whirlligig

Bathroom cleaning tips - what works for you?

Lauren
5 years ago
last modified: 4 years ago

We only have one small bathroom in our 1930's house. Its used once or twice daily for showers and has horrible issues with condensation despite there being an extractor fan and open window. This means it never really feels like it dries out and encourages mould on the grout and silicon seals around the bath. Combined with the hard water it feels impossible to keep it looking clean and attractive! This is despite regularly using white vinegar spray and always squeegeeing the surfaces after showering. So how does everyone else manage? Do you have any daily/weekly routines or tips for keeping things spick and span? I'm currently considering installing a more powerful bathroom radiator rather than the current heated towel radiator to try and help dry the space out better. I'm not sure how much difference it'll really make though.

Comments (26)

  • A B
    5 years ago

    In one of our bathrooms (where we don't have an extractor fan) i have to wipe everywhere dry with a towel after we've all been in in the mornings, keep the window open most of the time when we're around and remove damp towels afterwards. Seems to be helping. We also used the anti mould grout and paint when we replaced it a couple of years ago. We've got a bit of that red mould back, but no black mould yet- I tend to look for it obsessively most days!

  • louisecampbell09
    5 years ago
    hi Lauren, we have a bone dry house (if you sneeze bits of plaster crumble away) and we also have a towel heater in the bathroom that we can't turn off..(it's even red hot in the summer) but we still get black mould on the grout and silicone! I use 'HG mould spray' it's really powerful (although very stinky)
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  • Lauren
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    Hi Louise and Jen, thanks for your ideas! We re-did the whole bathroom with anti mould paint a while ago which has really helped but obviously not with the tiled surfaces.

    I actually used the HG grout cleaner a few months ago. It worked really well but the mould came back within a couple of weeks.

    Maybe if I give it another round of the grout cleaner then use a spray sealer that might give it more longevity?

    Will try drying the towels on the banister and see if that helps us.

    I know a mixture of bleach and Bi-carb made into a paste works really well on getting rid of black/pink mould on the the silicone but obviously it only lasts so long before coming back.
  • minnie101
    5 years ago

    Hi Lauren. What sort of towel rail do you have as keeping a low constant temperature is good for condensation? Could you set it to stay on? Is the extractor good enough and how long does it run as I think it should run for at least 20 minutes in a "good" bathroom. Maybe you could get one on a timer so it stays on for an hour in the morning and make sure the bathroom door is closed so moisture can't get into the rest of the house. I agree with Jen re wiping excess water off the surfaces and in theory you shouldn't dry clothes indoors. I do but with a window that's always open as you can't get through it but that may not work for all! You could also try those salts that extract the moisture to see how they work for a while.

  • louisecampbell09
    5 years ago
    I've just asked my friend who is a housekeeper in a large house and she said mould appears because we don't clean our bathrooms often enough. Well that's me told!! Perhaps it's a pitfall of the modern day...now where's my pinny and headscarf
  • louisecampbell09
    5 years ago
    how about trying an ecozone dehumidifier...
  • Lauren
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Haha Louise - your comment really made me chuckle! Unfortunately both me and my partner work full time and doing a deep clean in the bathroom every week is extremely unlikely to happen. Perhaps we just need a housekeeper!

    Minnie - at the moment we've got this towel radiator (911BTU):

    http://www.screwfix.com/p/kudox-timeless-designer-towel-radiator-chrome-1100-x-500mm-267w-911btu/67872?_requestid=40337

    It doesn't have a thermostatic valve so its on whenever the heating is on, but during the summer months it doesn't come on at all. I suppose I could turn off all the other radiators in the house off to keep it on. We have a combi boiler - I don't know if theres a better way to force it to stay on?

    This is the one i'm looking at replacing it with (1699BTU):

    http://www.screwfix.com/p/bathroom-radiator-chrome-952-x-659mm-1699btu/61343

    In theory the one we have already should be fine for the small room but I imagine the upgrade would help. Tiling the bathroom floor is on the to do list next month so it makes sense to get the rad replaced before then.

    The extractor fan is 2 years old and rated for 75m3/hr which for the small space is supposed to be fine. It does run for an extra 20 minutes after each use but I'll look into whether I can have it running for longer which would be really helpful.

  • minnie101
    5 years ago

    I think a lot of the towel radiators can be fitted with an electric element so it can run independently of the central heating. It may be worth looking at those? Silly thing to say for a bathroom but tiles aren't always the best choice for condensation. I don't know if it does actually work but I'd imagine a warmer vinyl would work much better. I don't know if that's an option at all. I would try drying it off, removing towels, the crystals etc first to see what difference it makes. Is the window singled glazed and does it have a blind or anything?

  • Daisy England
    5 years ago
    Don't dry the towels on the bannister if it's wood. It'll mark it. Do you have an airing cupboard? This is where I air mine off and I had a rail inserted in there so there's something to drape the towels over.

    We swapped the tiles in our shower cubicle only last week and had Bushboard Nuance fitted. It's a sheet material that's moisture resistant but that's not to say we don't use a squeegy and then an old towel after paying particular attention to the edges and corners because we do. It looks great and of course we will have no grout to clean. Thank goodness.

    Before we had that fitted we had tiles in there and the shower cubicle was subject to heavy use. I used to pour bleach down the tiles, open the window and scrub them with an old toothbrush. It did get rid of the black marks but eventually they did return after a few months. It was a nightmare. We did the same clean down process as we do now e.g. Squeegy and towel to dry it. We found that the edges on the tiles where it met the shower tray were a nightmare to keep clean. I even used to squeeze fresh lemons to get the juice and soak cotton wool balls in it and then place them around the edge. Lemon juice is very good for this but don't spill it over other items as it'll mark them.
  • Gary
    5 years ago
    Get an electrical dehumidifier and air purifier... One with a timer function, put it in the general vicinity of the bathroom and set it running for a couple of hours after showering... That will massively reduce humidity and improve air quality.
  • minnie101
    5 years ago

    Wow, that's quite a transformation, it looks so different! I love the shower curtain. If you were planning on changing the rad anyway then it may definitely be worth investigating

  • leviathin
    5 years ago

    When you redo the floor you could think about underfloor heating as this would be an alternative to changing the heating towel rail and works well with a tiled floor.

  • M F
    5 years ago
    I would certainly try an electric dehumidifier. Friends had great success in the mould battle after using one.
  • Lauren
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    We used an electric dehumidifier for a while when we first moved in as all the services had been disconnected so it wasn't heated for a long time. It worked well but I don't really see it as a long term solution. I can't plug it in in the bathroom and there's not enough space on the landing to leave it running.

    I hadn't thought of underfloor heating as leviathin suggests so I'll look into the feasibility and cost of that. Its such a small space (about 2m x 1.8m) I'm not sure that underfloor heating would be enough? Does anyone have any experience with it or recommendations?

  • M F
    5 years ago
    I don't think you would have to keep the dehumidifier in the bathroom. I have visited a house where there was some sort of extractor/air exchange thingy installed on landing ceiling. The owner switched this gadget on after showering and the said the bathroom dried quickly. It vented into the loft space but I don't know if it went outside as well. I don't know the name but I'm sure ventilation sites could advise. Also have you checked your external walls. Just remembered we had mould in a bathroom wall cabinet. It came from an old chimney situated over the bathroom. The bricks had become porous over time and after some very wet weather, they never dried out. We had it removed and the problem was solved
  • Lynne Wright
    5 years ago
    hi Lauren I have a downstairs shower room with an extractor that doesn't work, however I swear by astonish mould and mildew remover, cheap and effective x
  • Daisy England
    5 years ago
    I have electric underfloor heating in my ensuite and my main bathroom. As we rarely use the bathroom we don't keep it switched on in there as we also have a chrome towel rail which offers warmth. However in the ensuite it's timed to come on around 6am to 8am and then 4pm to 10pm. It's the Warmup brand. It's great. I could not imagine in the winter standing on cold floor tiles. In fact I've lost hubby on several occasions when he has come in from work because he just sits on the loo warming his cold feet up (he does a lot of outside work).
    I wouldn't say it is expensive to use. I switch it off in the summer.

    My son has it in his kitchen. This was a decision made from when he lived with us and how effective it was in the bathrooms. His is not Warmup. He opted for a different brand (can't recall which) as it offered cheaper running costs.

    Hope this helps.
  • Jill & Dave Lee
    5 years ago

    Hi Lauren. I had the same problem with condensation and then mould on the tile grout in the bathroom. Trickle ventilation would help but my friend suggested Dettol Mould & Mildew remover. I don't usually recommend products but this worked like a miracle for me and I use it regularly. If it's an electric towel radiator it must be horrendously expensive to run. I put a large towel radiator in my own bathroom, nothing flash, but the heat output was way better and really helped. Hope this is of help.

  • Natalie Vinton
    5 years ago

    My mother-in-law has a small karcher that works wonders. Just whizz it over the tiles after a shower and they're dry in no time. I considering buying one for our new house when we move.

  • Daisy England
    5 years ago
    As said you could invest in a small Karcher. There are other brands too and cheaper. I think one of them is Belray. I use a Karcher for my home windows. Suction is great. I have a friend who just uses it for his shower. If my car has been standing and not used for a few days I use it on the inside windows if they are damp.

    Therefore you have the best of both worlds. A window cleaner and a water sucker. It's sold with the suction gadget and a spray bottle that fits on the end of a small mop. You also get a small bottle of solution to add to the bottle that you dilute. Refills available on Amazon.
  • PRO
    Feature Radiators
    5 years ago

    From a radiator expert's viewpoint, the key is ensuring you heat the room adequately and for bathrooms we keep them warmer generally due to lack of clothes! If you call us on 01274 515734 with your room measurements and your towel radiator measurements and we can advise if the towel rail you have currently is suitable. You don't want to buy a new radiator if there is no need!

    Going for a "dual fuel" radiator is also a good suggestion as these come with a summer heating element for use when the central heating is turned off. We offer these on all our ladder style towel radiators.

    Keeping the bathroom warm will help with condensation but it can't eliminate it. The steam condenses on a cold surface, so good insulation and keeping the water level to a minimum is very important. So add cavity wall, double glazing, if possible and encourage the steam to escape with open windows and good extractor fans. However from personal experience, this is often still not enough and a squigee and an old towel for drying those prone areas before the mould develops is your best bet. Although it is a pain to dry the shower after use, it is much easier than trying to remove mould later on.

    Good luck! I can sympathise!

    Regards

    A rubbish housekeeper :)

  • teenytinyhouse
    5 years ago

    Sounds like you need a new extractor fan, something more powerful, and one that runs for longer than yours does after the light has been turned off.

    In the short term, I found Dettol mould and mildew spray to be scarily good. Don't get it on your clothes, unless you want a nice bleached spray effect pattern. But: it did an amazing job!

    We had this problem in my old house, and we found the biggest culprit was the extension the bathroom was in, which wasn't insulated. Is yours in an extension? Condensation forms when the walls are colder than the air in the room.

    It's not the cheapest option, and best left to when you're planning a new bathroom, really, but if the roof, walls and/or floor are inadequately insulated you would do well to rip it back to brick and rafters and insulate, then replaster and install your new bathroom. We needed a new bathroom, did exactly that (plus a new and more powerful extractor), and didn't have any problems with mould for the last year in the house.

  • Lauren
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Thanks for taking the time to explain all that teenytinyhouse - really helpful!

    I think a more powerful extraction would indeed help - I'll have to look into something more powerful than the 75m3/hr one we have at present.

    It's not an extension but it does have two external walls, which since it's 1930's means its solid brick, rather than cavity filled. I'm planning to use insulation between the joists in the floor when we do the tiling. Which is what we've done throughout the rest of the 1st floor and it does keep the house much warmer.

    The loft above is only thinly insulated and topping that up to modern standards is also on the list of things to do this spring (unfortunately its a long list!).

  • teenytinyhouse
    5 years ago

    Good luck! Sounds like you're well on the way! Might be worth getting a moisture activated extractor, while you're shopping for one. Should definitely help.

  • kikiamack
    5 years ago
    Aside from the condensation, you mentioned hard water residue. Have you considered a water softener? You can get models that fit into a 400mm kitchen cabinet, if you can sacrifice the storage space.
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