Using bleach to clean bathroom mold is a straightforward solution to a common problem. Mold grows well in damp, warm environments. Your bathroom provides a great habitat for the fungus if you do not keep it clean.
Using Bleach for Cleaning Mold
Mold can be toxic, so it's always a good idea to get a professional opinion before you remediate on your own. If you know your mold is non-toxic and it covers an area smaller than about three feet wide by three feet tall, it's safe to clean yourself.
How Bleach Works
The main chemical in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, can kill most types of surface indoor mold. Bleach works by killing the mold spores. In the bathroom, mold and mildew can return because of the frequent moisture, so you should make cleaning with bleach a regular part of your household maintenance routine.
Best for Non-Porous Materials
Keep in mind, bleach can only kill mold on the surface of non-porous materials in your bathroom like a tub, sealed tiles, glass, and certain countertops. If your mold is growing on wood trim or ceiling drywall, its roots will take hold inside the porous material where the bleach can't reach. Cleaning these surfaces with bleach will kill the mold you see but won't prevent it from growing again out of the same roots. In this case, the bleach could actually cause more mold to grow as water from the bleach can reach into the pores even though the chemicals can't. If you choose to use it on porous materials, you'll need to thoroughly dry and seal the surfaces after you treat them.
How to Use a Bleach Solution in Your Bathroom
To kill mold you only need to work with a ratio of three-quarters of a cup of bleach per gallon of warm water. The most bleach you should ever use per gallon of water is one cup. Keep this concentration in mind for any application.
Wipe down all surfaces with a dry cloth first, then carefully add the bleach mixture to a spray bottle using a funnel.
- Spray down the surfaces with the bleach mixture.
- For tougher mold or flat surfaces, you can apply the bleach mixture with a sponge or brush.
- Allow the bleach to sit on the surface for at least five minutes.
- Rinse the bleached area and let it air dry.
While some warn against the use of bleach on porous surfaces like grout, ServiceMaster suggests it can be used to kill bleach on white grout. Once you've made your mixture, use a toothbrush to apply it directly to the grout. Let the bleach solution sit for half an hour before rinsing. Take care not to use bleach on colored grout as it can discolor it.
If the caulk around your tub has mold, the best thing to do is sterilize it with bleach just like you would clean grout. Then you can safely remove the caulk and replace it.
Most bathroom surfaces only need cleaning once per week, but toilets could use two or more cleanings per week since they are one of the germiest areas. If you clean the toilet twice per week, wipe it down with a cloth soaked in a bleach solution one time and sanitize it the other time by spraying a bleach solution on it.
If you've got a window in your shower, you might be able to get rid of mold with a bit of elbow grease, a bleach solution, and some sandpaper. Use a nylon brush to scrub the moldy areas on the sill or frame, then wipe it with a clean cloth. If you're working on a painted or unfinished wood surface, you'll want to let it dry completely and then sand away the rest of the mold. You'll then need to repaint the surface with a good primer and waterproof paint to make sure the mold doesn't come back.
Once you've used a bleach cleaner on a non-porous surface, it will help prevent mold from growing there in the future. During your weekly bathroom cleaning, spray down the tub and shower with the bleach mixture to eliminate any mold or mildew that has begun to grow and keep more from popping up.
Bleach can stain fabrics and other materials, so make sure you remove curtains, towels, and rugs before using bleach cleaners. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that using bleach as a household cleaner requires specific safety measures to avoid injury or illness caused by the chemicals:
- Open windows and doors and turn on exhaust fans before cleaning.
- Follow manufacturer instructions printed on the bleach bottle.
- Wear gloves, goggles, and clothing you won't mind getting ruined.
- Avoid mixing bleach with any other household cleaners, especially ammonia.
- Keep bleach solutions away from children and pets.
Banish Bathroom Mold With Bleach
Bleach has withstood the test of time as one of the strongest cleaners for killing bacteria and mold. When used properly, a bleach solution can save one moldy section of your bathroom from turning into a renovation project.