Ever wonder why it's so easy for mold to appear around your bathtub? The answer is simple: your bath makes a terrific home! Mold is everywhere whether we like it or not. And it is an opportunist. A few simple steps can help you prevent mold growth in your bathroom.
To prevent mold, allow good airflow in your bathing area. Mold loves the moisture and moving air inhibits its growth. See to it that all the moisture from bathing is wiped away or evaporated. Run the exhaust fan for several minutes after showers. Be sure your exhaust fan discharges to the outdoors. Use fans if necessary. Open a window. Monitor the drying process.
Clean regularly. Mold feeds on soap and dirt, penetrating porous bath surfaces. Use bristles and Magic Eraser sponges to get into grooves and textured areas. Also, wash your bathroom walls annually to remove soap and shampoo residues that cling from condensation.
Apply sealant to wall surfaces. A simple product to use is RainX. This product causes water to form in tiny droplets which helps it to drain quickly. This offers a simple preventative measure against soap, dirt and mineral accumulation.
Replace aging grout and caulk. This will prevent moisture from traveling into your wall through gaps around the faucet and at edges of tile which can be difficult to see. Mold can cause your caulk and grout to fail.
Have your plumbing fixtures services checked by a professional. Your plumber will be able to determine the possibility of leaks that may be contributing to mold growth.
Mold Removal. If you have tried to scrub away mold from grout or caulk and still see some, you can try to bleach it out with a paste of cleanser and water.
Start by wearing latex gloves and safety glasses, and ventilate the room well. Start with a small amount of water in a disposable cup. Stir water into a bleach-containing cleanser until you have the consistency of peanut butter. Use a small, flat stick or your gloved finger to apply it to the affected areas. Cover the areas with cellophane or a plastic bag so that it touches the paste. Let this stand a few hours. Scrub with a tiny brush then rinse.
Another way is to mix a bleach solution. In pint or quart-sized a plastic bottle with a flip cap, pour a couple tablespoons of bleach then fill the rest with water. Apply this after showers to the mold for two weeks.
Each year in the US there are approximately 235,000 unintentional, nonfatal falls in the bathroom resulting in injury in persons 15 and older. Of these falls, older people incur hip fractures and brain injuries. Studies suggest that the use of grab bars and slip resistant floors would have reduced this number.
New bathtubs and showers are required to meet basic slip resistance standards. Older units and units that have become worn need to be supplemented. We recommend slip protection in the bathtub.
There are basically three varieties of added slip protection for the tub floor:
1) A self-adhering textured surface. ("flower stickers", etc.) Most hardware and home centers offer a variety of them. Start by completely cleaning your tub, removing all residue from soap, oil and any sealers. Once clean and dry, apply the decals. If you choose strips, orient them in the direction the water flows toward the drain.
2) Texture. One method is sand added to coatings. This is probably best left for a professional to achieve the best results.
3) Scoring (or using sandpaper on) the tub floor. This is easiest on plastic and fiberglass tubs. Clean tub. Mask the perimeter of the area you want to treat. Use a very coarse sand paper (700-400 micron/ 24-40 grit). With heavy pressure, thoroughly sand inside the masked area until it is no longer shiny.
Each of these means the tub will collect dirt and require extra effort to clean and can not prevent all falls. If you are unsure of the ability to do it yourself, call us for help.
Have a very noticeable mark that doesn't quite feel like a scratch? You might be able to resolve it.
First, let's identify it.
-If it's colored, it could be nail polish or plastic that transferred onto your tub. Try an eraser sponge.
-If it's gray or metallic-looking, it could be metal. Try the eraser sponge first. If that doesn't work, make a paste of "Bar Keeper's Friend." Allow it to stand several minutes, then rub it out with soft cloth then rinse the area.
-If it has no color and is noticeable when you look at a reflection off it, use a carnauba wax. A good product for that is "Gel-Gloss." Apply it in layers according to the directions. The build up of this wax will help fill scratches. If you are considering refinishing it in the future, do not attempt this.
-If all else fails, call us for help.
Temporary Hole Repair.
Got a crack or hole in a tub or shower that can't be professionally repaired immediately? Here's a quick procedure that can help keep your fixture in service until a quality repair can be done. We can't guarantee it will work in your situation, but it may slow down the water from getting beneath the surface.
Wearing hand protection, remove any loose pieces with light to moderate effort.
Dry the inside of the hole if applicable with a hair dryer. Then pack it solid with paper towel until they are even with the inside surface of the fixture.
Clean the area around the hole with rubbing alcohol, being sure there is no soap or other residues.
Cover the hole with duct tape, going beyond the edges of it by 2 inches. Overlap each strip by 1/2 inch. Repeat this for a second layer.
Use the hair dryer to warm the duct tape. While wearing the gloves, thoroughly rub the tape into place.
The first step is to identify the stain. There are a few kinds common to baths.
Start easy- does the use of a common cleaner and microfiber cloth remove it? How about an eraser sponge?
Rust stain- residue and scale. If you have a transparent orange spot on your fixture, it could simply be rust. Try dissolving the residue with an acidic cleaner or with Bar Keeper's Friend which has a powdered acid in it. You won't have to scour, just follow the directions on the can. If the build-up is too much, you may have to chip at it with a scraper then repeat the above precedure or call Tubs N' Stuff for help.
Lime stain- white to yellow residue and scale. We usually see spots on bath fixtures and faucets. When common cleaners don't quite do the job, use Bar Keeper's Friend according the the directions on the can. Applying a paper towel moistened with vinegar can help soften minor accumulations. If the lime is built up, you may have to chip at it with a scraper then repeat the above precedure or call Tubs N' Stuff for help.
Mold- most common bath cleaners like Scrubbing Bubbles will do a great job removing almost all the mold when used regularly. Some mold may have become embedded into porous areas like grout, caulk or textures. See the section on mold at the top of this page.
Paint-first try removing any heavy paint with a wood paint stirring stick. You may have to use a single edge razor blade if it's difficult. If its color is still there, try using a Magic Eraser. If it's still there, try nail polish remover, alcohol or mineral spirits.
Consider sealing your fixture with RainX or automotive wax to prevent future deposits.
Most drains collect slime. It's from dirt, microbes and soaps.
You'll need latex gloves, a flat screwdriver, a plastic bag, a bottle brush, and cleaner. You can use ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, lemon juice, Pine Sol, Fabuloso, etc., just don't combine cleaners.
Remove the drain cover with the screwdriver, pull out the hair, scrub the inside of the pipe with the bottle brush & pour down some cleaner. Check your results and repeat if necessary.
Not all stains will come out, but why not try? On cultured marble tops, acrylic surfaces, and fiberglass tubs, scour the spot with a good Scotchbrite pad and try to not scour beyond the burn. Use a terry cloth and automotive rubbing compound (or toothpaste) to polish the Scotchbrite marks until the spot shines like the areas around it.
Tub Floor Texture Stains.
It can be very frustrating to clean the tub floor texture on an enameled tub! Some people have tried to clean these stains for years. The factory-installed tub textures we see today were either etched (some of the shiny finish was intentionally removed) or applied (a textured compound added to the surface of the enamel). Most tubs have etched slip resistance. We've found that most stains are dirt and lime.
This method is for non-refinished tubs.
First: dissolve any lime from the area. It will require paper towels, vinegar, plastic wrap, Magic Eraser and a Scotchbrite pad. Unroll enough paper towels to cover the stained area. Next, soak them with vinegar and cover with the plastic wrap. Let this stand a couple hours. Return and scour the areas with Scotchbrite. The vinegar will soften the minerals. However, if that doesn't remove enough use the sponge eraser. Repeat until you have removed the stain.
This isn't as complicated as it appears below!
You will need the following tools and materials:
silicone bath caulk (& gun if applicable)
roll of paper towels and scissors
single-edge razor blades and scraper
wood paint stirring stick
safety glasses & latex gloves
Scotchbrite pad and Magic Eraser
rubbing alcohol and mineral spirits
Before starting, familiarize yourself with the safety requirements of all your tools and materials. Always cut away from yourself. Use only new, sharp blades. Only use solvent where lots of fresh air fresh air can be brought in. Dispose of used solvents properly.
These steps for for a tub that was refinished, and a tile wall that was not refinished.
Start on the left side of the tub. With the utility knife, cut into the caulk parallel to the wall and down to the tub. Make one long, continuous cut to the corner. If you're not sure if you reached the tub, repeat. Return to the place you started, but position the knife parallel to the tub. Cut into the caulk and drive the blade to the corner, repeating if necessary. This step should remove most of the caulk. Repeat this process at all the other caulked edges. Acrylic caulk may require the careful use of a heat gun for softening.
Next, take your single edge razor blade. At the same place you started with the previous step, place the cutting edge against the tile where the thin caulk is. Angle the blade so that the left side of the blade is lower than the right by about a half an inch. Maintain that angle and some slight pressure while moving the blade to the corner of the tub. Repeat until you can not remove any more. Then continue to the other edges against the tile. Do not try removing the caulk from the refinished tub yet.
Cut some paper towels into strips about 2 inches wide. With your gloves on, saturate the paper towels with mineral spirits and apply the strips the caulk residue on the tub. Allow it to stand 5-10 minutes before the next step.
Remove a section of paper towel. With your paint stick, gently rub the old caulk until it is completely free. Repeat this around the tub. Discard the paper towels and old caulk.
Next use a Scotchbrite pad to gently scour the caulk residue from the tile. Use the Magic Eraser and water to remove marks from the razor blade.
With your gloves on, use paper towels to wipe all loose material and residue from the mineral spirits away. Moisten paper towels with rubbing alcohol and wipe all the area that had caulk or any mineral spirts. Go over it 2-3 times, turning the paper towels so you are not reintroducing mineral spirits to the surface to receive caulk. Clean up the work area.
Now, use the utility knife to cut a small opening on the tip of the caulk tube. This is key to a having good control while you apply caulk. Some tubes also require you pierce a seal, so run the reamer (the pivoting wire piece on the caulk gun) or a long stiff wire several times.
If you're using a caulk gun, squeeze the grip a few times until the caulk dispenses. Hit the release feature and wipe the first caulk into a paper towel. Position the caulk tip at the left side where you began cutting away the old caulk. While squeezing the grip, watch the material as it comes out. Aim to apply a spaghetti-thick bead where the tub and wall meet, and hit the release when you get to the end. Once you've completed the side, reapply as needed. Then with your gloved finger, use gentle pressure to smooth the area where you added extra, and wipe your finger. Finally, reach to the far corner with the same finger and gently smooth the entire bead with one long, continuous pass. Repeat for the other walls.
Dirty Shower Doors.
You will need a half bucket of hot water, dishwasher tabs, gloves, & a bathtub scrubber.
Dissolve the tab in the hot water. Apply & work the solution into the soiled areas one section at a time. As the dirt and minerals dissolve, the scrubber feels like it moves over the surface more smoothly. Rinse well & dry. Once clean, this is a good time to apply a sealant like RainX or Aquapel to the glass and frames.
Once it's clean and sealed, wipe it daily with a microfiber cloth and squeegee it after bathing.
Grout & Tile Sealing.
Sealing tile can help prevent the accumulation of solids in the textures of the tile and grout. This information is for tile that has not been refinished. Begin with clean grout and tile. It must be free of all foreign solids and residues. We recommend proceeding only with dry caulk where it has been applied. With a sealer that you are comfortable with, you can apply it with a clean rag, sponge or paint roller. Follow the instructions on the product label.
Among the common sealers, you will find some products that offer deep penetration which can last long periods of time. You may also find some that cost less and are more temporary. If you have white or light-colored grout, you should choose a non-yellowing formula.
Don't want to do it yourself?