Mold in the bathroom is a common problem—it’s a high humidity area that is constantly facing a barrage of water, bacteria and other fun stuff. This question comes from Karen M from Connecticut:
I can’t get my bathmats that go inside the tub to stop molding. Even when I buy a new one, even antimicrobial, it starts in a matter of weeks. Help!
Hi there! I can see in your (unedited) message that you’re already very good about peeling the mat off the bottom of the tub and letting it stand to dry after every use—good work! Leaving it in place, even only sometimes, serves as an invitation for mildew, and can damage the finish of the tub.
However, if you’re doing everything right, and you’re still getting mildew, let’s go a few steps further. First of all, letting the mat dry hanging over the tub still keeps it in a zone of moisture. I’ve seen clients have great luck with a dedicated towel bar just for this mat. Mounted high up on the wall of the tub gets it into an airier part of the bathroom. You can also drape it right over the shower curtain bar or shower door.
It’s also critical to make sure your bathroom is as well ventilated as it can be. This is a good practice for bathrooms in general. Run the exhaust fan the whole time you’re showering or bathing, and then for an additional hour afterward. Even better, if your bathroom has a window, be sure to open it whenever you can. Just a crack for a couple of hours in the winter will do wonders. Go ahead and throw it open wide in the spring and fall. In the summer, if you live in a hot, humid place, running the air conditioner instead of keeping windows open can help cut down on indoor moisture as well.
Finally, I would give your mat a good soak in vinegar and water at least once every couple months, with a good rinse afterward (and hang to dry). This will help stay on top of any mildew or soap scum build-up, in turn preventing moldy bath mats.
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