Exit Mould Makes Annual Shonky Awards 2012

A mould killer that doesn’t kill mould… A recent article on Nine MSN – Choice Unveils Worst Products of 2012 – reads “Exit Mould and Coles Ultra Mould Remover made the list after mycologists found the mould-busting products don’t penetrate porous surfaces, where mould is most likely to form.” For the
full article, refer to Shonky Awards – 2012. At Total TileCare, we have been explaining this to our clients for years. While “it may look nice and white post-spray, courtesy of the bleach removing the colour, and some of the surface mould may even have rubbed off, [but] the root structure remains entrenched in the grout ready to sprout again and party another day. But it gets worse: the bleach can actually erode and corrode grout and tiles, making them more porous – and more receptive to future mould festivities.” For the full report on the Choice website, refer to Exit Mould and Coles Ultra Mould Remover. For a long term effective solution, regrout mould affected areas, seal the new grout to help prevent mould spores from penetrating and use a gentle PH Neutral Cleaner or Microfibre cloth for routine cleaning.

All About Mould

Contrary to popular belief, mould does NOT grow on surfaces such as glass, Formica, tile, or metal. It WILL however grow on dirt or other organic debris on these surfaces! In the shower, the most common culprit is bio-film. This film is made up of soap, shampoo, body oils, bacteria, skin flakes etc. and is the perfect environment for mould to grow in and on. It is imperative to keep shower surfaces clean in order to keep them free from mould and the best way to control indoor mould growth is to control moisture.

How Should I Clean / Manage My Mouldy Shower? Small areas of mould growth from condensation on bathroom tiles is topical (on the surface only) in nature and can be simply cleaned up. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals since these often do not work and may cause other environmental problems and health issues. Water with a detergent solution such as dishwashing liquid and a white scourer work very well in cleaning up small areas of mould growth from tiles. Cotton tipped swabs can be used to get into hard to reach areas. It IS possible to clean mould from hard surfaces using the methods above, but it is also very important to dry these surfaces completely after cleaning. On the other hand, it is NOT possible to simply clean mould from absorbent / porous materials such as grout. The mould spores actually penetrate into these absorbent / porous materials and they need to be replaced. While mould may be cleaned from the “surfaces” of absorbent / porous materials, the spores which have penetrated into them mean that the mould will simply redevelop again, from the inside out. Further, aggressive cleaning (using abrasives or harsh chemicals) in a misguided attempt to remove mould from these materials will actually make the problem worse – causing decay, making the material more porous, allowing mould spores to penetrate further and actually promoting mould growth!

Is Mould in your Bathroom Making your Family Sick? There is no practical way to eliminate ALL mould and mould spores in the indoor environment. However, high levels of exposure to mould have potential health effects and symptoms including allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints. Minimising exposure to mould can minimise the potential health effects and symptoms.

Top 9 ways to prevent mould development in your shower.

  1. Use a quality grout with an anti-mould additive.
  2. Have the new grout sealed (stainguarded).
  3. Keep the area well ventilated, especially whilst showering – use your extractor fan, open bathroom windows.
  4. Leave the shower screen door open / open the shower curtain after showering.
  5. Have shorter / cooler showers.
  6. Use body wash rather than soap to minimise build up of bio-film.
  7. Avoid the use of harsh chemicals and cleaners which decay the grout and make it more porous over time.
  8. Clean the shower regularly with a PH neutral cleaner or microfibre cloth.
  9. Dry the shower with an old towel / rag after each use.

If All Else Fails – It’s Time To Regrout.

Products for Cleaning Floor Tiles & Grout

Contrary to popular belief / conventional wisdom, you should NOT use vinegar for cleaning tiles and grout. Vinegar is an acid and will decay grout over time. It can also permanently damage or etch the surface of natural stones tiles. Likewise, citrus cleaning products contain citric acid and will act in the same way as vinegar. Bleach or alkaline based cleaners should be used sparingly, well diluted and then rinsed well. The area should be kept well ventilated or alternatively, make sure to wear a respirator to prevent breathing difficulties.

The best product for cleaning both tiles and grout is a PH neutral cleaner. If in doubt, read the label on the back of the product. Cleaning products will usually state if they are PH neutral. If not, look for any mention of marble or natural stone. If the product is UNsafe to use on marble / natural stone, it will usually contain acid and should be avoided. Look for products which are safe to use on marble and natural stone. A good quality dishwashing liquid makes a great cleaner for kitchen and living area floor tiles and grout. Simply follow the guidelines outlined below regarding best practices for cleaning your tiles and grout.

In today’s busy world people are looking for quick fix cleaning – products which you can spray on and leave. This is not the correct approach for cleaning tiles and grout. Any chemical residue left on the surface acts as a magnet to attract dirt / grime build up. We strongly recommend rinsing thoroughly as part of your cleaning regime to ensure no chemical residue remains. It is also important to realise that tile cleaning products need “dwell time” in order to loosen dirt and grime. As you would soak a heavily caked baking dish, so you should allow time for your cleaning product to dwell on the floor. 5-10 minutes is usually sufficient, just make sure not to leave so long as the product starts to dry. Best Practices for Cleaning floor Tiles & Grout

  1. Select the correct product, according to the guidelines above.
  2. Dilute the product with water according to the instructions.
  3. Spread the cleaning solution over the tiles and grout.
  4. Allow the cleaning solution to dwell for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Use a mop or doodlebug to agitate, loosen and collect the dirt/grime.
  6. Rinse the area using clean water (changed frequently) and a mop.
  7. Dry mop the area to remove any residual moisture.