Dealing With Moldy Bath Mats | Q&A

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bath mat

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!

Melissa Says:

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.

Good luck!

We know that you have lots of questions about cleaning and we want to give you those answers! So, continue asking away by emailing us at askmelissa@cleanmyspace.com. We love hearing from you and your questions help a lot of people!

Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Actually, bleach doesn’t kill all types of mold.
    I suggest using Borax, Vinegar or stronger stuff such as Biocide & VitalOxide (can be found on Amazon).
    Don’t’ mess around if you think you have a huge mold problem though, as it can get out of hand pretty quickly.

  2. I LOVE using baking soda & white vinegar together for washing items in the washing machine….including a bath mat with that horrible “slime,” mold & mildew. I put the item(s) in the washer, then put 2 Tablespoons of baking soda directly on the items, then 1/4 cup white vinegar poured on top of the baking soda, then 1/2 the amount of laundry detergent u usually use. I put that right on top of the fizzing baking soda & vinegar, on the item (not in the detergent dispenser.) Start machine immediately. (If u don’t start the machine as soon as u combine baking soda & vinegar, the fizz eventually stops. The fizz produced by combining vinegar (an acid) & baking soda ( a “base,” which has an “alkaline pH”) will eventually stop fizzing and the fizz action is what does the work.! This method also works WONDERS to pull pet fur out of cloth items!!!!! : Your clothes plus blankets & stuff pets lay on…. anything machine washable. I ALWAYS use a lint/pet hair sticky roller on items heavily covered with fur before putting in washing machine. A top load machine that “agitates,” works BETTER than a front load for the baking soda/vinegar magic to work. But will work in your front load also. If something is REALLY covered with embedded pet hair, I take it to a laundromat to use their top load machine. U might have to wipe out excess hair left in the machine. (Use one of Melissa’s micro fiber cloths!) For a super hairy item, I will repeat the process & wash twice. As Melissa teaches: always wash MORE than just ONE item!! More clothes rub against each other, getting stuff cleaner! Put an old towel in with it if u only have one or two hairy items you need to wash. (Like when you find your cat laying on your clean clothes because u forgot & left them out where ur cat has access!) They LOVE laying on their owner’s clothes! But we love them, so we put up with it, and realize the fault is really ours, because WE shouldn’t leave clothes out for our pets to use to cuddle up on! This method works for dog hair too….in fact ANY pet hair that’s stuck to our washables. (Rabbits, Ferrets…& lots others…!)

  3. I had same problem with my vinyl bathmat, until I decided to experiment. I threw it in the washer- using hot water, detergent (Tide worked best) and most important, bleach (about a 1/2 c). I figured if it got ruined-no great loss. Instead it came out looking like new!!

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