Because of water being present in these areas due to sinks and showers mold will be more likely to grow. It is important to distinguish between growth in a sink or shower compared to baseboard trim or the walls and ceiling. I am referring to the potential cause of these. It is obvious mold will grow in the sink or shower (if not cleaned regularly) because water lives there.
However, mold can and will grow on base board trim (that usually white looking piece of wood at the bottom of the wall that touches the floor). This is true even if there are not leaks causing this. It is due to condensation of, for example, shower steam settling on the wall, ceiling, and baseboard trim surfaces. Over time, usually several weeks or months a dingy film, especially on baseboard or door trim, will gradually start to appear which many people call mildew. This is just another word or euphemism for mold. Or spots will start to appear on the ceiling or walls.
This is because mold spores are present in the air since these come from outside as we regularly go in and out along with these being present when we first move into a place. Once the mold spores get some water they start to grow and over several days/weeks become visible to our eyes since they start out microscopic. In addition, through normal use water can get absorbed into the drywall going under the baseboard trim on the floor next to the shower/tub which creates a bigger problem and a similar thing can happen in the kitchen.
What can you do about it?
- One obvious thing is to clean these areas regularly.
- Caulk/seal the base to the floor and other connecting seams such as to the tub or shower tile. This helps keep the water out of there.
- If mold grows relatively fast on the walls or ceilings (with no leaks causing this) then clean the areas with an antimicrobial or antifungal agent, apply a mold inhibitive primer on the entire ceiling/wall and then a coat of mold inhibitive paint. This will keep it from happening as frequently. Each paint store has their version of this. You just have to ask them.
- Caulk/seal the shelf under the sinks to the wall and side panels so when water or some liquid spills or even leaks it will help keep the water from going under the shelf and into the wall to start growing mold where you can’t see it. This will also help you see that water is on your shelf so you can clean it promptly.
- Verify plumbing fixtures are properly installed and sealed to the surface so water does not go into that gap and start growing mold.
Steve Mullins (i.e. Mold Detector)
CMC, Certified Microbial Consultant
Moisture and Mold Detection, Inc.