Tips for Removing Mold and Mildew from Grout

Mold and mildew are part of the package when you have a tile wall or floor in your bathroom. The heat and humidity from the shower creates the perfect environment for black mildew and mold to grow and bind itself to porous surface areas such as caulk. It’s almost impossible to completely get rid of mold and mildew in your bathroom (as the environment is ripe for it), but there are easy and effective ways to combat it at first sight.

The methods you take to tackle mold and mildew depend entirely upon how much is growing and how long it’s been there. For minor growth that’s a little spread out, we recommend using a microfiber cloth (great for absorption) and water. The scrubbing and absorption you get when using the microfiber cloth can sometimes be enough to grab excess mildew from grout. Use a toothbrush with stiff, thick bristles to get the mildew out of those hard-to-reach corners. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a great replacement for a standard microfiber cloth, if you have one. Remember to always throw out used cloths and Magic Erasers immediately after using them on mold, and discard of them outside of your home, as mold and mildew can be detrimental to your or your family’s health, even when it’s sitting around in the trash can.

If scrubbing doesn’t work – and it may not if your mold and mildew infestation is highly concentrated – all experts point to bleach. Begin with a solution that’s three parts water to one part bleach. Repeat the process from earlier, but with this bleach solution. Scrub deeply with a microfiber cloth and follow up with a thick bristle toothbrush. If this solution doesn’t work, try again with a more highly concentrated solution. However, if it doesn’t work on the first go, don’t play around with cleaning chemicals, as the wrong combination (ammonia + bleach, for example) can produce toxic fumes.

If no chemical solution is strong enough to tackle the mildew in your bathroom, you can try another option. First, consider renting a steam cleaner and using a brush attachment that will employ heat and steam to the effected area.

If this doesn’t work, you might be left with no other option but to rip out the caulk and reseal your tub. To do this, scrape the caulk out with a sharp tool, clean thoroughly with bleach and let it dry before filling it in again with more caulk. If you aren’t experienced with caulking and removing caulk, we strongly recommend you hire a professional.

It’s a good idea to bring in a second, or even a third opinion before attempting to rip out the caulk, as mildew might have gotten behind the tiles or spread through the room’s structure. If so, you may have to retile or remodel your bathroom using mildew resistant paint or flooring.