Bleh gross, bleh bleh, gross, why is there this nasty mold in my shower or toilet that will not go away! Yes, while this does make me go blah, and is super gross, it is not a mold that you are seeing, rather it is a biofilm that with preventative measures can be controlled and possibly permanently stay at bay.
Biofilms are part of our everyday life and are in more places than you would think. Do you love going to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned and love that fresh feeling that you have when leaving as you run your tongue over your teeth? You may not know it, but one of the things that your dentist does when cleaning your teeth, is removes the biofilm. In addition, biofilms can be found in our intestines and can play both good and bad roles on our health.
Simply explained biofilms can be good or bad, and are dense colonies or “cities” of bacteria that produce extracellular material that binds a community of different microorganisms together. These communities then attach to both living surfaces (your mouth) and inanimate surfaces (your shower). The bacteria and microorganisms then communicate to each other and cooperate in order to maximize survival. I often get in trouble with my fellow male workers for comparing mold and biofilms to men in war, they strategize to win! If that is not bad enough, the “cities” have a simply put, “protective shield or glue” around them which means …they are impossible to clean.
So what is the key to stopping or minimizing this nasty invader from making your toilets or shower horrible to look at or even ever use? The key is it to clean and sanitize before you even see it. While cleaning your bathrooms is something I am sure you do not simply love doing on a regular basis, it is something that should at least we done weekly even if you do not see any built up. The majority of the time it is not until the biofilm is bad that we start complaining about it when the truth is, it was most likely already forming before even noticed. This is why regular cleaning is so important so that we do not let it even begin to grow. Once the growth has started, remember it has that “protective shield” that will make it twice as hard to clean.
So let’s say you are late in the game and you already have that gross ring around your toilet that is driving you crazy because you cannot get rid of it. You will find that dumping cleaners on it will not only not work, but it will add a ton of VOCs to your air. The first step is going to be agitating or breaking up the film. Fun, nope, but the only way that you are going to begin to remove it. Trust me when I say in my own house I have spent a small fortune on pumice stones and I have every chemical and antimicrobial at my disposal. Why do I not use them you may ask, well, I I know that they will not work until the good old pumice is used. Once you have agitated the surface only then should you try and actually clean it with any type of mild deterget, or cleaner of your choice. As a side note, the less VOC’s you introduce the better, use natural cleaners when possible! If you want to go super far in cleaning, you will have to remember that many showers have porous tile surfaces with tiny crevices and it is then recommended that you “fog” or “spray” the cleaner into the areas. While I find that a tad overboard when cleaning, I have known homeowners to hire remediation companies to simply “clean their shower”. In those cases, fogging may be easier!
In closing remember that mold and biofilms are a part of our everyday life and an essential part of our living environment. Gross, yes, bleh bleh bleh when in your shower, definitely, but hopefully helping you understand the nature of them, will assist you in not only cleaning but preventing them as well. If all else fails and you still have questions or need help, ask The Mold Girl at 843-765-2812.