NJ AIR QUALITY BLOG

What Is The Best Way To Remove Mold From Bathroom Ceilings?

ByMarc Silberberg

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Recently I had posted an article that mentioned the negative effects of not having a properly vented bathroom. One of the issues present in a bathroom which does not have proper venting is that the steam and moisture create the perfect breeding ground for mold. The mold could easily take root anywhere, especially on the bathroom ceiling. It can make your expensive bathroom makeover look absolutely horrendous. 

Bathroom mold also can be found in places where the weekly bathroom cleaning simply does not get to like in corners and cracks. Whether it’s you or a cleaning service, it’s very difficult to get into these tight spots. In addition, most people think that if the soap suds reach it it will get clean. Unfortunately, mold and mildew can affix to even the most slick spots and a small amount of bubbles from your choice brand household cleaning agent is not going to remove it. Sometimes it may appear as if it’s gone only to reappear again in the future and sometimes the mold may have stained a part of your bathroom so badly that it needs to be re-caulked or repaired. Either way, mold is a common household issue that’s often found in bathrooms. Today I will give you my personal experience of what I used to get rid of it.

“Mold Is All Over The Bathroom Ceiling”

After a long summer day I finally made it upstairs and planned on retiring for the night. Just then I heard my wife call out from her shower “Mold is all over the bathroom ceiling”. I had noticed some small black spots on the ceiling but ignored them. Now I was looking at a garden of multi-colored mold spots spread across areas right above the shower stall. What was interesting to me was that I didn’t have any other mold issues in my home and the problem was localized to the shower stall area. The shower door bumpers were turning coral red and the sealant along the shower stall had become all rusty. It was quite clear that there was a mold issue that needed to be taken care of.

That night I got into old clothing and took with me an extendable tub & tile scrubber along with some Clorox bleach spray cleaner. Spraying bleach on the bathroom ceiling is no easy feat. The aerosol particles can go into your eyes and get breathed in rather easily. Ultimately I was able to get the solution sprayed all over the ceiling and began scrubbing vigorously at the mold stain marks. After that ordeal the surface mold was removed but the stains were still there. I figured that the mold must have discolored the paint on the ceiling and I would need a painter to apply a fresh coating of paint.

See The Stain Then The Mold Is Still There

About three months later the mold reappeared and seemed to have spread across a larger area of the bathroom ceiling. I realized that the ceiling was not stained but rather the mold was not fully removed. Apparently the Clorox bleach did not remove the mold but merely scraped the surface spores off leaving the roots behind. The ceiling did not need a paint job but needed for the mold to be removed completely.

When I saw the cathedral ceiling decorated in mold I was thinking of doing a complete bathroom makeover. I was trying to justify it but still was not happy about the presence of mold in my bathroom. Every time the bathroom would steam up, the moisture would gather on the splotches of mold and drip back into the shower stall. This did not sit well with me and I decided to give it one more shot to get rid of the mold.

Meet ZEP Mold Stain & Mildew Stain Remover

I don’t usually promote products when writing an article but Zep Mold Stain Remover at just $1.98 deserves honorable mention. This bottle is made up of a solution that kills the mold and removes the stains. I sprayed ZEP all over the infected area on the bathroom ceiling and then scrubbed with a long handle scrub brush and the mold disappeared. True, I should have worn a mask when spraying heavy amounts all over the bathroom ceiling but this product works like magic. As a matter of fact, I was very nervous when the ZEP began dripping on the walls that it would ruin the paint color. There was no paint discoloration so it is safe to use on any surface. The dual formula of killing the mold and getting rid of the stain was all I needed and best of all it only cost $1.98. 

What Happened & Where Did The Mold Come From?

The primary reason as to why mold issues appear in one’s bathroom is primarily due to poor ventilation of high levels of moisture. Keep in mind that bathrooms are the perfect setting for mold spores to grow. There is always plenty of water and unless you live in an upscale home there is typically not so much air space. This makes it very difficult for humidity levels to regulate after a normal shower let alone a ten plus minute shower. That’s why it’s very important for your bathroom to have proper venting both during and after bathing. Sometimes contractors will skimp on a window and install a bathroom fan that is supposed to exhaust outside the home. In my case, it does not exhaust outside the home but rather into the attic (and I have no idea what’s going on up there) which is why it’s so difficult to keep the humidity down. 

In most cases mold is found in places like under the sink, behind the refrigerator, dirty air conditioner vents, and other crowded space with high moisture levels. The key is to make sure that areas where there is greater chances for increased levels of moisture get vented properly. The ventilation allows for the moisture to escape and leaves the space dry even where high levels of moisture exist. 

Bathroom Fan Clogged With Dust 

Just like any HVAC air vent can get clogged with dust so can bathroom vents. But it’s not just dust that can get into your bathroom vents, it’s mold too. Mold can ruin the vent if it becomes too dirty and can often lead to an expensive repair. That’s why it’s important to keep a close eye on the vent fan and to be aware of any possible mold or mildew in between the slats of the bathroom fan. Keeping your bathroom fan clean will insure that there is little to no mold buildup that may feed into the venting. 

What Is The Average Cost For Mold Removal?

According to HomeAdvisor the average cost per  square foot of mold remediation is between $10 and $25. Removal for a space under $10 square feet can cost as little as $50 and larger projects can cost up to $6,000. Mold removal can get very costly and is avoidable if homeowners are aware of how it takes root. This is especially true for warmer climates where increased humidity is present throughout most of the year. Florida is one of those places where homeowners need to make sure that moisture levels remain low and if one sees some mold growth that it’s cleaned up right away. At the same time one needs to be aware of the space in which the mold is present. Chances are that there is poor ventilation and moisture present that creates the perfect condition for mold growth. If one does spot mold and successfully removes it, as in my case, try and troubleshoot as to what caused it in the first place. As the saying goes “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Final Words

My personal experience showed me that mold is not just something that you read about online or see in a TV advertisement but is something that is very close to home. It cannot be ignored and it’s something that will get worse as time goes on. Mold can become a much bigger problem and require professional/expensive removal rather than just the cost of an over the counter spray. 

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency or better known as the EPA, mold can be prevented by keeping humidity levels in your home to below 60%. There are many cheap clocks that measure a home’s humidity levels that keep homeowners informed of the moisture in their home. At the same time, too dry is not that good either which is why the recommended humidity levels in one’s home should be between 30% to 50%. 

Besides for the grody appearance of mold, it can also affect people especially those with compromised immune systems like the elderly, children, and those with allergies. In some cases where high levels of mold are present for an extended period of time, traces can be found in the inhabitants blood stream. There is no need for mold to impact one’s health by taking care of it right away. 

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