Mushrooms Growing in Bathroom-Causes & How to Get Rid
Finding mushrooms in your bathroom is an uncommon and unpleasant sight and makes one thing plainly obvious. Your bathroom is in a state that encourages their development because you know mushrooms are saprophytic in nature and should be growing outdoors.
This article will teach you what causes them to grow in the bathroom, the risk they might pose, how to clean and get rid of them, and lastly preventive methods to keep them away.
What Causes Mushrooms to Grow in the Bathroom?
Because mushrooms are fungi, they grow in the same conditions as mold and other fungi.
Mushrooms propagate through spores which are microscopic and thus are easily blown by small gusts of wind. While walking outdoors, these spores can cling to your hair, body or clothing where you later carry them back home and unknowingly disperse them in the house.
To sprout and grow, Mushrooms require several conditions, which are:
- High humidity
- Low lighting
- Food source (organic material/matter).
Thus bathrooms are often the best place in the house that favors the growth of mushrooms. First, you easily disperse the mushroom spores in the bathroom as shower and do your cleaning as they come off your clothes and body.
Second, the bathroom offers a great place with most conditions that mushrooms require to grow. High heat, excess moisture and high humidity, and dim lighting create ideal growing conditions for mushrooms to grow on bathroom floors, walls, and even ceilings, especially where moisture collects or pools.
Here are some of things that can cause mushrooms to grow in your bathroom:
Leakages from malfunctioning or damaged holders or channels like pipes, taps, showerheads etcetera lead to frequent pooling or moisture in various places in the bathroom favoring the growth of mushrooms.
Leakages could also occur from the roof and thus rain water seeps into the bathroom and settles on the ceiling board creating the perfect conditions for mushroom growth.
In a bathroom, condensation is one of the main causes of mushroom growth and thriving.
The large amount of steam produced by a hot shower or bath raises the humidity level in the bathroom, and as the moisture in the air drifts, it comes into contact with colder surfaces and forms water droplets.
Condensation remains on mirrors, windows, tile grout, and many other porous surfaces long after you have finished your bath or shower, creating an ideal environment for mushrooms and other fungi to grow.
Where moisture is present for an extended period of time, mushroom spores sprout and begin to grow.
Poor ventilation and airflow in the shower is also another cause. With nowhere to go, damp air does not have anywhere to go and thus remains in the bathroom consequently creating a microclimate favoring the growth of mushrooms and other fungi.
High Temperature/ Warmth.
Temperature has a significant impact on fungal growth, spore germination, and reproduction.
Warmth catalyzes the chemical reactions within the mushroom’s fungal cells. Temperatures must be in a range that allows the most efficient progression of the chemical reactions required by mushrooms for optimum growth.
Fungi thrive best in temperatures ranging from 77°F to 86°F and will not grow below 40°F. The bathroom is sufficiently warm and bears these conditions, particularly when it is inadequately ventilated or frequent warm showers are taken.
Most shower walls are made up of materials that do not absorb water and painted with water resistant paints. Any damage to the wall exposes the porous wall materials to moisture and dirt thus creating a favorable condition for mushroom growth.
The grout used to hold shower tiles is porous in nature and can absorb and retain moisture which can lead to growth of mold and mushrooms.
Sealing of grout helps a lot in fungal prevention and thus unsealed grout is easily susceptible to mushroom and mold infestation.
The warm and humid conditions in the bathroom encourage the growth of mushrooms.
It can be extremely difficult to properly ventilate your house properly in cold climates.
This is because the cold conditions cause people to shut all of their windows and turn up the heat. This increases humidity and provides all of the necessary conditions for black mold to sprout and thrive. This often particularly happens in the bathroom where there is a lot of moisture.
Growth Favoring Materials
Mushrooms typically grow on wooden ceilings, wooden doors, carpets and rugs, and spaces in the grout in bathrooms.
This is because these areas trap moisture and contain organic matter, both of which are conducive to mushroom growth.
Mushrooms eat almost any organic material that contains the nutrients they require to grow. Wood, wool, cotton, paper, and just about anything organic in your bathroom and home in general fall into this category.
All these conditions are available in the bathroom hence the high likelihood of mold growth. Of all the conditions, the easiest to control is moisture since your bathroom can’t lack oxygen, warmth, or any organic material for the mold to grow in.
While mushrooms require as little light as possible to spawn, a little light does not harm their growth.
They do not require light or photosynthesis to grow because they lack chlorophyll. Mushrooms require dim light to form fruit bodies, but only a few hours per day are required for fruiting to be successful. For example, wild mushrooms typically grow in shady, wooded areas with filtered light, thus a bathroom with dim lighting creates optimum lighting for their growth.
Mushrooms in Shower Risks
Mushrooms in the bathroom should be treated with caution.
Most bathroom mushrooms appear as small dark green or black masses with no discernible pattern and despite the fact that many mushrooms are harmless on their own, it’s often hard to discern the safe ones and toxic ones.
The real danger of bathroom mushrooms is that they are a sign of a serious moisture problem, which could lead to the growth of black mold or mildew, both of which are extremely harmful.
Mold and mildew thrive in the same environments as mushrooms, and exposure to them can cause serious allergic reactions or respiratory illnesses.
Furthermore, a pet or a child could accidentally ingest the mushrooms leading to a case of poisoning.
Mushrooms also cause structural damage to building materials and whatever else they grow on as they feed and break down matter.
Mushrooms should not be growing in the bathroom, regardless of whether they are safe or not. They are an unpleasant sight that should be removed as soon as they are discovered, and prevention measures taken, as you will learn hereby.
How to get Rid of Mushrooms Growing in Bathroom.
To get rid of mushrooms in your bathroom, you can either opt to use commercial cleaners or opt for more natural products using homemade solution.
It’s a good idea to take the necessary safety precautions to protect yourself, before taking any action.
Working with bathroom fungi, as well as the products used to remove them, can be harmful to the skin and lungs, so always work in a well-ventilated area and wear rubber gloves and a protective mask.
Before, starting the cleaning, process, here are some steps you should follow:
- Begin by removing all shower accessories, carpets, the shower curtain, and any other unnecessary items and placing them outside in a secure location to prevent spore contamination of other items and parts of the house for later cleaning and disinfection.
- Next, check if the cause of the mushroom problem is as a result of water leaks from damaged plumbing. If that’s the case, deal with it and fix it to stop further leakage before taking any other action so as to avoid recurrence as you are working.
- Proceed to remove all visible mushrooms from the affected area. If the mushrooms are big you can manually pull them out with a pair of rubber gloves or a paper towel.
You can also use a scraper to scrape off any visible mushrooms then place them in a secure bag for later disposal.
Following are some homemade cleaning solutions to help you get rid of mushrooms.
If you prefer a gentler solution, try using baking soda. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is both a good cleaning and antifungal agent and effectively kills mushrooms and inhibits their growth.
- Make spray solution by dissolving one teaspoon of baking soda into one quart of water. You can add a few drops of dishwashing detergent for extra.
- Spray the solution on the affected area and leave it to sit for at least half an hour.
- On return scrub the area thoroughly with a soft brush to get rid of any visible mushrooms trace.
- Rinse the area with plenty of warm water to wash off all dirt and solution residue.
- Wipe the place with a piece of cloth or unused towel and leave to dry.
Vinegar is one of the best products in getting rid of mushrooms. Vinegar has an active component called acetic acid, and acetic acid is extremely effective at killing mushrooms and other fungus.
- Depending on the concentration level of the vinegar, you’ll need to dilute it with about 4 parts water to one part vinegar. Then add a small amount of dish soap as used in regular cleaning.
- Transfer the vinegar solution into a spray bottle and spray it generously on the affected surface and leave to sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Scrub the area thoroughly with a soft bristle brush ensuring to cover all the affected parts.
- Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water.
- Dry the area thoroughly with an old towel or absorbent cloth.
Lemon is another good natural mushroom control option. Lemons have strong antifungal qualities, making them useful for controlling mushrooms. Furthermore, the strong acid content in lemons breaks down fungus spores, making them easy to remove.
- Squeeze 3 to 5 lemons into a bowl and add a tablespoonful of dishwashing liquid and mix well. If you think the lemon juice is too concentrated, you can dilute it with a little water.
- Apply the solution to the affected area and leave to sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Scrub the area thoroughly with a soft brush.
- Rinse the area thoroughly with plenty of warm water.
- Wipe the place with an old towel or piece of cloth to dry.
To combat mushrooms and other fungi, simply removing them and treating them isn’t enough.
To know what steps to take when dealing with bathroom fungi, you must first understand and identify the factors that are causing the mushrooms to grow in your bathroom, as previously explained.
It’s very simple to keep mushrooms from growing in your bathroom. Because mushrooms and mold prefer warm, moist environments away from direct sunlight, you can keep them from growing in your bathroom by denying them these factors using the following tips:
- You should avoid hanging wet towels and clothes in the bathroom. Wet clothes and towels provide a breeding ground for mold and mushrooms due to their moisture and inducing high humidity. Thus, it is advisable to hang them out to dry or in a washing machine.
- Examine the bathroom for any leaks and make sure they’re properly sealed. To prevent mold from growing, fix leaks in the showerhead, pipes, toilets, and any other parts of the shower. To contain leaks, this also entails resealing leaking joints. If your toilet or bathtub seals are leaking or pooling water, have them repaired by a professional plumber.
- Sealing the grout in your shower is a relatively simple process that will prevent moisture from seeping between and under your tiles. Wet grout is a perfect place for dangerous mold and mildew to breed.
- Clean your bathroom on a regular basis preferably using detergents or cleaners with antifungal properties.
- Take further measures to prevent mushroom and other types of bathroom fungal growth in the future, by keeping a spray bottle full of vinegar or other eco-friendly natural fungicides in the bathroom and spray your bath and shower after each usage.
- Make sure to keep the bathroom ventilated while it’s in use to help regulate moisture and prevent mold growth. Leave the window of the bathroom open after showering to allow air circulation.
- Wipe down the walls and floor with a squeegee or an unused towel after use to speed up drying.
- Install a humidifier in your bathroom and use it to keep the humidity level below 50%, especially during the summer.
- Paint the bathroom ceiling with moisture resistant paint and or one with antifungal properties too.
- Avoid using rugs or carpets in your bathroom because they can trap moisture that promotes growth of fungi(mushrooms), and remove any water-damaged carpets.
- Install a mechanical vent fan if you’re looking for a more long-term solution. After you’ve finished your shower and exited the bathroom, turn on the fan for at least 20 minutes. You can install a timer switch to automatically turn off the fan if you forget to turn it on later.
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