Imagínese esto: you’re cleaning your bathroom, and you notice a patch of black “gunk” in the shower pan or wall tiles. Upon further inspection, you realize that the gunk in question is mold. Dark colored mold. Fear swirls in your gut—is this the dreaded “black mold” that can render a home uninhabitable for months at a time?!
If you ever find yourself in the above situation, then try not to panic. While homeowners have come to fear all kinds of dark-hued mold, the term “black mold” really refers to one specific species: El Stachybotrys chartarum,. Por supuesto, cualquier tipo de moho puede resultar asqueroso, y hay una amplia variedad de hongos que pueden liberar micotoxinas que causan enfermedades.
However, the fact remains that not every type of bathroom mold is going to be “true” black mold, nor is its presence going to warrant ripping up shower tiles and replacing all of your furniture.
So, how do you know whether the mold in your shower or tub is “true” black mold, or something else entirely? What’s the correct way to clean up a mold infestation? And how do you prevent the mold from coming back again and again?
Prevención del moho negro en la ducha
When it comes to mold, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While there’s no 100% fool-proof way to eliminate your chances of ever having to fight unfriendly fungi, here are a few ways to help prevent mold from growing in your bathroom—or coming back after you clean up an infestation:
1. Manténgalo seco
La humedad en el aire puede estimular el crecimiento de moho, razón por la cual los baños suelen ser un lugar privilegiado para este material. Haga todo lo posible para mantener su baño bien ventilado haciendo funcionar un extractor de aire durante y varios minutos después de cada ducha o baño, y deje la puerta del baño abierta siempre que pueda.
También lave con frecuencia las toallas, paños y alfombras de baño. Para mayor protección, incluso puede secar las superficies de vidrio y azulejos con una escobilla de goma y secar con una toalla sus lavamanos para eliminar el exceso de agua.
2. Use una cortina para la ducha
Most adults know to draw the curtain every time they shower, but if you live with children, make sure that they know to do this, as well! These days, decorative fabric shower curtains are usually paired with a disposable plastic liner, which eliminates the need to replace the “pretty” curtain when it gets dirty.
Regardless of your decorating tastes, make sure that the curtain (or at least the liner) is tucked into the bathtub properly (instead of draped over the tub) when the water’s running; doing so can do wonders for keeping water off of your floor. Moldy shower curtains can sometimes be laundered, but plastic liners that show signs of mold growth should be replaced completely.
3. Esté atento
Stay vigilant; mold infestations almost never go away on their own, and a small spot is significantly easier to clean up than a huge patch. Do remember that, while dangerous “black mold” (that is, S. chartarum) is always black in color, mold can actually come in a wide variety of colors, including pink, green, red, brown, dark blue, and white.
If you see a discolored spot on the wall of your daughter’s bathroom, don’t assume that she just got careless with her strawberries ‘n’ cream body wash—grab your mold-fighting arsenal and prepare for battle!
Como deshacerse del moho negro
Let’s be clear: a possible S. chartarum infestation should be taken seriously. So, if you find black-colored mold in your bathroom (and it must truly be black—not brown, not blue, but black), you should immediately stop what you’re doing and call a reputable inspección ambiental de buena reputación.. Explain your concerns and make an appointment for an expert to come assess the situation. A trained professional will be able to tell you whether or not you’re really dealing with S. chartarum.
The bad news is that, if you really do have S. chartarum mold growing in your bathroom, that’ll be the end of your DIY journey—toxic black mold should only be cleaned up by an expert using professional equipment (and top-of-the-line safety gear). The environmental inspector—and a representative from the mold removal firm you’ll inevitably need to hire—will be able to advise you further.
Now, if the mold you found turns out to not be black mold, then you’ll probably be able to tackle the job yourself (we say “probably” because mold patches larger than 10 square feet in size may still require professional mold remediation, regardless of their composition). Here are some steps for success; be sure to vent the bathroom by opening a window or turning on a fan before you start:
Evite el jabón y el agua
While soap and water may be an old standby for most house-cleaning jobs, it’s just not strong enough to kill mold spores. Instead, go for a commercial cleaner specifically designed to combat mold and mildew, or—if you’re uncomfortable using manufactured cleaners—use undiluted vinegar.
Working in one small area at a time, wipe the bulk of the mold off of nonporous surfaces using a cloth or sponge, and then use a scrub brush on stubborn patches or porous surfaces. Rinse the spot with plenty of hot water afterward. (Note: respect the laws of gravity by starting from the top of the mold patch. That way, the mess won’t run down into already-cleaned areas as you go!)
Use blanqueador para las manchas
Mold (especially dark or brightly-colored mold) has a knack for staining grout and other porous surfaces. While bleach isn’t the best at actually killing mold, it’s hard to beat when it comes to stain removal. Using a spray bottle, apply a solution of one part bleach and one part water to soiled areas, let it sit for several minutes, spray the surfaces with bleach and water again, and then use a scrub brush to banish the discoloration.
Después, enjuague bien con agua caliente regular. (Nota: un cepillo de dientes viejo, o uno nuevo y barato de su tienda local, funciona muy bien para áreas estrechas y difíciles de alcanzar. ¡Solo recuerde tirar el cepillo de dientes después!)
Rocié una vez mas
Give the area one last spritz with undiluted vinegar; this will likely kill anything that managed to survive the initial cleaning and bleach scrub. Don’t bother rinsing away the vinegar; simply let it air dry—or get washed away the next time someone uses the shower. (Note: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, MIX VINEGAR WITH BLEACH OR ANY COMMERCIAL CLEANER CONTAINING BLEACH!
¡Al combinar estos dos, produce un peligroso gas de cloro! Siempre enjuague bien el área que está limpiando con agua corriente entre cada uno de los pasos. ¡Es por esto que el tener buena ventilación donde fluya el aire es tan importante!
El encontrar moho en la bañera o la ducha puede ser algo espantoso, y si ese moho es de color oscuro, su descubrimiento puede ser realmente aterrador. Pero la buena noticia es que la mayoría de las contaminaciones de moho se pueden limpiar sin el uso de herramientas y equipos profesionales.
To reiterate, it’s always important to have mold looked at by professionals to verify that it isn’t immediately dangerous to you and your family. And however the mold gets cleaned up, you should do what you can to prevent regrowth. At the end of the day, people rely on their shower stalls and bathtubs to get themselves clean. It stands to reason, then, that you’ll want to keep your washing areas clean and mold-free in return!