Kim asked: I have mold and/or mildew on the caulking in my shower. It’s not a big amount, but little circles in different places on the caulking where the shower doors connect. I have tried so many things. Bleach, vinegar, store cleaners, peroxide, etc. I’ve noticed that I can scratch it off some with my fingernails, but it also tears up the caulking when I do that. Any ideas?
When mold and mildew begin to grow on caulking, it’s a problem that is difficult to reverse. In most cases, it requires removal and replacement of the caulking. If the mold case is mild, you may be able to kill it off with a few simple steps. Here’s what to do.
You Will Need:
- Spray bottle
- Soft cloths
- Scrub brush
Steps to Remove the Mold:
- Fill a bucket with warm water.
- Add a small amount of soap and mix until suds begin to form.
- Wash all of the caulking with the soapy water and a soft cloth.
- Fill a spray bottle with undiluted bleach.
- Spray the caulking generously with the bleach. Be sure to remove any colored items, such as bath rugs, that could become discolored – don’t forget to wear clothes you don’t care about.
- Allow the bleach to sit on the caulking for 10-15 minutes. During this time, the bleach will kill the mold spores and begin to whiten the discoloration.
- Use a scrub brush to brush along the surface of the caulking, moving from side to side. Apply light pressure or it may damage the caulking.
- Rinse completely with water and/or scrub the surface again with the soapy water used earlier to remove any bleach residue.
- Dry the caulking with a soft towel.
- Repeat if necessary.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Wear old clothing and protective gloves when working with bleach. It’s a harsh chemical that will quickly discolor fabrics and irritate exposed skin.
- To keep mold away, spray the surface with white vinegar each time they are exposed to moisture. This can be done on a daily or weekly basis. The acid in the vinegar will also ward off any new mold spores.
- If the removal method above does not remove the stains and mold, it may be growing from underneath the caulking. In these cases, the caulking will need to be removed and replaced. For instructions on doing this, see our guide How to Remove Caulking.
- If the mold is coming up from behind the caulking it is a sign that there is excess moisture present. While it is a temporary fix to replace the caulking, it is best to find the source of the mold and repair that.