Bathroom molds reduce your family’s comfort and safety. Unfortunately, some houses, especially the old ones, don’t have exhaust fans to help keep moisture out. In such a case, it’s much easier for molds to form and accumulate.
Here are nine ways to prevent molds formation in your bathroom even without an exhaust fan:
- Promote natural ventilation.
- Place toiletries in dripping racks.
- Wash bathroom rugs, curtains, and towels regularly.
- Keep wet towels out of the bathroom.
- Use a dehumidifier.
- Use a squeegee every time after you shower.
- Waterproof tile grouts annually.
- Turn on bathroom lights.
- Repair bathroom leaks.
In the following sections, we’ll deep dive into how you can specifically carry out these steps to keep your bathroom mold-free even without an exhaust fan. I’ll also be dropping product suggestions and links, so if that sounds great for you, then keep reading.
1. Promote Natural Ventilation
Two main conditions make way for moldy bathrooms – heat and moisture.
Natural ventilation is key to preventing mold from taking hold in your bathroom. This is why modern houses have exhaust fans installed in bathrooms. In fact, code requires that a bathroom has either a window that opens or an exhaust fan to prevent moisture buildup.
If your house isn’t equipped with an exhaust fan, though, it’s not the end of the world. You can still prevent mold by making the most of natural ventilation. On the bright side, doing so does not consume electricity so that’s some additional savings right there!
While most old bathrooms don’t have fans, they likely have at least a small window by the shower area. Keep these windows open as much as possible. If you’re worried that tiny insects might get inside the bathroom through the opening, you can simply mount a fine-mesh screen.
If you live alone or whenever possible, open the bathroom door while you shower, too, as doing so further promotes natural ventilation. You can also leave it slightly open even when no one’s using the bathroom, so your bathroom is continuously ventilated.
2. Place Toiletries in Dripping Racks
Your soap, shampoo, and conditioner will definitely get wet while you bathe. This isn’t a problem as long as you place them in dripping racks, where they can quickly drain off water droplets and eventually hang dry.
Some shower areas are designed with indented upper walls to leave ample space for bathroom essentials. Unfortunately, these types of storage can quickly accumulate water droplets. You may even notice that your toiletries are still wet the next time you go for a shower.
These droplets eventually form tiny puddles and become a constant source of moisture. Since molds love to thrive in moist places, your toiletries rack may be the first place that mold accumulates. The worse news would be that it wouldn’t be the last.
A great solution would then be to purchase dripping racks. These racks usually have poked holes or spaces that are narrow enough to hold your essentials but wide enough not to store water for long periods.
It would still be a great idea to clean your rack once in a while, though, just to make sure you wipe out any mold that begins to form before it worsens.
3. Wash Bathroom Rugs, Curtains, and Towels Regularly
The bathroom is full of products that store moisture – rugs, curtains, and even our trusty towels. While these items make our bathroom look better and become more functional, they can also make them moldy.
Of course, it would be a terrible idea to lose the towel or maybe skip the shower curtain unless you’ve decided to switch to a glass enclosure. Rugs are also necessary to keep the bathroom dry and looking appealing.
What you need to do, though, is wash them regularly. These items get wet daily and are hence accumulating moisture just as much. It’s also possible that molds can start to take hold in your bathroom through these items.
Leaving your dirty and moist rugs and curtains allows molds to thrive and eventually spread into your floor tiles and even eventually crawl into your walls and ceilings. When this happens, it’s much harder to get things under control.
Washing them kills microscopic molds that are beginning to form, gets rid of accumulated moisture, and makes your bathroom so much cleaner. It’s, simply put, nipping it in the bud.
4. Keep Wet Towels Out of the Bathroom
You can’t possibly remove rugs and curtains when not using the bathroom, but you can easily keep your wet towels out.
When you’re done washing, the best course of action would be to hang your wet towels dry under the scorching heat. This may not be possible during the winter or if your building doesn’t allow hanging clothes outside. Still, it would be a good idea to find an ideal location within the house to air out your wet towel.
As mentioned in the previous section, wet towels are a rich source of moisture where molds can begin to accumulate. Taking them out (and instructing the rest of your household to do the same) would do your bathroom a huge favor.
If this isn’t possible, hang the towel properly at the very least. Make sure it’s entirely spread out through the holder. It would also be best to have a towel holder closer to the door to help moisture escape more quickly.
5. Use a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier can efficiently complement all the proactive steps in moisture reduction that we laid out earlier.
Note, though, that not all dehumidifiers are created equal. They differ in capacity, operability, energy efficiency, and automation, among many other things. Hence, it’s crucial to choose the dehumidifier that best suits your needs.
Assess Required Dehumidifier Capacity
Before purchasing a dehumidifier, be sure to check the product’s capacity. The descriptions also usually indicate their appropriate use to help you decide more easily.
The Trudin Humidifier (link to Amazon) has a 900-ml (30.43 oz) capacity dehumidifier if you’re looking into placing one in a small bathroom. The product also boasts a quiet design, emitting only up to 40 dB of sound while operating.
However, if you have a larger bathroom or live in highly humid areas, you may need a product with a higher capacity.
With a 2000-ml (67.63 oz) reservoir, the Lecdura Dehumidifier (link to Amazon) has a little more than twice the capacity of Trudin.
Decide Whether You Need the Auto-Drain Function
Some dehumidifiers are equipped with an auto-drain function so you wouldn’t have to drain the water out of its reservoir manually.
You can opt for this type if you’re usually out throughout most parts of the day. Other possible scenarios would be if you’re always too immersed with work and don’t have the time to drain the water by yourself once the water volume has reached the reservoir capacity.
The Fehom Dehumidifier (link to Amazon) offers an auto drain hose to spare you from the hassle of constantly drawing water out. It also features an auto-shutoff option, where the equipment turns off once it reaches the desired bathroom humidity.
In my opinion, this is the ideal longterm solution if an exhaust fan installation is out of the question. You could sit this on the bath counter near the sink, put the drain hose in the sink and just let it go. That’s the easiest setup. A better solution though would be to connect the drain hose to the sink drain or even divert the drain hose out the wall if the bath is on an exterior wall. I did something similar to this when I installed a dehumidifier in my garage and it works great.
6. Use a Squeegee Every Time After You Shower
Now you may think using a squeegee each time you shower is time-consuming. However, you would thank yourself for it when you realize you’ve kept a mold-free bathroom for such a long time.
Opting for glass shower enclosures over curtains spares you from the hassle of washing curtains regularly to make sure it remains clean and free from fungi. However, molds can form in the glass too.
As a quick solution, use a squeegee to remove water droplets from shower walls after washing. This drastically reduces the moisture content in the bathroom, leaving it too dry an environment for molds to form.
While it seems a bit taxing, using a squeegee is actually easier than it looks. When you get used to it, you can easily do it in three minutes or less. If you’re skeptical, watch this YouTube video:
Many squeegees aren’t that expensive, and you can choose from a wide selection of products readily available at Amazon.com.
As a matter of fact, the OXO Squeegee (link to Amazon) is a good-quality squeegee that sells at an affordable price. It’s both lightweight and slim, and it comes with a suction hook for easy storage as well.
As a bonus, your bathroom will also look as good as new with your clean and crystal-clear glass enclosure.
7. Waterproof Tile Grouts Annually
When you look at your tile grouts, they may seem like they’re all still intact even years after your last home renovation.
If you look closer, though, there may be tiny cracks where water seepage accumulates for extended amounts of time. Additionally, grouts are a mere mixture of sand and cement, so it’s unavoidable to have tiny pores in between the seemingly smooth filler.
If you leave them as-is for much longer, you may begin to notice molds starting to spread from the grout to the rest of the bathroom floor, walls, and ceiling.
This is why it’s crucial to regularly waterproof your tile grout. Adding a grout sealer prevents water from leaking into the microscopic crevices of the sand and cement mixture. This effectively prevents molds from thriving in these tiny spaces and eventually wreaking havoc in your entire bathroom.
Don’t fret, though, as sealing your tile grout is reasonably straightforward.
The Rainbow Liquid Chalk Specialists Grout Pen (link to Amazon) allows you to waterproof your bathroom grout all by yourself. At an affordable price, it doesn’t only bring back your grout’s original color, but also adds a sealing effect to keep water from penetrating the filler.
8. Turn On Bathroom Lights
Molds thrive in dark areas in the bathroom. If you find that your bathroom quickly gets moldy, also check if the moldy areas are the ones that aren’t well-lit.
You may want to leave the lights on for quite some time, even after you shower, if that’s the case.
Also remember to use LED lights to save on electricity. You can also opt to buy a timer that automatically switches the lights off after a few hours.
The GE Timer Switch (link to Amazon) is a push-button countdown timer switch. This digital timer has preset options ranging from five minutes to four hours. I used devices like this throughout my smart home. The automation just makes like simpler.
9. Repair Bathroom Leaks
No matter how you waterproof the grout that binds your tiles, if water is leaking somewhere in your bathroom, then it’s almost certain that you’ll soon see molds beginning to form.
Sometimes, leaks may be costly to repair. However, these leaks aren’t only a fungal problem. When left unattended for long periods, they can cause severe structural damage that may even cost you more.
Hence, repairing bathroom leaks the moment you notice them is often the best course of action.
Some leaks are only minor and are doable even with basic knowledge with tools.
However, more complex waterproofing and leakage concerns may require the help of professionals. Whatever way you decide to go, be mindful of the expenses, but never opt to leave them as-is and skip the much-needed repairs.
Molds thrive in moist environments. This means that the best thing you can do to maintain a mold-free bathroom is to keep it as dry as possible. The good news is there are plenty of ways to do so, even without an exhaust fan.
Making the most out of natural ventilation by opening the bathroom door and window dramatically reduces the likelihood of mold formation. Additionally, it’s important to clean the bathroom regularly, along with everyday shower items such as towels, curtains, and rugs.
Lastly, you could complement all these proactive efforts with a dehumidifier that suits your specific needs.
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As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.