While black mold sounds scary, it's really isn't much worse than other types of molds. Any mold can cause respiratory issues, and if you have asthma or you're susceptible to pneumonia, it could cause issues for you. However, the Center for Disease Control suggests that you can clean up all types of mold in your home the same way using a bleach solution without having to call out for extra help, as long as you take precautions like wearing gloves and a dust mask. However, if you have mold that has seeped into the wall or other porous areas, you may need help removing the damaged materials and replacing them, as well as finding the source of the water causing the mold.
[Edit]Using a Bleach Solution
- Open the windows and doors in the area for ventilation. When using bleach, it's always a good idea to create good ventilation. Try to open as many nearby windows as you can, particularly if there's one in the bathroom.
- If there's not a window in the bathroom, place a fan blowing air out of the bathroom toward an open window.
- Put on gloves and goggles. Choose gloves that won't let the mold through, such as rubber cleaning gloves or latex gloves. Don't touch the mold with your hands. Similarly, goggles are a good idea, as you don't want to flip mold spores into your eyes accidentally.
- You may also want to wear a dust mask that filters out mold.
- These precautions will also protect you from the bleach.
- Mix of bleach into of water. Measure out the water first, and then pour the bleach into the water. Use a spoon or a paint stick to stir it together so it is is well mixed. Try not to splash it as you're stirring.
- Make sure you never mix bleach with ammonia, as it creates toxic gases.
- If you prefer, you can start out with an antifungal cleaning solution that doesn't contain ammonia, then follow up with bleach after you get most of the mold off.
- Dip a sponge or cloth into the bleach solution and scrub down the mold. Squeeze out the excess and begin scrubbing the moldy areas. Knock off as much mold as you can and dip the cloth or sponge back into the bleach solution as needed.
- You can also rinse out the cloth in running water before dipping it back in the solution so you're not returning as much mold to your cleaning solution.
- Use a scrubbing brush where the mold won't come off. If you have areas where you're having trouble removing the mold, dip a toothbrush or other scrubbing brush into the cleaning solution. Run it over the moldy areas, using a small circular motion to get the mold off.
- Make a new bleach solution to spray and scrub down what's left. Once you've scrubbed away all you can, pour a new mixture of bleach and water into a spray bottle, keeping the same ratio as you did before. Spritz the stains left behind, and let it sit for 15 minutes or so.
- Once you've left it alone, run over it with a clean scrubbing brush. Wash off the bleach solution with clean water and let it dry.
- Spritz plain white vinegar over the area to take care of what's left of the mold. Don't mix the vinegar with water. Just put it in a spray bottle and go over the area to get it damp. Let the vinegar dry on the area, and it will help kill off the mold that's left behind.
[Edit]Preventing Future Growth
- Fix any leaks you can see. If a leak is causing the problem, it's time to take care of that! Replace leaky faucet heads, for instance, or if the leak is more than you can handle, call in a professional to find and fix the leak.
- If you don't fix the leak, the mold will just return.
- Spray the area down with vinegar after every shower. To help prevent the mold from coming back, keep a spray bottle in your bathroom. Then, spray down the walls and tub after you get done with your shower. The vinegar will help kill the mold spores.
- If the smell bothers you, add a few drops of essential oil, such as peppermint, citrus, or tea tree oil, to help cover up the scent.
- Air out the bathroom after you shower. If you have an exhaust fan, use it. If you don't, make sure to keep the door to the bathroom open after you shower so the air can dry out. Too much humidity in a small space can lead to mold.
- If you don't have an exhaust fan, try placing a fan in the door to blow the air into the rest of your home.
- Clean the bathroom once a week. Use a disinfecting cleaner to go over your shower and scrub it down. Pick a day to do it each week to make it easier to remember, and set up a reminder if you forget.
- Make sure to change out your sponge or cleaning brush regularly, as it can grow mold, too.
- Use your air conditioning in the summer to keep the humidity low. Pulling humidity out of the air is one of your AC's main jobs, so you should run it in the summer when it's humid out. If you don't have an AC, try using a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity.
- If possible, keep the humidity in your home under 60%. Today's smart thermostats often have a way to change the humidity, at least in the summer. In the winter, it shouldn't be much of an issue.