Showers can be the perfect breeding ground for icky mold.
While mold can pop up anywhere in your home, it's a safe bet that you're most likely to find mold in your shower. After all, it's a place that's regularly wet, in a room that tends to have few windows to help the moisture and steam to escape. And perhaps some of the people in your house may not be as conscientious about wiping down the shower (or running the exhaust fan) to help keep moisture at bay.
But mold in your shower isn't an inevitability. With an ounce of prevention you can help keep it from forming in the first place—or learn the right steps and tools you need to get rid of shower mold if it darkens your tub corners. Try these tips from Michael Rubino, mold expert and HomeCleanse founder Michael Rubino.
How to Prevent Mold in the Shower
Moisture is the fuel that can help mold thrive, so anything you can do to keep your shower dry will help reduce your mold risk. Rubino recommends clearing out humidity quickly by opening windows or running the exhaust fan while you shower and for at least a half hour afterward to remove moisture from the air. When your shower's over, squeegee the shower walls or wipe them dry with your towel, and hang up towels and bath mats so they can air out and dry.
Getting on a regular cleaning schedule—a weekly clean of the shower, and a monthly scrub of the shower curtain and liner, rod and rings—will help minimize the chances of mold growing.
"Preventing mold involves eliminating the components needed for growth," Rubino says. "This includes reducing moisture and physically wiping away organic matter. The spores also need to be wiped away so they’re no longer present on the surface."
You'll also want to keep an eye on your shower for any signs of structural issues like aging grout or cracked tiles, which can leave room for water to penetrate and mold to form.
How to Get Mold Off of Shower Curtains and Liners
It's best to prevent your shower curtain or liner from becoming moldy in the first place. Clean them monthly cleanings in the washing machine, using a botanical laundry additive like EC3, Rubino says.
If you're facing a really moldy shower curtain, it's probably time to trash it. "Removing and replacing the item for porous surfaces, like the shower curtain, is best," Rubino says. "The contamination can exist deep within the fibers and be nearly impossible to remove completely."
Related: The 9 Best Mold Removers of 2024
How to Get Rid of Mold in the Shower
To deal with mold in your actual shower, it's best to suit up with gloves and an N-95 mask, Rubino says, to help protect you from exposure to the spores. And get ready to do a really thorough clean. "To remediate properly, fix the source that led to the growth and eliminate all the contamination present, including the colony, roots, dead mold particles, mycotoxins, and any bacteria present."
He recommends using a botanical cleaning product with surfactants (such as Benefact Decon 30) for tile and other nonporous surfaces. Give the shower a good scrub at least once a week.
Let the cleaning product set in for at least 30 seconds, then use a microfiber cloth to wipe the product away. "These are 100 times better than regular rags at removing small particles," Rubino says.
You'll have to be even more careful when trying to clean mold off of semi-porous materials in your shower, as the mold can take root there and be difficult to remove. Apply hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for 10 minutes, wipe away with a microfiber cloth, and then repeat the whole thing at least three times. Then apply a sealant to help keep new mold colonies from forming.
You'll want to repeat these cleaning processes at least three times to ensure that all the mold has been managed.
After you've removed the mold from your shower, deep clean the entire bathroom to eliminate particles like spores or mycotoxins that may have migrated during your cleaning.
Then, monitor your trouble spots carefully. If the mold returns, you may have a deeper problem that could require the help of a pro to deal with it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between pink and black mold?
"The variances in color could be due to different species present or if the growth is bacteria," Rubino says. "Some bacteria, such as Serratia Marcescens, is pink in color and a common culprit in showers. On the other hand, it could be a species of mold such as Aureobasidium pullulans. Also, a singular species of mold can transition to different colors, such as from pink to black." And don't be afraid to call in a pro at that point to help keep the situation from worsening.
Are glass doors better than shower curtains for preventing mold?
"Generally, glass doors are better at preventing mold because they’re easy to clean and squeegee away moisture," Rubino says. "They are also typically better at keeping water away from the rest of the bathroom floor. But it depends on whether the door is properly installed and sealed correctly. The main focus should be setting up the door in a way that doesn’t capture water and allows the entire surface to be cleaned."
What should I do if mold keeps coming back?
"Mold that keeps popping up in the shower could indicate a larger problem elsewhere in the bathroom or home, leading to a high volume of spores that opportunistically settle in moist areas like the shower," Rubino says. "Check hotspot areas in the home for mold—including the toilet tank."
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