Learn how to make an effective homemade mold prevention spray and get DIY tips for cleaning mold and mildew in the shower, using natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and essential oils.
The gleaming tile. The shiny new fixtures. The spotless shower. When you spend good money redecorating a bathroom, you can get a little obsessive about keeping it clean.
I know because I’ve been there.
We did a partial remodel in our bathroom by putting in new tile in the shower and new porcelain over the old bathtub. I’m bound and determined to make sure that mold and mildew don’t take residence in there!
The Problem with Mold in the Shower
Not only is mold ugly and embarrassing, it can be a health hazard, causing asthma attacks, nasal congestion and headaches. Mold exposure can lead to long-term health issues too.
Black mold is especially common in showers because it grows in damp, warm places. Black mold is a type of fungus and it produces mold spores that are released into the air. Molds can also produce microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs), which create that musty smell that we’ve all experienced – ewwww!
If you are allergic to black mold, you may experience immediate symptoms after exposure including sneezing, coughing, respiratory problems or worsening asthma symptoms. Even if you are not allergic to mold, you may experience some irritation from it. Bottom line, it’s best to deal with mold right away to prevent any health risk.
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How to Prevent Mold in the Shower
So how do you keep mold and mildew from growing in your shower?
The best way to start is prevention. Mold prevention in the bathroom can be tricky, but use the tips below to try to keep your shower from becoming a breeding ground for mold in the first place.
Here are a few of my favorite natural mold prevention tips:
- Make sure the shower area is well-ventilated – turn on the exhaust fan and open the windows and doors.
- After each shower, use a squeegee to take excess water off of the shower tiles, shower door and walls.
- Wipe down problem areas like corners and ledges with a microfiber cloth. Mold needs a wet environment to grow so keep things as dry as possible.
- Shake out your shower curtain after each shower. Wash or replace shower curtain liner frequently (make sure it’s PVC free).
- Use a dehumidifier if the bathroom has high humidity levels.
- Make your own homemade shower cleaner spray using vinegar, castile soap and essential oils to prevent mold (see DIY shower mold prevention spray recipe below)
How to Clean Mold in the Shower
If mold does show up in the shower, attack it immediately using the natural mold cleaning tips I outline below, in order to prevent mold growth.
- Spray the affected area with straight white vinegar to kill mold spores.
- Make this DIY mold cleaner: Mix up a paste of baking soda or borax (a naturally occurring mineral) with warm water and a few drops of antibacterial essential oils. Scrub the affected areas with an old toothbrush or scrub brush. (Use caution if you use borax – it can be harmful if ingested.)
- To bleach mildew and mold stains, mix 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide with 1/2 cup water in a spray bottle. For best results, spray the stains with solution, scrub it in a bit and then leave to dry.
- Dispose of any sponges or brushes used to clean mold, to avoid contaminating other parts of the house.
Note: Once mold has taken hold in your shower, it may not be possible to scrub it away. Replacing mold stained caulk or tile grout may be your only option in some cases.
If you think you have a serious mold problem, I highly recommend this website: Mold Help For You. Natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and essential oils may not work when you have large areas of mold, or for someone who has a mold allergy in the home. The EPA recommends getting professional mold removal if the effected area is larger than 10 square feet or roughly a 3-foot by 3-foot square.
If you are not interested in the DIY mold cleaning solutions, these mold and mildew removers come highly recommended (and are a lot less toxic than using chlorine bleach): Remedy by CitriSafe Mold Treatment Concentrate, Mold Solution Spray and Mold Solution Concentrate.
RELATED: The Best Eco-Friendly Household Cleaners for All Types of Surfaces
How does vinegar help with mold?
Undiluted white vinegar (the kind you probably already have in your home for both cooking and cleaning), has antifungal and antibacterial properties and is known to kill 82 percent of mold species.
What essential oils are helpful to prevent and clean mold?
Many essential oils have antifungal properties, which can help to kill off mold fungus spores. According to studies, the most effective essential oil against toxic mold is clove oil. Others include cinnamon oil, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil and thyme oil.
Homemade Mold Prevention Spray
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 big squirt approx 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) or eco-friendly dish soap
- 20 drops of antifungal essential oil like tea tree oil cinnamon, clove or eucalyptus.
- Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle.
- Spray liberally over entire shower area.
- Leave for 3 to 5 minutes, then wipe area dry.
Do you have any tips for dealing with mold and mildew in the shower?