Mold can be found virtually anywhere – and most of it is harmless. While mold can be an important and also essential part of the world around us, breaking things down and helping to eliminate things from the environment, not all molds are the same – some of them can be toxic and harmful to our health. Black mold can be a real problem in our environment, and can be found almost anywhere, especially places with high moisture content, such as bathrooms. Black mold can have a lot of negative effects on health, making those in the home sick. Since it can be found in places that you might not even think to look, such as under carpeting or even inside ceiling tiles, you might not even know it is there. With this handy guide, we will discuss in depth what black mold is, how it forms, where it is most likely to be found, and how to get rid of Black Mold from your home.
What is black mold?
Whether you own a house or an apartment, there are chances that you could have had a run-in with black mold at some point. Black Mold can show up in a lot of places in your home – mostly places that accumulate a lot of moisture, or has little ventilation – such as in a bathroom. Some black mold can end up making you and your family sick, which is a major cause for concern. So what exactly is black mold?
There are thousands of different kinds of molds in the world, and not all of them are toxic. Molds are made up of small, microscopic organisms that are present in our environment much of the time, whether we are talking about being indoors or outdoors. These molds can be easily transported through open doors, windows, or a breeze blowing through an area that has even a small amount of mold present. Most of these molds are not harmful to the human body, and do not pose much of a health concern at all. However, some molds, such as black Mold, can be toxic, causing a range of symptoms that can make you sick.
Black Mold is the most popular mold in the media, and with good reason. Many strands of black Mold, which is also called by its technical name Stachybotrys Atra, can be toxic and hazardous to your health, as well as the health of any pets that you might have in the area that is affected by mold. Black mold forms primarily in places with high moisture content, such as bathrooms, and can often be found in drop ceiling tiles, under flooring, and even in the shower or the cracks in the walls.
Black mold has a slimy appearance, and can often be described in color as black or grey, depending on the strain of mold that is present. Often, the mold can even appear to be a deep, dark green color. It can appear as a streak-like texture in the affected area, or it can appear as spots. The color and texture of black mold often differs from the colors and textures of other mold species, thus making it pretty easy to identify when it shows up. Black mold also has a distinctive smell that allows it to be identified, and you can often smell the mold before you even know there is a problem. It tends to smell of mildew with a bit of a musty odor. This odor helps many people discover that they have a black mold problem long before they see other evidence of having any issues.
The bottom line with black mold is – if there is an area that is open to moisture on a regular basis, there is a chance of developing a black mold problem!
Which molds are toxic?
While not all molds are toxic to our health, some of them can be. If you discover mold in your home and you are not sure whether it falls into the toxic category or not, it is always best to err on the side of caution and treat the mold as though it is toxic. It is always important to keep in mind that even if it does not seem like mold can grow in an area (such as growing in an area that may or may not have excess moisture), there are some strains of mold, such as Aspergillus niger, which tends to grow on walls and can have horrible affects on human physiology – the mold spores can settle into your lungs and affect other areas of the body too. For example, the Aspergillus niger strain of mold has been known to cause hearing loss.
Black Mold and Our Health
Black mold can have serious consequences on the health of our loved ones, and even our pets, especially if the problem is ignored for too long, allowing the black mold to grow. Black mold releases toxins that are called mycotoxins, which can cause harmful, negative effects on the health of those who are in the area of the black mold. So what exactly are these symptoms? They can be simple, such as a stuffy nose, or they can be more life threatening, such as an individual having a difficult time breathing. Those with weakened immune systems, the elderly, infants, and small children are often the one who suffer from black mold exposure the most. Often noticing these symptoms, especially if they are not accompanied by an illness, can help you discover black mold in your home.
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Coughing (depending on amount or length of exposure, coughing up blood can often be an issue)
- Kidney problems
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Increased illness due to weakening of immune system
- Memory loss and difficulty concentrating
- Respiratory problems or breathing difficulties
If you notice you or anyone in your family suffering from these symptoms without any exposure to known illness, it might be time to consider checking your home over for black mold. While some people may go years with black mold in their home and not suffer any adverse affects of it, other people are more sensitive to the toxins in the mold and develop symptoms such as those listed above. In either case, if black mold is discovered in the home, it is essential that you follow tips to help remove the black mold from the home. Whether it be in the bathroom (such as in the bathtub or shower), or in an area of your home such as inside a ceiling if you have had a leaky roof, the black mold problem must be taken care of so that the health of those in the home is no longer compromised, or so that it does not become an issue in the future.
How to Get Rid of Black Mold
If you discover black mold in your home, it might seem like a major challenge to remove it – and in some cases, especially cases where the mold is widespread, it might truly be difficult to ensure that you have gotten all of the mold, so that it does not start to grow again. However, the first thing you need to do if you discover black mold in your home is to figure out why it is there in the first place!
Molds are also fast growing, so a small mold problem can become a large mold problem in only a matter of weeks. It is vital to acknowledge that there is a mold problem in your home as soon as you can, because it can spread to other areas of the home, or even compromise areas of your home that might not be as easy to clean, such as ceilings or inside the walls.
Locate the Source of The Black Mold
Locating the source of the black mold might prove to be more difficult than you might think, as it can come from a variety of locations. Of course, the first places you should check should be anywhere there is moisture – such as the bathroom, kitchen, or other places that might have been exposed to moisture for an extended period of time. Other places where black mold tends to run rampant are basements, especially older basements that could easily be exposed to water or wetness, and ceiling tiles – very true for those areas that might have been exposed to a leaking roof, such as attics or bedrooms. Often black mold can be detected by its strong mildew like smell, often allowing you to smell the black mold problem long before you might even see it.
What to Do if You Discover Black Mold
Whether you have followed your nose and discovered that you do, indeed, have a black mold problem, or if you have already spotted the black mold and need to get rid of it, it is important to take precautions before jumping right in and trying to remove it from your home. Scrubbing the black mold off of the surface or tearing down wallpapering or ceiling tiles can cause the spores of the black mold to spread, thus creating even more of a problem in the future as it latches on to another surface and continues to grow. So it is important to follow instructions when looking for the best way to get rid of mold!
Another important factor to acknowledge about black mold is that unless the circumstances surrounding the growth of the black mold change, the mold will keep growing or return rather quickly. For example, if you have moisture in your bathroom, such as in your shower or under your sink, and you do nothing to correct the problem, you are leaving the area wide open to more mold growth in the future. It will not go away completely unless you take the necessary steps to correct the issue at hand once you get the black mold situation under control and removed from your home.
Black Mold in the Bathroom
Most of the black mold problems occur in the bathroom, since it is the area that is often exposed to the most moisture and has a lower ventilation access than other rooms in the home. The first thing that you should do if you discover there is black mold present is to ensure you take proper precautions before you begin removal. Gather up a few items that will help protect you:
- Special masks to prevent you from breathing in the black mold spores
- Clothing protectors or old clothing you can discard
- Good rubber gloves
- Tarps to place on the floor
- Cleaning supplies
- Trash bags
Once you have these items on hand, it’s time to tackle the Black Mold and get rid of the mold in the bathroom once and for all. First, take notice of the area in which the black mold is growing. Is it growing in the shower? In the sink? Around the bathtub, or on the walls? Let’s start with the shower and bathtub, and talk about the best ways to get rid of black mold in the shower.
While of course it is impossible to remove every ounce of moisture within the bathroom area, you can clean your bathroom on a regular basis and try to keep the humidity at bay as often as you can. Crack open that window and turn on the fans after your shower or bath, and try to keep areas of the bathroom that typically get wet a little bit dryer than usual.
Black Mold in the Shower
The shower is one of the most common places for black mold to grow. The area is constantly getting wet, and there isn’t always proper ventilation in the bathroom that has the shower – often only small windows or fans work to combat the moisture, giving mold the perfect environment in which to thrive. The shower walls, cracks in the ceiling tiles, the bathtub itself, and of course, corners where the ceiling meet the walls are often the most common places to find black mold. If your bathtub and shower walls have any caulking around the edges, this is another common place to find black mold – and you would be surprised at the amount that can start growing there, slowly working its way up the walls to the rest of the shower. There are plenty of natural ways to remove black mold from your bathroom, as well as ways that involve using chemical solutions that will kill the black mold in the bathroom and help remove it.
Before you start with removing any black mold from your shower, remember that it is essential to fix any leaks or issues with moisture before hand! If you have a leaking faucet or shower head, for instance, not fixing this leak will just cause the black mold to start to grow again. In order to properly get rid of black mold in the shower, be sure to take care of any problem areas before you start, otherwise you’ll just have to remove it all over again in a few more weeks when it begins to grow. Another tip is to get a fan installed within the ceiling – it can help reduce the moisture in the bathroom by sucking it out of the room. This is especially handy for shower steam, so that it does not settle on the walls several times a day (or whenever your family takes their showers and baths), causing moisture build up and giving the black mold the ability to run rampant.
How to Get Rid of Black Mold in the Shower
You’re probably wondering what the best ways to get rid of black mold in the shower can be – for example, should you use chemicals, or should you try and use soap and water to remove the mold? There are plenty of natural alternatives to removing black mold from the shower and removing black mold from the bathroom, so we’re going to be talking about several different ways to remove it.
Once you have the moisture issues taken care of, it’s time to look at removing the existing mold from the shower, once and for all! There are several methods to this, and all of them do require some scrubbing. After you suit up in a face mask and some protective rubber gloves, open a window (as properly ventilating your bathroom will allow you to get fresh air while working), and start getting rid of that bathroom mold.
The first thing you want to do to remove all of the black mold from your shower is to strip all of the caulking off of the walls. It is important to be careful when doing this, as it can cause the black mold behind the caulking to spread spores to other areas of your bathroom.
After you have the caulking stripped off the walls (generally in the area where the bathtub meets the shower walls), then you can begin cleaning the mold from the shower. Choose a solution to clean with – you can use a natural solution, such as vinegar, or you can use a chemical solution, such as hydrogen peroxide, or bleach and baking soda. Here are some ideas:
Prepare the Area with a Baking Soda Solution
Baking soda is an effective and gentle way to start off cleaning the black mold out of your shower. There are no harmful fumes or chemicals, yet it is strong against mold and is ideal to clean a good portion of it from your walls before you start with bleach. If you decide to use the baking soda and bleach method of removing shower mold, the best way to start is to create a gentle, yet effective solution with baking soda to remove the majority of the mold already on the walls. The first step is to create a solution, which ends up being paste-like in texture. To create the solution, use a teaspoon of liquid soap, a cup of baking soda, and enough hot water to form a decent paste. Then use it on the walls to create a gentle cleanser. You can even add a few drops of your choice of essential oils to make the solution have a pleasant scent.
Getting Rid of Shower Mold with Bleach
If you plan on using bleach to kill bathroom mold, it can really get the bathroom walls and shower walls clear and free of Black Mold, as well as other common bathroom messes. Once you have the bleach, mix one part bleach and two parts water to create a solution. Once you have your bleach solution, then you can add it to a spray bottle, and spray it on the areas that have mold on them. Allow the solution to dry all the way before applying the second coat. Once it is dry, spray another coating of the bleach solution onto the shower walls, and then use a brush (such as a bathroom scrub brush), and wipe the solution away. Then rinse the walls and repeat if needed until all of the black mold in the shower is completely gone.
Baking Soda is a great way to get rid of mold and clean your shower without being overwhelmed with harmful chemicals or fumes while cleaning. It is a quick and gentle way to remove mold, and while it might not seem as efficient as bleach and other methods to some, it does work, especially if the black mold in the shower isn’t too bad – such as if you have just noticed the problem starting up. It is also a great way to clean your shower on a regular basis to prevent any black mold from starting to grow again.
Getting Rid of Black Mold with Ammonia
Ammonia is probably one of the best-known chemicals for removing black mold, as it is strong and will kill bacteria quickly and efficiently. While Ammonia can definitely be a useful tool when it comes to getting rid of black mold in the shower, it can also be a dangerous item if you combine it with bleach. It is important to remember to never combine both bleach and Ammonia when you are trying to get rid of mold in the shower, because it can create powerful fumes that are very hazardous to your health. When in doubt, just remember to use either ammonia or bleach, but never both.
When choosing ammonia for the job, be sure to choose the right type – the clear ammonia, and not the cloudy and sudsy variety. The clear ammonia is what you should transfer into a spray bottle, and then spray it onto the moldy shower walls in your bathroom. Once you have sprayed the walls with the ammonia, scrub the area thoroughly using a scrub brush. Make sure to get into all of the crevices, especially the areas that previously had caulking in them, such as between tiles on the bathroom wall. Get the cracks where the walls meet the ceiling, as well. Leave the ammonia set on the walls and bathtub area for an hour or two to allow it to do its work and really set in, and then wipe it off the sprayed area.
Please note that while using ammonia to clean away the black mold from the shower and bathroom, you should either ventilate the area using a window and fans, or just avoid the area completely for a few hours while it is sitting. The fumes from the ammonia can be incredibly harmful, causing respiratory distress and breathing issues to some. It is also important to note that being around these chemicals and black mold while pregnant is never a good idea – either have someone else clean the area instead, or try a more natural approach.
Cleaning Black Mold From the Shower with Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective cleaner for getting rid of black mold in the shower. Choose a solution that is three percent hydrogen peroxide, and transfer it from its container into a dark spray bottle. Choose a dark spray bottle, because if you expose hydrogen peroxide to light, it can decrease its effectiveness over time. If you want an added boost, add some vinegar to the bottle, too.
Once you have your hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle, spray the area that you need to clean the mold from. Once sprayed completely, allow the hydrogen peroxide to remain on the surface for up to an hour, and then wipe clean. The peroxide should do the job and attack the mold spores, effectively killing the bathroom mold.
It is worth noting that before you begin using the hydrogen peroxide to kill the black mold in your bathroom, that you do a spot test on the wall or other area. Perform this test in a hard to notice spot on the bathroom wall, floor, or ceiling first – that way if the hydrogen peroxide causes the area to fade, it will be less noticeable, allowing you to choose another method of removal for the bathroom mold.
Natural Cleaners for Removing Mold from the Bathroom
There are a lot of natural cleaners that can be found in supermarkets and grocery stores that promise to clean your bathroom effectively with very little, if any, chemicals in the solution. These can be a nice way to clean your bathroom, but they can get a little costly, especially if you purchase a lot of them over time. While many of these can work to remove mold from the bathroom and remove mold from the shower, some of them are not quite as effective and cannot kill mold spores, causing the mold to begin growing again or spread through the air into other areas in the environment. The good news? There are several more natural ways to get rid of black mold in the shower that you can try!
Getting Rid of Black Mold with Vinegar
Vinegar is one of the most well known natural ways to get rid of black mold in the shower and in the bathroom. Vinegar is cheap, and can be found in any grocery store. When selecting a type of vinegar to use to get rid of mold in the shower and get rid of mold in the bathroom, be sure to select a mild white vinegar, as this works best to kill mold spores and remove it from surfaces. Because of the mild acidity of the vinegar, anywhere you choose to spray the vinegar will make it a difficult place for mold to grow in. This makes vinegar ideal for use as a cleaner on a regular basis – it will essentially make mold not want to grow anywhere there that is treated with vinegar.
Add some vinegar to a spray bottle (but do not dilute the vinegar with water). Then take the spray bottle and spray the entire surface that you wish to remove the mold from. Once the mold has been sprayed, allow the area to sit, untouched, for at least an hour. After an hour, wipe down the area that you have sprayed with hot water, and then dry the area with a towel. Make sure to dry the area, since a moist environment is mold’s favorite place to grow.
Adding vinegar to your weekly cleaning routine can prevent outbreaks of mold and allow you to continue to have a clean bathroom!
Using Borax to Rid your Bathroom of Mold
Borax is a cleaning agent that is a lot more natural than any of the chemicals listed above (with the exception of vinegar, of course). It has been used for laundry and cleaning for many years, and it has properties that make it a natural insecticide, as well, allowing you to clean black mold from your shower or other surfaces with ease, even preventing the mold from growing again if the bathroom is properly cared for.
Before you begin using borax to clean the mold, be sure to use a strong vacuum to suck up the mold and spores from the walls, ceiling, and floors before you begin cleaning. This will allow you to completely remove the mold spores without worrying about displacing them or just moving them around the room.
Once you have done this, mix one cup of borax with a full gallon of water, and then use a brush to clean the mold from the walls with the borax solution. After you believe you have done a good job with scrubbing, wipe the borax solution from the walls or floors and then dry the surface off.
You can follow this technique up with a vinegar spray so that you do not have to worry about the mold forming again.
How to Clean Mold off of the Bathroom Ceiling
Now that we’ve talked about removing mold from the shower, we should also touch base on how to clean mold off of the bathroom ceiling. Bathroom ceilings are an ideal place for black mold to grow, since it is up high, and the steam from the shower or bath tend to rise up, causing dampness. This is especially true in the hard to reach corners of the bathroom ceiling, where you might not get it cleaned all that well during your normal cleaning routine.
Cleaning your bathroom ceiling is easier if you have tile, or the same type of material that makes up your bathtub and shower walls. If this is the case, you can use any of the above mentioned methods to clean the black mold off of your ceiling with ease. You may need something to stand on, such as a step ladder, so take great care when cleaning the ceiling so that you do not slip and fall.
If your ceiling is a drop ceiling or another type of material, such as paint, it might be a bit more difficult to clean it. You will want to use a solution that will not strip the paint off of your ceiling, too. Your best bet could be bleach or a natural cleanser, such as vinegar.
If you have a drop ceiling, you may want to remove one or more of the ceiling panels and look inside the ceiling to be sure that the mold did not spread up above the ceiling, as well. In rare cases this can happen, and unless you remove all of the mold from your home, you will find yourself dealing with this problem again in the near future. If you find that the mold on the drop ceiling is too difficult to remove or if you cannot remove it all, it might be a good investment to choose new drop ceiling tiles to put up in place of the ones that are moldy.
Removing Black Mold from Wallpaper
If you have wallpaper in your bathroom or other areas of your home, then you might need to remove the wallpaper completely from the bathroom if too much black mold can be found on it, or if it is making its way behind the wallpaper. While this might seem daunting, it is an easy fix to get rid of the black mold. After carefully removing the wallpaper, you can wash the wall area down with one of the solutions that are mentioned in this article, and then you will be free to put up new wallpaper if desired, after the room has completely aired out and the walls are dry. Be careful about how you dispose of the wallpaper that you strip from the walls, however – if not properly disposed of, more mold spores can transfer to other areas of the room and cause mold to continue to grow.
When you find yourself faced with a bathroom mold problem, especially if it is the toxic black mold, it is important that you take care of the situation right away to prevent the mold from spreading. Toxic Black Mold can cause plenty of major health concerns, such as difficulty breathing, sneezing, and even kidney problems, particularly in pregnant women, the elderly, and small children, so be sure to have the mold removed.
If the mold is in your bathroom, and you find yourself wondering how to get rid of black mold, how to get rid of mold in the shower, and wondering how on earth you can remove mold in the bathroom, keep in mind that it can be done! Arm yourself with proper knowledge about Black Mold, as well as some tools that might be useful when removing it from your bathroom.
Using either natural cleaners or chemical cleaning solutions that can kill black mold, you can scrub it from the walls and stop it before it becomes even more of a problem later on. Hydrogen peroxide, bleach, baking soda, and ammonia are all great chemical cleaners that can help remove the mold from the bathroom. If you want a more natural cleaner, try using vinegar or borax with water, as they lack harmful fumes that can cause you to feel ill.
After you have finished cleaning your bathroom of black mold, be sure to find ways to make sure that the area stays dry – install a fan or other ventilation system, open the window after a shower to allow the excess moisture to escape, and fix any leaks that are going on in your shower, under your sink, or in the roof, if you find you have a leak there. Fixing the problem is what you need to do if you plan on keeping your bathroom mold free. After you have finished cleaning, be sure to dry all of the surfaces and then use a caulking or silicone sealant around any area that still has water buildup, such as cracks or areas in the tub or on the ceiling that do not quite fit flush against the wall.