Nothing ruins the prospect of a nice soothing shower more than unsightly mold or mildew in the bathroom.
Not only are these slimy fungi gross to look at, they also pose health risks. Bathroom mold can cause or aggravate respiratory illnesses or allergies and even cause fatigue or depression.
For many people, though, having a truly clean bathroom has traditionally meant resorting to using equally toxic chemicals such as bleach and chemical cleansers.
If having a home that is as clean of chemicals as it is of dirt is important to you, there’s good news. You can easily scrub mold and mildew from your bathroom, and your life, without resorting to bleach or other harsh cleaning products.
Here’s a look at some natural cleaners that will get rid of these stubborn unwanted guests:
One of the most handy weapons in your arsenal against household dirt, white vinegar is a safe, natural, and also incredibly effective against mold and mildew.
Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and thoroughly soak affected areas, then allow the vinegar to sit and do its work. After a few hours, scrub the treated area with a brush or coarse sponge.
After you’ve gotten rid of the mold or mildew, keep your spray bottle filled and ready to go. Spray down your shower after every use to slow its return.
Hydrogen peroxide is also an effective mold and mildew killer, and it works faster than vinegar. Just spray some 3% peroxide (the kind commonly sold in stores) onto the area and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes before scrubbing.
While more expensive by the ounce than either vinegar or peroxide, vodka is also a great mildew killer in a pinch. Use it the same way as vinegar.
To enhance the mold killing power of you vinegar, you may wish to add a few teaspoons of either grapefruit seed extract or tea tree oil.
Both are powerful antifungal agents and both will leave your bathroom smelling fresh and clean.
If your mold or mildew is particularly stubborn, you may need something more abrasive than vinegar or oils. Baking soda is perfect for muscling away mildew and mold, especially in harder to clean spots, such as in corners or on grout, as well as for clearing away mildew stains after it’s already been killed. For best results, wet the baking soda with water to make a paste and then scrub the areas with a brush or sponge. Rinse with white vinegar to wash away the residue.
Preventing Mold and Mildew
In addition to spraying down your shower with vinegar on a daily basis, keeping your bathroom bright, dry, and filled with fresh air will go a long way toward preventing mold and mildew from forming.
Install a fan or bring in a dehumidifier to reduce condensation, or be sure to wipe down floors and walls when moisture forms.
Regularly toss shower curtains, even plastic ones, into the washing machine to kill mildew or prevent it from forming.
Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including MTV.com. She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.