Baths

Getting Rid of Mold in Shower

Q. I have mold on my bathroom walls and ceiling over the shower. The mold and mildew removers say "Not for painted surfaces." So, what can I use?

• If all else fails to remove mold, try tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil. Put about a tablespoon of oil in hot soapy water and wash down. After that, keep a spray bottle of the mixture in the bathroom and spray before a shower. Before you use it make sure you are not allergic to the oil, both these oils are very powerful. Tea tree oil is possibly more effective but smells pretty awful – eucalyptus smells lovely. – Iva     Editor’s Note: Use quality Essential Oils for potency and properties wanted.

• We had the same problem – I put some bleach in a cheap spray bottle and sprayed the mildewed areas – worked like a charm! Be SURE the area is well-ventiated, and wear goggles i case of splashback. If your bathroom has an outer wall, you can prevent mildew problems down the road by purchasing and installing an inexpensive ventilating fan unit, available at major home centers. You can also install fans in interior bathrooms, but you would need to have ducts installed. Be sure to leave the bathroom door cracked open while you are showering to allow steam to escape – AND – even MORE frugally, take shorter showers and use less hot water! Less hot water usage = less steam = less mildew. A. I found mold on the painted walls above my shower compartment. I sprayed the walls with a solution of 1/2 water and bleach and it came right off when I wiped it down. I also keep the same ratio of water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Great for hard water on fixtures etc. – LeBrun

• Use bleach to remove the mold and mildew then repaint with a good quality paint and have the paint store add stuff to the paint to halt mildew growth. also vent if at all possible. even a small portable fan would help A. On the mold on painted surfaces question: A 10-1 ratio of water and bleach in a spray bottle works. Lightly spray the surface. Let it dry overnight. It may require multiple sprays or you might have to change the concentration. – Alisa

• I use warm water with a little bleach, (not to much, you don’t want to strip the paint off the walls) about a cup in a bucket of water. The bleach not only kills the icky mold and bacteria, it leaves a barrier so it won’t grow back so quickly. I sometimes add a little mild detergent (like dish soap) into the water, for extra cleaning power. Make sure the room is well ventilated and REMEMBER, don’t mix household cleaners with bleach, it’s hazardous to your health. Happy cleaning – Brooke

•I used bleach to kill the mold and then I painted the surface again with a paint that says on the label that it prevents mold. No more problems. – Olson

Non-Toxic Disinfectant Cleaning Spray

Making your own household cleaners will save lots of cleaning supplies money over the years, but the real savings are in being able to rid your home of toxic chemicals that not only affect children and pets, but also adults as they are absorbed through the skin and lungs.

Here’s one of our favorite all-purpose cleaner recipes.

Lavender and Tea Tree Spray Cleaner

1 t. borax
2 T. white vinegar
2 c. hot water
1/4 t. lavender essential oil
3 drops tea tree essential oil

Mix all ingredients together and stir until dry ingredients dissolve. Pour into spray bottle for long-term storage and use. Spray as needed on any surface except glass. Scrub and rinse with a clean damp, cloth.

More Cleaning Recipe s

You can get essential oil kits from Nature’s Sunshine. It’s fun to make your own supplies. It’s a great idea for gifts and a nice tradition to pass down to children.

Daily Shower Cleaner

Q. I’d like a homemade alternative to the daily shower cleaner spray.

I clean my shower 2-3 times a year and it always looks clean. I’ve been using homemade cleaning supplies for a long time since I used to have environmental illness and couldn’t have chemicals in my home. I use Tea Tree Oil in water to spray the corners and door tract after each shower. About once a month I may spray the tile also. I use Sunshine Concentrat e as my shower gel which leaves no soap scum at all.  Seems the dirt sticks to the soap scum. Essential Oils (like Tea Tree) have potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which make them nice for cleaning.

In a spray bottle put  3 T. of liquid Jetdry for dishwashers and fill the rest with water. Then spray after every shower.

Seems like just using a body shampoo or just plain shampoo / liquid soap will do the trick. Apparently, leaves no scum. You might try putting a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spraying the shower stall with it. When I use vinegar in the final rinse of my laundry, the soap scum floats up.

I used the shower spray at a friend’s house and didn’t like the greasy feel it left on the walls. So, in our house, the last person out of the shower uses a squeegee on the walls and shower doors. That wipes off water spots and soap scum. An old towel catches the corners and around the handles and spigot then we turn the fan on facing the bathtub for ventilation. We have done that for years now and I have never needed to clean the shower walls/doors.

Try using a mixture of 1 c vinegar and 3c water in a 1 qt spray bottle.  (works good for fiberglass showers surrounds) or for tile/grout mix 1/4 c warm water, 1 c baking soda, 1 c ammonia, 1/2 c white vinegar OR 1 part bleach and 3 parts water OR mix some all purpose cleaner with 1/4 c water, 1 c washing soda (found in detergent aisle of most bigger grocery stores), 1 c ammonia.   This is good full strength for small jobs, and diluted 3/4 c per bucket of water for floors and large areas.

I dilute floral scented store brand bleach 1 part to 9 parts water and put in a spray bottle to use as a quick mist after showering every couple of days, I  also mist the curtain liner. JB

Bath Tub Ring

Q.    Ring Around The Tub ~After several weeks of letting the shampoo bottle rest on the bath tub ledge, it has left a ring stain that I can’t seem to remove. I tried vinegar but it didn’t help. Any suggestions please? Terrance E.

For stubborn water mineral deposit stains, I use a flexible black mesh made by 3M you can pick up at any hardware store. An 8"x10" sheet was $2.29. I cut it into 1" or 1-1/2" square pieces. Rub it over the stain and it should come off. I use the mesh primarily in the toilet for that ‘water line’ stain. Pumice scratches the enamel and exposes the porous material underneath, which stains even faster. This 3M mesh does not scratch. Works like a charm!  Joseph

Try using Bar Keeper’s Friend. It is awesome for getting out difficult stains. Of course, check to make sure it is safe for the type of tub you have (which it should be). Trisha

I use lemon juice for cleaning those rust rings out of my tub. Pour the juice on it, let it set of a few minutes, apply some elbow grease and viola!  It also makes the bathroom smell better! I do recommend fresh juice from the lemon because I don’t trust the fake stuff on the shelves. Theresa

I suggest they go to K-mart and buy a bottle of "The Works" this cost about $2.35 for a real nice cleaner and it takes everything and anything off of bath tubs and showers. You do not use much and this lasts me for about six months, to clean two bathrooms. Linda