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How to keep your bathroom free of mildew

Posted Wednesday, November 16th, 2016
heart on a steamed up bathroom mirror

Bathrooms mean moisture and moisture means mildew. But it doesn’t have to.

As the weather in Troy gets colder and the air gets dryer, showers often get hotter. Many of us are not in the habit of turning on our bathroom fans, or else we intentionally leave them off in order to create a steamy sauna. Because of this, bathrooms can be especially susceptible to mildew in the winter.

Mildew is a common household fungus that grows on damp surfaces, often in a bathroom or basement. If you notice gray spots above the shower, it’s probably mildew. Mildew can damage your walls and the structure of your house. It can provoke allergies, and it can make your towels stink. On top of that, it’s gross: who wants fungus in their bathroom?

Fortunately, there are ways to keep your bathroom free of mildew. Here are some tips.

1. Keep your bathroom well ventilated.

The more ventilation you can get in your bathroom, the less susceptible it will be to mildew. So how can you ventilate?

Start by turning on the fan when you shower. When you’re finished, leave the fan on and the door wide open for at least half an hour, or until the room no longer feels damp. You can use the steam on your bathroom mirror to judge how well the moisture has left the room.

If you don’t have a fan, or if your bathroom fan is weak, you may want to crack the bathroom window. Don’t forget to close it later, though, or you’ll run up your heating costs.

2. Squeegee or wipe moisture from the walls.

After a shower, you’ll often see droplets of water visibly lining the walls, including the tile, the drywall, and the mirror. If your walls are wet or damp, wipe or squeegee as much as you can. Why? If the water can go down the drain or be taken away on a towel, it won’t sit in the bathroom, and your walls won’t soak in as much moisture. Less moisture means less risk of mildew.

3. Consider the towels.

Towels are made for drying, so their fibers are designed to soak in as much moisture as possible. For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to your towels if you want to reduce bathroom mildew.

First, hang up your towel when you’re finished with it. Hanging allows for more air circulation, which will help your towel dry before the mildew begins to form.

When it’s time to change your towels, wash them with hot water, and, if possible, use bleach. The hot water and bleach will wipe out any early-stage mildew that’s beginning to form. But be careful with bleach: It can ruin the colors on some types of fabric and dyes, so check the tags on your towel before using it.

When the wash is done, dry the towels promptly, and remember that “mostly dry” is not dry enough. Don’t fold them or put them away until they are completely dry.

Because bathrooms produce moisture and towels soak it up, it’s best to store extra towels in a hallway closet or another room. If your clean towels spend a week folded on the bathroom counter, taking in the dampness from repeated showers, they may start to grow mildew, and you’ll have to wash them again.

4. Decorate with washable rugs, and wash them.

Like towels, bathroom rugs are usually designed to collect the water that drips down when you step out of the tub. Unfortunately, some aren’t designed for a washing machine. You could replace the rugs every time they begin to smell like mildew, but a simpler and cheaper option is to buy washable rugs and run them through the machine every time you wash your towels.

Remember, hot water and bleach – or, at a minimum, hot water – is the best way to nip mildew in the bud. So check the washing instructions before buying a new rug.

5. Use mildew-resistant paint.

Paint comes in all kinds of varieties, and one of the best for a bathroom or any high-moisture area is mildew-resistant. If your bathroom seems especially prone to mildew, consider it an excuse to slap on a fresh new color!

Mildew-resistant paint works in two ways: it covers and kills any existing mildew, and it contains chemicals to prevent new mildew from growing. But if you have a lot of visible mildew on the wall or ceiling, it’s best to clean it off first and run a dehumidifier for a while before painting.

6. Keep it clean.

It’s hard to win the battle against mildew without professional help. Modernistic’s professional grout cleaning services can clear dirt and mildew from the porous area between tiles and seal the area to prevent additional moisture from getting in. Contact us today for a free quote!

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