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It’s no secret that bathrooms have the type of conditions that make it easy for mold to grow. Poor ventilation, warm temperatures, and water sources (that toilet! steamy showers! dripping faucets!) can combine to create a high-humidity environment where mold can thrive.
A type of fungus, mold isn’t just unattractive when its black spots pop up in a bathroom — it can be a health risk too. It produces spores that at high levels can cause allergic reactions and symptoms, including a stuffy nose, congestion, itchy, red eyes, and throat irritation. For people whose allergic reactions are also tied to asthma, mold can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Now let me say I do appreciate fungi in all of their biological glory outside my home — there are millions of fungi species and frankly mold spores are all around us and we likely inhale them with every breath we take. Usually a few, if you are healthy, are not a problem. (We are not talking about toxic black mold here, which can be dangerous.)
However, having two family members with asthma, I’ve been fighting the good fight against mold and mildew (mildew is often used as a more generic term, and can refer to mold that has a flat growth pattern) in our one and only, poorly ventilated bathroom, for ages. Given that it’s a 100-year-old home, it never really had the technology or setup to help keep moisture down, and steam radiators made the problem worse.
I’ve replaced an underpowered bathroom fan (twice! still useless), routinely cleaned walls and ceilings with bleach products like Tilex, and repainted the walls and ceiling (also more than once) with special anti-fungal paint that you can buy at Home Depot or just about any hardware store. All these steps helped, but none were a magical cure.
The process was exhausting. I figured I needed to change it up, because frankly I never wanted to clean my ceiling again.