Areas like showers, sinks, and baths require a waterproof sealant around the edges of the units to protect water from reaching walls and flooring structures. You might notice that your bathroom remodeling team uses a sealant around the areas where your shower meets the walls or other fixtures. This sealant is called silicone, and helps keep the shower watertight.
Over time, you might see that your silicone has flecks of mold in it. This might seem odd in a new bathroom, but it is in fact an extremely common occurrence. This guide will help you learn how to identify and remove mold from your shower silicone. Cleaning silicone will help preserve the waterproof integrity of your shower all year long.
What Is Silicone?
Silicone sealant is a type of glue, or adhesive, that helps fix items in place. It also has waterproofing properties that make it ideal for use in a bathroom or kitchen. You might hear sealant referred to as one of the following terms:
If you hear any of these terms and you are getting your bathroom remodeled, this is the silicone that we are talking about in this article.
How Is Silicone Applied To My Bathroom Remodel?
Silicone comes in a squeezable tube, which is often suitable for use within a sealant gun or syringe to better direct its application. It looks like a liquid or gel when it first comes out of the tube, but it hardens into a rubber texture over time, which makes it perfect for repelling water. Before cleaning silicone, it first needs to harden in dry conditions. This means when you do get your bathroom remodeled, you might have to wait 24 hours or so before using the shower
How Is Silicone Made?
Silicone sealant is made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and silicon. Silicon itself becomes silicone through a complex heating process. The silicone is then combined with other ingredients and used in the sealant. Silicon is known for its elasticity and flexibility, which makes it the perfect substance for application in between thin joints like shower tiles.
What Else Is Silicone Sealant Used For?
Silicone sealant is used for a wide range of waterproofing applications, including:
What Is Mold?
Mold is a fungus composed of small groups of common microorganisms. They can be found everywhere, but thrive in damp conditions as a water supply helps them produce spores and breed. They come in a variety of different colors like orange, green, black, white and even purple. Mold is extremely common outdoors and fulfills a wide range of functions like breaking down dead plant matter.
Is Mold Bad For You?
We are exposed to mold every day as mold reproduces through tiny spores. Most of the time outdoors, mold is harmless and natural. Inside, where the mold spores remain in a confined space, this can be harmful to humans. Mold also has less competition in an indoor environment so might grow or spread faster than outdoors. Individuals who are allergic to mold are at risk with mold in the home, and for asthma sufferers, mold can trigger an asthma attack.
Individuals with pre-existing diseases like autoimmune diseases, cancer, lung diseases, or other allergies might be more at risk from mold. Infants, children, pets and the elderly may also be more susceptible. You may sneeze, cough, have a runny nose and have itchy or sore eyes if you are exposed to mold. You may also have a rash or other allergic reaction.
Mold is only dangerous if it builds up over long periods of time. If you take proactive action by cleaning silicone and your home regularly, mold should not pose a significant risk.
Where Else Does Mold Grow?
Mold grows everywhere where there is dead or decaying biological matter. That means in the home, it can be found on carpets, floors, bedding, and in the shower. Anywhere where humans or animals regularly sleep or live, mold can grow, under the right conditions.
What Is Black Mold?
Black mold is a type of fungus that creates a black, slimy substance. It thrives in damp or moist conditions and is most commonly found in the bathroom. In the outside world it is slow growing and does not compete well with other molds. In the home, there is less competition which makes it better adapted to life indoors. Black mold has been documented as causing illness in humans for a long time. However, research is ongoing into its long-term effects on humans. If treated, black mold poses no threats to human or animal life.
How Does Mold Get In My Shower Silicone?
Silicone and the structure of your shower units are designed to repel water and are non-porous. This means that items like soaps, shower gels and shampoos can sit on the surface unless they are washed off. This can lead to silicone becoming sticky with substances. When we have a shower, we wash off dead skin cells and other microorganisms which sit on the shower’s surface, especially on silicone.
If there are mold spores in your home, they can thrive in your shower silicone as they have access to a food source. They also benefit from humid conditions and water supply, which makes mold more likely to grow quickly. You might see mold grow in areas where items can pool, like shower corners, drains, or in gaps between tiling.
How To Clean Silicone On Your Shower Base
Fortunately cleaning silicone on your shower base is extremely easy to do if done correctly and regularly. You will need bleach, water, a measuring jug, a bucket or basin, a spray bottle, and rubber gloves.
Then, carry out the following simple steps:
You should do this every two weeks until the mold is gone, and every month afterwards to stop it reappearing in your shower.
How Do I Remove Mold From Silicone In Between Tiles?
Cleaning silicone from in between tiles in your shower can be a little more tricky, as spray will wash down your walls and not sit on the affected area. To remove mold from silicone in between tiles, you will need to create a paste that remains stuck to the affected area until you are ready to remove it.
To do this you will need bleach, a basin, baking soda, saran wrap, a paintbrush, and rubber gloves.
You will then need to:
Do this every two weeks until the mold is gone, and every month to ensure it does not reappear.
How Do I Remove Mold From Drains or Walls?
Mold is commonly found on drains as this is where most of your sticky substances, like shampoos, will collect. Wait until the shower is dry and then apply either the spray or the paste and leave it to stand for 30 minutes. Take the steps above to remove the mold and then reapply every two weeks until gone, and every month to ensure it does not reappear
Why Should I Care About Cleaning My Shower Silicone?
If untreated, mold can cause damage to humans and pets over time. If untreated, even non-toxic mold can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and lung conditions. Mold can also destroy sealant and the structural integrity of units over time, leading to expensive rebuilds and costly repairs to remove mold. If you treat mold regularly, you will not see any sickness or damage in your home. If your mold is getting worse, you may need to hire a professional to remove it.
What Are The Benefits Of Silicone In The Shower?
Silicone has several benefits other than its water-repellent properties:
Why Is Mold So Common In The Bathroom?
Mold thrives in a bathroom. This is because of the combination of water supply and heat, which causes funghi to thrive. Mold also thrives in an area with a lot of dust, as almost all of the dust is made up of human skill cells, a great source of food for mold.
How Can I Prevent Mold In My Bathroom?
After a shower, always turn on your extractor fan or open a window to allow the damp, hot air to leave the room. You should also dry any damp units like showers or sinks to eliminate water as much as possible. Regularly clean your bathroom to remove their food source and stop silicone or surfaces from becoming sticky. You should also identify and repair any areas where leaks might cause water to accumulate. Finally, you can use mold resistant paint to help prevent it from taking a hold in your bathroom.
What Is Grout
Grout is a mixture of cement, water and sand. It is commonly used to fill in between floor tiles, and might be used in shower units. When using grout in a shower unit or bathroom, you must use waterproof grout. Grout in its natural state is porous (absorbs water) and is therefore at risk of retaining water.
If you use the wrong type of grout, you are at risk of attracting mold and damp, and compromising the structural integrity of your shower. Mold or damp might also reach walls and flooring if your shower is not properly waterproof. If you use standard grouting in your shower, you will also need to use a silicone or other sealant to ensure it is waterproof. Epoxy grout is the type of grouting most commonly used in the shower. It is waterproof and durable, and does not expand as much as standard grouting.
Why Is Silicone Better Than Grout?
Silicone is better than grout because it can be used in corners. Grout can only be used in one ‘plane’ or direction, and doesn’t have the structural integrity for use in corners or angled spaces. Even epoxy grout is susceptible to expansion, and does not do well in damp environments where units might expand or contract slightly. By contract, silicone is extremely flexible.
Over time, epoxy grout might become semi-porous, leading to the risk of water being absorbed. Even if a resin is applied to make grouting watertight, this will need to be applied every few years in order to remain intact. Silicone will remain watertight even after a few years. When mold gets into grouting, use of bleach or mold removers may also stain the grouting or significantly compromise the structural integrity of your grout, leading it to need replacing.
How To Clean Mold Off Grout
If you get mold in your grouting, you should use the solutions outlined earlier in this article, but replace bleach with vinegar. Vinegar is less abrasive than bleach and will have less impact on the structural integrity of your grouting. You should never mix bleach and vinegar. This creates toxic chlorine gas, which is extremely dangerous to both humans and animals.
When you need to use an adhesive to waterproof your shower, silicone is always the preferred solution over grouting. However, even silicone is susceptible to mold. With a simple water and bleach solution, you can keep your shower silicone clean and free from mold all year round. If there is mold between your shower tiles, you should instead use baking soda to make a paste which will stick to your walls and carry out the required treatments.
Are you thinking about a professional bathroom remodel in your home? Contact us at EZ Bath for a free consultation about your bathroom remodeling today.