There is something about the bathroom shower of my current home that makes it particularly susceptible to black mold growth – and rather resistant to any efforts to remove said mold. (I’ve conquered it, though, and I’m going to share the secret with you.) I can’t figure it out. The house is only a few years old, well-ventilated, and regularly and vigorously cleaned by me. Mold should hate my bathroom. And yet, it still tends to accumulate at the bottom of the shower walls.
Black shower mold is gross, and if you’re thinking of selling your home, this is an issue you must address if you have it. Bathrooms in a “for sale” home should be white-glove clean and feel like a spa. Can you imagine the kind of feelings a moldy shower and bath will evoke in potential buyers? Yuck – a moldy shower is not going to inspire them to pay top dollar or even make an offer.
What DIDN’T Remove Mold
When we first moved to our current house, I did a little research and experimented with a number of methods touted to remove mold from shower caulk. I’m sure there are even more (successful) techniques than the ones listed below, but here’s what did not work for me:
- Saturating the affected area with straight ammonia. This may be incredibly effective, but personally, I detest the smell too much to even try. And since I often use bleach when cleaning I figured it was better just to stay away from this one completely since combining bleach and ammonia produces toxic gas.
- Spraying with vinegar. This method proved completely worthless for my situation, although I believe it has some merit as a mold preventative. I do love vinegar for glass cleaning though! Take a look at this DIY cleaner I use.
- Making a baking soda paste with water. I found this only minimally effective on tough mold. Baking soda is a great natural cleaner, though, and the gentle abrasiveness was good for cleaning the tile and some mildewy spots.
- Combining baking soda and vinegar. Let’s talk about this for a minute because I see this combination recommended all the time online. Baking soda and vinegar cancel each other out. This is just basic chemistry, y’all. Combining baking soda and vinegar produces carbon dioxide (which explains the fizzing bubbles–they’re not actually “scrubbing” anything) and salty water (water is a great cleaner, but come on, we need something tougher here).
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What DID Work
I knew bleach would work. The problem, however, was that it seemed to just roll off the walls and down the drain. The bleach needed to seep into place and stay where I put it. I had heard some people soak cotton balls in bleach and leave them on the grout or caulk overnight, and that’s when it hit me: I already had a clinging bleach product in my arsenal.
Toilet bowl cleaner! I squeezed this on the moldy spots and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
After a few minutes the cleaner started to ooze and run a little. I used an old toothbrush to work it into the grooves a bit, especially on the vertical surfaces. I also left the exhaust fan on because the fumes from this stuff are pretty powerful and (despite the claim on the bottle) do not smell like a “cool wave.”
When I came back, the mold was gone! No scrubbing needed! I did scoop up a little of the leftover gel on an old toothbrush to quickly scrub a few spots that looked like they had mold-potential because, hey, I was already in there. After a thorough rinse with plenty of water, BOOM – I was all done!
Check out the before and after:
I have since shared this method with a number of clients over the years. Many actually make a point of calling me back with an “Oh-my-God-I wish-I’d-known-this-years-ago!” kind of reaction (which I love!) I’m guessing any brand of clinging gel toilet bowl cleaner will work, but here’s a link to what I used:
Quick disclaimer: if you decide to try this method, please use common sense. Make sure your space is well-ventilated. Test a spot before pouring bleach everywhere. Never, ever mix bleach and ammonia. Remember that bleach can ruin your clothing so don’t splash this on anything you care about keeping. Maybe also consider wearing some rubber gloves.
Do you have any tips for how to remove mold in the shower? Share them with us! At Three Bears Home Staging we love teaching homeowners how to present their homes in the best possible light for a faster, more profitable sale! If you’re getting your home ready to go on the market, we can help!
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