung disease at higher risk
  • Some black mold in the bathroom turns into Stachybotrys Chartarum, which is highly toxic and requires removal from a professional

Some people may not suffer a reaction from black mold. However, it can put everyone who enters your apartment at a health risk. 

Removing and adequately cleaning for black mold can help reduce complications. It can also make your bathroom look cleaner. 

Mold in Bathrooms: Is it the Landlord's Responsibility?

Many renters feel their landlords should deal with black mold, or are legally required to do so. There are currently no federal laws that specify a landlord must deal with black mold.

Some states and cities have mold regulations. Check with your state department of environmental protection and the state department of public health to find out more. 

There is also some grey area about the landlord's responsibility with mold. The landlord is required to provide safe and livable housing. As a result, you might be able to persuade them to deal with the issue. 

Check your lease terms to see if it specifically references mold or mildew. It's also just good practice to loop your landlord into the black mold issue. 

Your landlord may surprise you and volunteer to remove it promptly. It's also essential to document the frequency of mold. That way, your landlord can monitor the situation.

With a proactive approach, you can eliminate bathroom mold before it gets out of control. Clean, monitor, communicate with your landlord, and repeat!

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Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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