Photo: How to clean bathroom mold and mildew

Clean mold and mildew with baking soda and liquid castile soap.(Credit: Edgeplot via Flickr)

Mold and mildew are definitely cleaning challenges!

That yucky black stuff is a colony of moisture-loving mold spores. It grows on caulking (the squishy stuff that seals your tub to the wall), in grout lines (the hard material between tiles), on the shower curtain, or on tub and tile surfaces. And it can affect air quality.

Three ways to tackle mold and mildew on bathroom surfaces

1. Make a paste with baking soda and liquid castile soap (try the types infused with tea tree or lavender essential oils). Apply with a sponge or rag, let sit for 15 minutes for heavy duty jobs, then rinse and wipe clean.

2. A spray bottle of undiluted white vinegar will also do the trick, but be careful. Vinegar is a strong acid that can etch tile or grout. Use it only on the caulking and rinse off well — it's always best to do a test patch.

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3. Liquid oxygen bleach is another option. It's basically diluted hydrogen peroxide, found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store. Apply it with a spray bottle or follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Worst case scenario is if the mold has worked its way behind the caulking. In this case, you may have to re-caulk, and if you do, choose non-toxic, 100 per cent silicone.

Of course, mold and mildew prevention is the key. Get a handle on the humidity of your bathroom. Make sure the fan is rated to fit the size of your bathroom and that it's working properly.

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