Monday, November 18, 2013

Operation: mold removal

When I first moved into this rental in Aug '12, I asked the LL thru the realtor to install a bathroom vent, if not repair the one in the water closet in the main bath. The response was to open a window. @@  Penny wise, pound foolish in my book.

Fast forward and my "solution" has been to aim a large, box fan at the shower to help dry it out, and yes, during the Summer when I am off work, we do use the same fan in one of the windows of the bathroom. Not practical otherwise (when we are all out of the home, or it's cold weather).  I keep a very clean home, and pay to have it professionally cleaned once a month. Pictured above is what is starting to happen to the ceiling of the bathroom, and some of the wall areas. While not my actual bathroom, you get the idea-black dots of mold sprinkled here and there. Sigh. I suspect this was here before we moved in, as I had to "demold" the wall paper in the water closet, and noted that there is significant black mold behind the loose wall paper located behind the toilet in the water closet. Perhaps a leak in the past? I sprayed that too, hoping it would somehow help. The wall paper spots of mold cleaned off easily. I do recall the LL's handyman commenting that I didn't mention the wall of the bathroom near the tub. So now I am wondering if there was mold there.

Time to get ahead of this moldy ceiling before it gets worse. Several of us are allergic to mold, not to mention that I don't want to get dinged on my security deposit when we do move out.

 I chanced upon some WM brand "tilex"
 I turned to using my sponge mop, whose mop head I just replaced. It clearly stated on the packaging of the sponge head NOT to use either chlorine bleach or vinegar as both will deteriorate the mop head. Great. Now what to do?  I wrapped the new mop head twice with a thicker, store plastic grocery bag (thanks, Shoprite!), and tied it securely. I then took one of my "fancy rags" made out of 1/2 of an old dish towel, and using 2 thick rubber bands, secured that over the mop head. I was ready.  My technique was to first get the aforementioned box fan running as these fumes were toxic,and I wanted it to dry off ASAP. I simply sprayed some product onto the towel rag and ran the mop head over the mold spots.
Here is the actual ceiling, just outside of the walk in shower room. This was the worst area, and it cleaned up quite nicely. I'll have to keep an eye on this and reapply weekly, as needed to stay ahead of it. Funny thing is that we didn't have this problem last year. Yes, DD moved in, but she is like me-5 minute showers. One twin is good about short showers, the other not so much, but I stay on top of that, especially as expensive oil heats our domestic hot water.

1 comment:

Lili said...

Hi Carol,
we had a persistent mold problem in one of our bathrooms. It didn't matter if I zapped it with bleach, it was always back the next week. This bathroom had wallpaper. When we went to redo that bathroom, the paper was torn off and the wall underneath was covered in mold. Then we redid the tiling in the shower, and one of the walls also was covered in mold. It appears that water was seeping through the grout cracks and into the drywall behind. Once the tiling and drywall were replaced, the mold issue there went away.

It could be that you now have a mold issue where you can't even see it. And the mold spots would come back, even if you never showered in there again. There could be a plumbing leak, a leaky roof, dripping down a wall, condensation in crawl space or attic space, or fine cracks in the grout. And these circumstances could have just recently formed, explaining why this wasn't a problem before.

As a renter, you are entitled to a safe place to live. You could report this to your local health department. In the meantime, document everything you see and do, save receipts for special cleaners, take photos of the mold. The health department may send out an inspector. If the mold levels are deemed unsafe, your landlord will be required to make the fixes.

For us, I now try to stay on top of the mold in that bathroom. We get occasional spots on the ceiling (but only about once per month) and the grout always needs scrubbing to keep it mold-free, but this is nothing compared with what I dealt with before.

Good luck with this.