Mold in Shower Drain: Causes and Fixes


Why Is There Mold in My Shower Drain?

Mold is everywhere – it grows in humid conditions where there is a surface to live on and organic matter to help it grow. Natural oils and dead skin from our bodies harbor molds. As we shower, these molds wash off and cling to the drain opening.

Shampoos help to release dirt from our skin, but it does not kill off the bacteria. If your bathroom smells musty after a shower, the cause will be from a mold or pathogen. You should have a remediation specialist decide on the species if you are worried so that they can kill the mold safely.

What Are the Main Species of Mold?

  • Black Mold – Black mold in the shower drain sounds like it should be the worst one, but most forms are not dangerous. Black mold thrives in humidity and near stagnant water. Most showers will develop black mold around the caulk lines or the shower drain.
  • Red Mold – Red mold is less common and grows around plugholes, where the shower water has trouble draining or clings to limescale. Like yeast, these molds are hard to name and can have a pungent odor.
  • White Mold – White mold is feather-like in appearance and can fall from the ceiling and into your shower base. You will see white mold growing from plaster and grout, and it can irritate sinuses and cause breathing issues.
  • Green Mold – Green mold is at least easy to see, though more common outdoors. Green mold can also be a precursor to toxic black mold.
  • Pink Mold – Serratia Marcescens is a pathogen often confused as a form of pink mold. Common symptoms include urinary and eye infections, respiratory issues, and meningitis.

How Do I Eliminate the Mold In My Shower Drain?

Most molds are safe enough for you to deal with though wearing a ventilation mask while cleaning is advisable. Follow these steps to clean away mold safely and thoroughly: –

1. Boil

Boil 10 to 20 pints of water in a large pot – the more water, the better. But remember, you will need to carry this pot to the bathroom, when it is hot, without struggling. Leave it to boil and come back to it later.

2. Prepare

Prepare a mold-killing solution by mixing either borax or baking soda into a cup of water to make a paste.

3. Apply

Apply the paste of borax or baking soda around the rim of the shower drain and pour the rest down the hole. The foaming action will help to push the solution further along the drain and to kill more mold. Leave it to soak into the mold for five to ten minutes.

4. Scrub

Scrub the solution into the drain hole with an old toothbrush, or a fabric scrubbing pad, so as not to scratch the ceramic or chrome. You may need to add a little water and repeat this process in several sessions.

5. Vinegar

Once you are happy with the external cleaning, you can pour a cup of vinegar down the plughole to activate the borax or baking soda. You may see bubbling and gas coming out.

6. Hot Water

By now, the water should be boiling – lay down a towel or a stove pad on the floor that you can rest the pot on. Be careful when you bring the water into the bathroom, wear non-slip shoes and oven mitts.

7. Hot Rinse

Boiling water will kill all mold spores and bacteria but pouring it onto a cold shower may cause the ceramics to crack. Run the hot water from the shower for a few minutes to heat the shower base, then pour the boiling water down the plughole.

The scrubbing, rinsing, and boiling of mold should slow down the mold growth and keep your bathroom safe and odor-free for weeks at a time. You can repeat the vinegar and rinsing process until the musty smell is gone. You can do this several times a month as a general care solution.

How Do I Stop Mold from Growing in My Shower Drain?

Cleaning and regular maintenance will save you money. You can save yourself some cleaning by not giving the mold the food to develop. If you leave mold for too long, it will damage your shower, and you will need to use more extreme methods of mold removal.

Ventilation

The simplest and cheapest way of slowing or preventing mold growth is to leave the window open while showering. If you have an extractor, turn it on, and leave it on for five minutes after showering. And leave the door open when you are finished in the bathroom.

Dehumidifier

If your shower does not have an opening window or an extractor, you can run a small dehumidifier. Condensation – from the steam after having a shower – will cling to cold ceramics. You can solve this by running a compact dehumidifier – like a VremiOpens in a new tab. that costs less than $40 – for a few hours a day.

Cleaning Schedule

Mold is always trying to take hold of your bathroom. Allocate two days in a week where you run around the bathroom with spray disinfectant, soap, and bleach. Taking a methodical approach to rinsing the shower means your main cleaning will go far easier.

Remove Slip-Mats

Slip-mats may look nice when they are new and may reduce the chance of an accident, but they are a haven for mold and germs. If you must use a slip-mat, leave it hanging out in the sun to dry each day and then rinse the shower base.

Clean out the Plug

Pull out the hair that has matted itself into the shower drain, along with any soap scum and body oils. All this material will provide the perfect breeding ground for mold and will also block the drain. It is not pleasant, but it will smell bad if you leave it too long, and dangerous spores will grow on organic matter.

Regular Spraying with Vinegar

A simple task that you can perform is spraying down the shower glass, tiles, base, and taps with vinegar. You can leave this to soak in, then rinse it off a few hours later. Vinegar will loosen limescale, which acts as an anchor point for mold to cling to.

Graham Walsh

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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