Molds are hands down one of the most disgusting things you can hope to see in your house whether be it in the bathroom or kitchen. In fact, you can find mold in almost all parts of the house. Where there is moisture left unchecked, mold can grow. It’s as simple as that.
When you see any signs of mold, you need to be quick to remove them. This complete in-depth guide is all you need to know about how to remove mildew from a silicone caulk.
Not only that, but we will also tell you the probable causes, how to prevent it, and also how harmful molds can be. When we say this will be a complete guide, we mean it. So, let’s get started. Before we tackle how to remove the mold, let’s check out what causes mold to form in the first place.
What Causes Mold?
Some of the primary causes of mold are moisture. More specifically unchecked moisture and poor ventilation. A damp place that has not been kept clean or dry will see an increase in mold growth.
You can think of oxygen and moisture as the primary ‘food’ for molds. There are other reasons why mold can grow. Caulk in the bathroom and kitchen is especially vulnerable to mold growth since there can be soap scum and moisture. This can be a haven for cellulose which can also increase mold growth.
Poor ventilation is another cause of mold growth. Any room or space that has low light and bad ventilation is at risk of developing mold. You will probably see mildew buildup first. That’s an early sign of mold. Leave them unchecked and it won’t be long till you see mold growth.
Lack of Maintenance
General lack of proper maintenance is perhaps the biggest cause. There will be some moisture around the house. Especially in the bathroom and kitchen. That’s to be expected.
What you need to do is properly wipe these areas down and clean them regularly. Otherwise, you guessed it, mold will grow.
Also read: 5 Dripless Caulking Gun
How to Remove Mold from Silicone Caulking?
Now that we have seen some causes of mold, let’s dive right into how you can wipe them off of the face of the earth. Harsh words, but hey, it’s mold growth we are talking about. Good for nothing, disgusting and dangerous mold.
If you have a mold problem, don’t freak out. There are some pretty simple and effective ways you can get rid of them.
1. Use Bleach
Bleaching out the mold is one of the oldest tricks in the book. And it works. Another one is using ammonia. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You can remove mold by using chlorinated bleach.
Start by mixing one-part bleach and a gallon of water. Mix them really well. Now, you need to apply this solution. Before you do this, remember to ventilate the area you intend to clean and also dust it out.
- A Spray Bottle
There are convenient little spray bottles you can use to directly spray the solution onto the affected areas. Spray the caulk and wait for at least 20 minutes. Then you can just use water to rinse it. You can also use a sponge. This brings us nicely to our next application method.
A sponge is good for smaller mold buildups. Everyone knows how to use a sponge. We sure hope so. Just soak the sponge into the bleach and water solution you just created.
Squeeze out any extra and give the caulk a good old scrub. Scrub it gently though. We are getting rid of the mold using chemicals, not just brute strength.
- Cotton Coils
Lastly, we have cotton coils. This application process is great for particular stubborn patches of mold growth. If you need to go in deep into the roots of the caulk, cotton coils will help you do it.
Just like sponges, soak the coils into the solution first. There is one difference in this step. You don’t need to squeeze them as much as you would with sponges. Now, place the soaked cotton coils side by side on the caulk.
Also, try to get them into the holes. You can use a small pointy object to poke them into place. Leave them there overnight at the very least. The next day, remove the coils and scrub with a sponge. Easy-peasy.
2. Using Ammonia
In some ways, ammonia is actually better and more effective than using bleach. But we decided to put this later since bleach is more accessible. Nevertheless, using ammonia will give you a very clean and effective way to deal with mold.
There are some very important safety measures you need to take, though. But we will touch on that a bit later.
To remove mold with ammonia, mix one part of it with one part of water into a small container.
Make sure you do this in an aerated environment. Now just pour the solution you just created into a good spray bottle. Use a funnel to make the pouring clean. You won’t spill any solution this way.
Spray the solution onto the caulk. Use more if you see a lot of mold growth. You need to spray it evenly and leave it on for at least 10 minutes or so. Time to scrub it off. Take a small brush and scrub the caulk.
You will notice the mold will start to come right off. Be especially diligent with the corners. Those areas can be a bit tricky to clean. So, use a good amount, but of course, don’t overdo it.
After scrubbing, all you need to do is use a dry cloth to wipe the area down. Examine and check to see how it went. Spoilers, it should go really well. If you notice you missed some spots or there are still some areas left, just repeat the process.
Note: Ammonia can be dangerous. We would just have a whole paragraph repeating this single line if we could. You need to be careful when using ammonia and need to use proper equipment. We included a whole section of safety precautions at the end to make sure you stay safe. So, keep on reading.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda can be used to remove the moisture from the caulk. This will help you prevent mold buildup and you can also use a baking soda solution to clean the caulk as well.
To make a baking soda solution, take a quarter tablespoon of baking soda and put it into the spray bottle, and shake it till it completely dissolves. Then spray it onto the caulk and scrub as you spray it. After you’re done, use water to rinse it out.
You can also spray another round of the solution and keep it on without rinsing. This will help with mold from growing in the future.
There is also baking soda paste which you can use. For this, use baking soda and a bit of water. Mix them both till it becomes a paste. Spread it all over the caulk and leave for 20 minutes.
After that, scrub it out thoroughly. The mold should start to disappear, almost like magic.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
Want a greener way to remove the mold? Hydrogen peroxide is the answer. Use ones that have a concentration of 3% for the best results. The application process is pretty simple. Spray it over the caulk and soak it.
Let it sit for 10 minutes and scrub using a sponge or a brush. You can then wipe the area dry with a paper towel or a cloth.
Ah, vinegar. It’s a wonderful substance that’s helpful when it comes to cleaning. The great thing about vinegar is it not only removes fungi but kills them as well.
Using common vinegar is the best way to kill most species of mold. And you can also dilute it with water a bit to reduce the smell if that’s a problem for you. This method is one of the most straightforward ways to go on about it.
Just spray vinegar (or vinegar and water solution) onto the area you want to clean. Leave it for an hour and scrub with a sponge. Looks like a sponge comes in handy in almost all methods, doesn’t it?
Then just rinse the caulk with water. A thing to remember is if you dilute the vinegar in water, you will need to use more of the solution.
Borax is a cleaning agent that can be used to get rid of mold buildups. Add one part of borax to ten parts of water and mix it well. Then spray the solution and scrub the area. You should have a clean surface in no time.
Also read: Dewalt 20-Volt Caulking Gun
The Problem with Mold
People don’t want to get rid of mold for no reason, you know? There are some very solid reasons why you should go through with the effort.
Molds are Gross
One of the reasons is that they look very unappealing. Imagine having guests over and they visit your kitchen or bathroom and see mold growth. How embarrassing will that be?
Not only for the guests, but you also wouldn’t want to live in a mold-infested house either. It’s just not a sanitary and healthy way to live.
They are Bad for Your Health
Speaking of a healthy way to live, apart from looking visually disturbing, mold is bad for your health as well. So, wanting to remove mold isn’t only an aesthetic thing.
Black mold especially is very bad and causes major problems for people who suffer from asthma, allergies, or those who just have a weak immune system.
It can cause itchiness, yeast infection, and skin irritation. Some can even experience difficulty in breathing. So, you can see why removing mold and dealing with it right away is important.
How to Prevent Future Mold Growth?
As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. If you already have a mold problem, the ways we mentioned above should help you get rid of it. Now, comes the part where you want to stop future growth. There are some simple steps you can follow for this as well.
Clean, clean, and clean
There really is no substitute for cleaning. Make sure your house, especially areas that are most likely to have moisture like the kitchen and bathroom, is always kept clean. It’s one of the best ways to prevent mold from growing.
You can use vinegar to do a deep penetrating cleaning session. Make sure to thoroughly clean at least 3 times each month. Do this and you shouldn’t see mold growth.
Ventilation is Always Good
As we mentioned earlier, poorly ventilated areas will also see mold growth. Naturally then, you would want to keep your place well ventilated. Make sure there is ample air circulation.
Open up windows and the doors when you can. Also, just get a vent. That’s a surefire way to ensure your place stays ventilated.
Keep Places Dry
Along with cleaning and ventilation, not allowing excess moisture to sit for days or weeks will help tremendously. You can use an absorbent cloth to remove excess moisture.
A squeegee also does wonders in this regard. If you don’t have a squeegee, what are you doing? Read this guide till the end and order one right away!
Warning! Please Read This Carefully
Whenever you are dealing with any kind of chemicals, maintaining proper safety protocol is very important. Things like bleach and ammonia are safe if you use them properly. Otherwise, it can be dangerous.
Always use proper equipment like rubber gloves and open all doors, and windows and run a fan to circulate the air, if possible. Use a respirator to tackle the fumes. Don’t just wear a normal face mask. Check your local hardware store. They should have respirators which you can buy.
Also, never mix ammonia and bleach! This is a big no-no. It can create toxic fumes which can be very dangerous for your health! Use either bleach to remove the mold or ammonia. But don’t put them together.
When Do You Need to Replace Caulking?
You might need to replace the caulk completely if things are pretty bad and you don’t see any improvement after cleaning it. This process isn’t that difficult either. You can also get some professional help if nothing else works.
Silicone caulks are more durable and thus will serve you better. There are latex caulks you can buy too. Those are easier to apply but don’t perform that well when compared to silicone caulk.
How do avoid molds from growing?
Always keep your walls, shower, and delicate-to-water spaces dry. Using bleach or ammonia continuously might cause discoloration. So, the best way is prevention. You can use vinegar spray regularly on surfaces prone to dust. This will clear out as well as prevent mold growth.
Is bleach safe to use?
Working with bleach is quite risky. So, don’t forget to put on your gloves and proper wear. The fabric might lose its color.
There you have it. We hope we didn’t freak you out with that health warning. If you just follow the proper procedure, there isn’t anything to worry about. You should now have a pretty good idea about how to remove mold from silicone caulking.
Choose any of the 6 ways we mentioned and give yourself a safe and mold-free place to live (and caulk). And remember, it’s always best to prevent any mold growth than to remove it afterward.
Antone Beaver is a DIY expert. He has a keen interest in tools and DIY projects around the house. He is always willing to provide you with the best solution for your home. He has 11 years of experience in the DIY sector. His highlighted skills in the DIY industry are: 1. Caulking 2. Drilling 3. Painting 4. Nailing 5. Measuring