Nearly everyone has experienced the plight of mold and mildew build-up on tile grout. It’s particularly common in showers and tubs where the combination of soap scum and moist warm air create the perfect breeding ground. And nearly everyone follows the “standard procedure” for removal: spray the area with a harsh bleach-based solution, wait several minutes, scrub clean, and repeat if necessary. Today, we’d like to propose a radically different way to clean mold from the grout in bathrooms: DITCH THE BLEACH. Yes, it is possible to get rid of mold without polluting your indoor air with chlorine bleach fumes, today’s article will teach you how (and why) to do it.
A little mold can cause a lot of issues
Oftentimes, mold and mildew in tile grout gets overlooked because it’s just so darn common. However, just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s healthy or safe. Mold in showers, or anywhere else in your home, can create a cascade of health issues including1:
- Respiratory illness
- Lowered immunity
- Eye irritation
- Skin rashes
- And even mood swings.
What’s worse, long-term exposure can lead to even more serious consequences including2:
- Memory loss
- Hormonal imbalance
- Chronic sinus infections
- And more
I’ve personally worked with many people in my practice whose health has been turned upside down by the effects of toxic mold in their homes; and these issues can be triggered by something as simple as mold in the shower. So, again just because it’s common doesn’t mean it should be allowed to persist.
A little bleach here-and-there can actually hurt
First off, if you’ve used straight bleach or bleach-based cleaners to eliminate mold before don’t beat yourself up. It’s what we’ve all been taught to do for decades. However, it’s important to understand that breathing in chlorine bleach, even in small amounts, can negatively impact on your health—especially if you’re already suffering from a chronic condition.
Bleach is a chlorine-based corrosive substance that is absolutely poisonous if it is inhaled, swallowed, or comes into contact with your skin in certain amounts. When it comes to cleaning with bleach, inhalation is of primary concern as bleach fumes have been shown to immediately irritate the mucous membranes of nose, throat, and mouth and deteriorate your esophagus, lungs, and respiratory system over time3. If you’re an otherwise healthy adult with no respiratory issues, you may not notice symptoms straight away, but the cumulative effects are impossible to deny. For example, research has shown that people regularly exposed to chlorine bleach, such as nurses and factory workers, are at a 30% increased risk of developing COPD4, and cases of new-onset asthma or occupational asthma are much more common in house cleaners and janitorial staff5. Children are even more vulnerable due to their smaller size and lung capacity per the CDC6, while the World Health Organization reports that bleach is one of top poisoning toxins of children worldwide7.
Plus, household bleach can become deadly if it’s mixed with other substances, including ammonia, vinegar, drain cleaners, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and other household cleaning products. Even mixing bleach with dirty water high or organic matter can create chloroform gas…crazy, isn’t it?
Bleach can exacerbate your mold problem
It’s true! Per OSHA8 and the EPA9 bleach is not recommended for removing mold because it only kills surface mold and does not eliminate the root cause of mold: moisture issues. Just like treating disease symptoms without addressing the root cause often result in more health problems, cleaning with bleach can actually exacerbate your mold problem. It’s also important to note that bleach cannot penetrate porous surfaces, such as wood, carpet, drywall, or natural stone. Fortunately, there is a better way.
How to remove (and prevent) mold in tile grout without bleach
Now that you understand the importance of keeping mold under control without the use of bleach, here’s what to do instead:
- Use Branch Basics Bathroom solution, Oxygen Boost + 3% hydrogen peroxide to eliminate mold on hard surfaces
- Spray grout lines liberally with Branch Basics Bathroom solution.
- Sprinkle with Oxygen Boost. Wet the Oxygen Boost with a spray of Bathroom solution.
- Let sit 1-5 minutes (the longer the better).
- Scrub with toothbrush or scrub brush to remove mold.
- Rinse or wipe off with a microfiber cloth.
- Finish by spraying straight hydrogen peroxide on the grout lines (you can add a spray bottle cap directly to your hydrogen peroxide bottle to make this easy), and let dry.
Since hydrogen peroxide has that wonderful “fizzing” quality, this method will also penetrate and kill mold at its source within porous surfaces. However, it’s not recommended for carpets. Controlling soap scum and humidity/moisture is your best defense against bathroom mold. Thus, use Bathroom solution regularly to remove soap scum, use a towel to dry off excess water after showers and baths, ventilate your bathroom by using your fan, opening a window, or running a dehumidifier and you will have far less mold issues (if any).
The big takeaway
Just because something is common, like cleaning mold on tile grout with household bleach, doesn’t mean it’s safe. By using our non-toxic mold removal method as outlined above, you can easily and safely take care of mold problems in your bathrooms without causing any future health issues…a healthy home win-win!