Do you want to learn how to prevent mold in a bathroom even if you don't have an exhaust fan?
Mold can grow on almost any surface, but bathrooms are especially susceptible to mold because of the wet and damp conditions.
In this guide, I will go over...
- Opening a bathroom window or using a dehumidifer
- Regularly clean your grout and caulking
- Paint the walls with a higher gloss paint
Let's get started with this guide!
How To Prevent Mold In Bathrooms Without Exhaust Fans?
As a home inspector, I have seen numerous bathrooms that had mold. Mold that is on the tile grout, caulking, or even on the drywall. If left in the environment, mold can lead to numerous health problems such as allergic reactions.
Obviously, the most effective way to remove moisture in a bathroom is through an exhaust fan. But if you don't have a bathroom fan for whatever reason, there are a few things you can do to help prevent mold growth such as...
#1. Open A Window
Probably the easiest way to prevent mold growth without a bathroom fan is to open your window.
If you have a bathroom window, all you have to do is open the window for 20-40 minutes after each shower or bath. In fact, this was the main method to ventilate bathrooms before the widespread use of mechanical exhaust fans. Of course, the downside to opening a window is that you interfere with your HVAC system if it is in cooling or heating mode.
You may also be bringing in very cold or hot air from the outside. But you can minimize cold or hot air infiltration by keeping the bathroom door closed when the window is open.
Read Also: What To Do When Your Bath Fan Stops Working?
#2. Use A Dehumidifier
If you don't have a window (or don't want to open it), you can also keep a small or large dehumidifier in your bathroom to help reduce excess moisture.
You can turn it on manually after each shower or bath, or you can let its automatic humidity sensor turn on by itself. With smaller dehumidifiers, you will likely have to empty out the water tank on a frequent basis, but with larger units, you can even have tubing go directly into the bathtub for automatic draining.
To help prevent mold growth, you will want to keep the humidity setting on the dehumidifier between 30 to 50%. And when the dehumidifier reaches 50% humidity, it will automatically turn off.
#3. Seal The Grout
The most common place for mold to grow on a bathroom is on the tile grout. This is the sandy mortar in between the ceramic tile on your shower surround.
The easiest way to help prevent mold growth on your grout is to have it properly sealed. Sealing is the last step of installing tile, and some homeowners neglect this last step. Sealing the grout gives it a smooth finish, and it helps repel moisture which it turn prevents mold growth.
If your grout has never been sealed, or if it needs to be sealed again (they don't last forever), it is an easy step to prevent mold growing on it.
In addition to sealing, it is a good idea to clean the grout with a simple cleaner (such as dish soap) and a sponge while taking a shower. Even if the grout is perfect sealed, if dust and debris builds up on the grout, mold may still grow. This is because mold can grow in dust and other organic material because it is a food source for mold.
If debris builds up a thin layer on the grout, mold may still take root. But with a well-sealed grout, dirt is less likely to stick to the grout in the first place.
#4. Use High Quality Caulking
The bathroom tub caulking is another area where mold frequently grows. The most common caulk used in bathrooms is either made from silicone or latex.
Caulking is used on the corners of the bathroom tub, these corner gaps are too large to use grout, and you also want a flexible material that has some give. This is because the bathroom 'breathes' and the walls slightly contract and expand throughout the day. Silicone and latex is much more flexible than sandy tile grout.
Just like tile grout, you want to keep caulking nice and clean to prevent a thin layer of debris which can be a food source for mold. But if your caulking is very old, or appears to be susceptible to mold, it may be a good idea to replace the old caulk with new caulking.
I always recommend using silicone caulking because it is a great caulk for bathrooms. In addition, many silicone caulkings have anti-fungal chemicals that will help prevent mold growth. Look for silicone caulking that specifically states something like 'formulated to resist mold and mildew'.
#5. Use Semi-Gloss Paint
If you noticed mold growth on your walls, it may be a good idea to repaint your bathroom.
And it is a good idea to use a higher gloss paint such as semi-gloss paint. Semi-gloss paint will produce a harder and slicker surface that is more resistant to debris buildup and staining.
Flat paint (which most builders use on bathrooms) is a cheaper type of paint that doesn't have the sheen or slick surface that gloss paints have. Flat paint is the most susceptible to mold growth.
How Do You Inspect Bathrooms For Mold?
#1. Use A Flashlight
Even with the bathroom light on, it's a good idea to use a flashlight so you can get a better view of the nooks and corners of a bathroom.
#2. Look For Dark Colored Areas
Most mold growth has a black or dark appearance. Mold frequently also has an organic look with round circles. Comparatively, dust usually has a brown appearance and doesn't have an organic appearance.
#3. Grout & Caulking & Walls
The most frequent areas of bathrooms to have mold is the tile grout and caulking. Carefully inspect these areas and look for black colored sections. It's a good idea to look at the wall corners for any dark areas as well.
If you want to prevent mold growth in a bathroom without an exhaust fan, there are few basic things you can do.
Keeping your tile grout and caulking clean is a great way to prevent mold growth, but you also want to inspect the grout and caulk because you may need to replace it. Also, sealing the grout with a tile sealer will create a moisture resistant grout that will inhibit mold growth.
And if you have a bathroom window, it's a good idea to crack it open after a shower to remove all of that moisture. You can also install a small dehumidifier in your bathroom to remove excessive moisture.