1. Patients launch $1.27 million crowdfunding campaign for ME/CFS gut microbiome study.
    Check out the website, Facebook and Twitter. Join in donate and spread the word!
Ergonomics and ME/CFS: Have You Hurt Yourself Without Knowing It?
Having a chronic illness like ME/CFS can make it hard to avoid problems that come from bad ergonomics. Jody Smith has learned some lessons the hard way ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

How to tackle mildew on bath seal?

Discussion in 'Addressing Biotoxin, Chemical & Food Sensitivities' started by Sasha, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

    Messages:
    8,062
    Likes:
    6,861
    UK
    As far as I'm aware I don't have issues with sensitives to mould but for years there has been bad mildew in the bath sealant in my flat - not just a few spots, it's very black. I'm sick of looking at it and want to fix it. I'm wondering if there are any issues I should be aware of, either healthwise or in terms of an effective solution to getting rid of the mildew.

    I've read several DIY threads on this topic on various forums and many say that you can't clean the mildew off the sealant because it has grown through it (I've tried a specialist mildew remover and it had no effect at all). Some say you have to strip the sealant off and resign yourself to renewing it every year or so. Some say you can lay plastic strips on top of it but others say the mildew is still growing underneath.

    I don't have the energy to fix the problem myself so would get a plumber in.

    Any views on what's both an effective solution and a healthy one?
  2. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

    Messages:
    665
    Likes:
    701
    I don't have advice to give as far as fixing this but to prevent it from building up more mix 25 drops of Tea Tree oil in 2 cups of water in a spray bottle and spritz your tiles after you shower. This prevents any bacteria or mold from taking hold. I've been doing this for years and it keeps my bathroom fresh and mold free.
    taniaaust1 and mon âme like this.
  3. snowathlete

    snowathlete

    Messages:
    2,144
    Likes:
    2,483
    UK
    Replace it, but get a handyman to do it rather than a plumber as that will likely be cheaper.
    I know you can buy some sealants that have anti fungals in them, I don't know how good they are but might be worth looking into.
    August59 likes this.
  4. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

    Messages:
    8,062
    Likes:
    6,861
    UK
    That's interesting - some people suggest wiping the sealant free of moisture after each shower but using an antifungal spray is an interesting idea.
  5. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

    Messages:
    8,062
    Likes:
    6,861
    UK
    Thanks, snow - I'm getting a plumber in for some other stuff so thought I'd just not have the aggro of finding another tradesman but I'll get a quote.

    On the DIY forums people have tried the antifungal sealants but they don't seem to work. It seems to be one of those areas where there are a lot of claims for stuff that works and it doesn't. :p
  6. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

    Messages:
    2,494
    Likes:
    2,872
    Scotland
    Sealant is actually very easy to replace. It comes in a big "gun-type" bottle with a nozzle to apply it.

    The "secret" of getting it even and properly sealed to the bath

    is to wet your thumb with a bit of slightly diluted dish-washing liquid (which stops the sealant sticking to you)

    and to very, very gently, slowly and lightly run your thumb over the surface to create the proper sort of seal.

    Sodium bicarbonate is a great cleaner and will kill smells and bacteria. It's not bad for mildew either, but as has been said, if mildew is already in the sealant, you need to get rid of it.
    An antifungal one might be a good idea - but get somebody else to do it if you have any sensitivity issues, or reconsider whether issues with antifungal chemicals might preclude this.
    Sasha likes this.
  7. snowathlete

    snowathlete

    Messages:
    2,144
    Likes:
    2,483
    UK
  8. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

    Messages:
    8,062
    Likes:
    6,861
    UK
    Thanks, snow - that's one of the ones I had a look at but I'm not sure what to make about people's comments that the mildew is still growing underneath. I'm not sure how much of a health risk mildew is (to someone who doesn't apparently have a sensitivity to it). My mother has had one of these sealant strips on her bath for probably 20 years now and it's still squeaky clean (on the surface, at any rate!).

    I read on another DIY thread just now that if you apply one of these mildew sprays to the seal by soaking toilet paper in it and leaving it overnight it will clear it so I'm experimenting with that.

    Such a human universal, this, that you'd think there'd be a well-established solution!
  9. Min

    Min Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,183
    Likes:
    1,178
    UK
    The only reliable way to remove the mould is to replace the sealant, although I have had good results with leaving cotton wool pads soaked in bleach on the mould overnight (this does not remove the staining the mould leaves behind).

    If you are replacing the sealant, fill the bath with water first so there's no cracking of sealant from the weight of the water if the bath is not filled until afterwards.
    August59 and Sasha like this.
  10. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

    Messages:
    4,036
    Likes:
    882
    Concord, NH
    I have read on Dr Mercola that baking soda and vinegar are good to clean up mold with.

    GG
    Sasha likes this.
  11. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

    Messages:
    8,062
    Likes:
    6,861
    UK
    I've had the loo paper soaked in mildew cleaner on there for a couple of hours now and some did actually come off onto the end of a toothbrush (though there's so much of it that it didn't make any difference in what was left behind!). I wonder what it will look like in a few hours. :alien:
    Min likes this.
  12. Sean

    Sean Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,214
    Likes:
    1,961
    Hydrogen peroxide is often good at that sort of stuff. Has the advantage of being a liquid, so it gets into fine recesses that a brush or sponge can't.

    Or just replace it. But it is one of those jobs you need to do right.
    Sasha likes this.
  13. In Vitro Infidelium

    In Vitro Infidelium Guest

    Messages:
    646
    Likes:
    280
    Whatever the manafacters claim (25 year lifetime etc) in most cases (i.e where there's less than perfect air circulation) mould will be problem and the sealant will need replacing every few years.

    Although, for those whose hands work OK and can concentrate for the time the job takes (needs to be a single operation to avoid flaws) the solvents used in the sealants are foul, so anyone who finds smells/chemicals an issue - be forewarned if you are aiming to do this job yourself, or need to use the area being worked on for at least a couple of hours after the sealant has gone down. The problem is compounded by the fact that the most effective sealants are spirit, not water based, so to give a finish to to the 'bead' you need to use white spirit.

    The only effective mould removers are bleaches of one kind or another - Hydrogen peroxide is not too offensive, but again anyone with sensitivities can find scrubbing with bleach a bit of challenge - using a DIY face mask can help. Using preventers like Tea Tree Oil can keep the moulds at bay for a while, but there's a danger of selective breeding and you can end up with only the most resilient strains being active and resistent to any remover. Ensuring good ventilation (almost impossible) is the only way to limit mould growth in the long term.

    IVI
    Sasha likes this.
  14. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

    Messages:
    2,494
    Likes:
    2,872
    Scotland
    There are sensitivity issues with tea tree oil too. I'm horribly allergic to it and the smell makes me choke.

    We've got wet wall in the bathroom, rather than tiles. After showering, I (or myOH) use a flexible plastic doofer for flattening wallpaper to swipe all the condensation from the walls back into the bath. This really helps to keep airborne moisture down.
    Little Bluestem and Sasha like this.
  15. Cornichon

    Cornichon

    Messages:
    18
    Likes:
    10
    Toronto, Ontario
    you never want to use bleach or ammonia as they are highly toxic. Hydrogen peroxide is your best bet but better to prevent it than have to clean it. For a chemical free caulk use only 100% aquarium grade silicone, as it is the only non-toxic caulking. Grout should be sealed with a non-toxic grout sealer to prevent mould in the grout as that seems impossible to clean once it's in there. http://mychemicalfreehouse.blogspot.ca/2013/02/a-non-toxic-bathroom.html
    taniaaust1, camas and Sasha like this.
  16. sianrecovery

    sianrecovery Senior Member

    Messages:
    706
    Likes:
    407
    Manchester UK
    I had a mold expert survey my flat, and he - I am sensitive to mold, and he knew that - told me to not use bleach to kill mold, because the spores are more toxic as they die. He suggested getting someone else to replace it. Failing that, to wash it down with detergent and let it dry, before covering it with a mold resistent paint. He said repeated applications of bleach do not completely kill the mold anyway, just make it more hardy.
    Not sure if that's good advice or not, but passing it on anyway.
    Sasha likes this.
  17. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,944
    Likes:
    4,920
    Sth Australia
    I got very sick one time from bleach due to trying to kill molds with it. Take care
    Little Bluestem and Sasha like this.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page