Tips for Getting Rid of Bathroom Mildew

One of the most common recurring problems in the bathroom is mildew or mold around tubs and showers. There are a few things you can do to both get rid of mildew and keep it from coming back:

Removing mildew:

  • In most cases, a simple mixture of 1 gallon water and 1 cup liquid chlorine bleach is an effective mildew remover. In other cases, you may want to use detergent, ammonia, white vinegar, washing soda or some combination of these ingredients. An old toothbrush is handy for scrubbing mildewed grouting. CAUTION: Never mix liquid chlorine bleach and ammonia.
  • For caulked areas, it’s best to remove the caulk, using a scrapper or other tool (careful not to scratch ceramic or vinyl surfaces). Thoroughly clean the area using either chlorine or other solution. Then reapply with new caulk.
  • For ceramic tile surfaces, wash with a solution of 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup washing soda and 1 gallon warm water. Rinse thoroughly. For heavy mildew stains, make a paste of baking soda and liquid chlorine bleach, then scrub with a small toothbrush. If the grout is badly stained, apply pure bleach with a cotton-tipped swab. Allow the bleach to remain on the tile for 30 minutes, then rinse and dry.
  • For shower curtains, you may need to soak the entire curtain in a solution of liquid chlorine bleach to remove the stains. If the stains are extensive, it’s time to get a new shower curtain.

Preventing mildew:

  • It’s a good idea to install some type of exhaust fan in your bathroom, if you do not already have one, to ensure the room is adequately ventilated.
  • Leave the bathroom door open, which will also increase ventilation to the room.
  • Wipe down the tub and shower area after every use to eliminate excess moisture and pooling of moisture in corners and along tub rims.
  • Wet shower curtains should be stretched out (hung loosely) after every shower.
  • Rinse rubber mats thoroughly after use to remove any residue and hang over the edge of the tub. Do not leave mat in the tub.
  • And, of course, clean your tub and shower area regularly with a household cleaner. As well, at least four times a year, you should do a “deep” cleaning, using chlorine or other solution (as described above) to get rid of any mildew or other residue.