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I have mold in my bathroom cabinets and drawers that keeps coming back. I first noticed it on some textile items in the cabinet. After I threw them out, I saw that the cabinet wood was also moldy. This worries me because it's probably not good for my health. Even though I have a decent ventilation system, the bathroom is still a bit damp after showers because there are no windows. Interestingly, the mold is only inside the cabinets and drawers, not on the bathroom walls.

Here's what I'd like to know:

  1. What's the best way to thoroughly clean and get rid of the mold from the wooden parts of the cabinets and drawers?

  2. Is there a special paint or something else I can put on the wood to stop the mold from growing back, even though my bathroom stays a bit damp?

  3. Are there any other things that could help?

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  • What is the size of the Bathroom? Do you have an exhaust fan that is sized for the room?
    – RMDman
    Jun 30, 2023 at 11:21
  • Run the bath fan longer to lower the humidity in the bathroom. If there's lingering moisture, there will be mold growth. Also, not all mold is bad for you some (like penicillin) can be decidedly good for you.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 30, 2023 at 12:11
  • If the bath fan is insufficient to remove the moisture from the air in a timely fashion, try adding a room dehumidifier to the mix.
    – Huesmann
    Jun 30, 2023 at 13:30
  • Solve the persistent dampness. Without doing that, the war goes to the mold and mildew, every time, no matter how you fight the battles.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 30, 2023 at 17:40

1 Answer 1

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Here are answers to your 3 questions:

The way to get rid of mold is to clean it with an agent that contains chlorine. There are specific cleaning products, but all of them contain chlorine as does household bleach. A 30/70 mix of bleach and water usually does the trick very well. But you have the smell lingering after. Therefore good ventilation is the key.

Paints usually do not work well. If the mold issue has been going on for some time there may be spores in places you cannot see or clean, so those efforts are futile in the long run. You need to ventilate.

What else can you do? You can ventilate to rid the room of the damp air.

Fans are sized in CFU or "cubic feet of air removed per minute" If your fan is not sized for the room, or you don't know the size, or if it is very old you would do yourself a big favor installing a new fan.

The fan is only worthwhile if it is running. The next step is to put the fan on a Timer switch. If the bath is used for a shower or some other smelly reason, the timer can be set and the fan will run automatically extracting the humid air and keeping your bathroom from being so damp. (I run mine on 60min for every shower, have no mold issues)

Finally you should do some inspecting and be sure the bath isn't getting damp from a leak in the pipes or the roof. Look for signs of heavier localized mold on walls or ceiling. Under the vanity is often an area homeowners are unaware of having a leak from plumbing or drain. Obviously if you find something that will have to be addressed.

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  • Thanks. My fan has a moisture sensor and usually engages after I turn the shower on. It'll then run for roughly 20 minutes before spooling down to minimum speed again once it detects the humidity has gone back down. Do you know what the formula is for calculating the right CFU for a room by volume?
    – kettlepot
    Jun 30, 2023 at 12:58
  • The fan is also connected to the (small) toilet room and also has an inlet in the utility closet. That may be reducing its efficacy, though I remember that the person who came in to inspect it recently did run a test to see what kind of flow the fan was getting and he said the flow seemed right to him (not sure about the numbers)
    – kettlepot
    Jun 30, 2023 at 13:00
  • The simple formula of 1CFU for each sq ft of floor is probably moot for your situation. There is an increase needed for a higher ceiling, a jetted tub and for other reasons, such as the fan being in a toilet room and not getting full exchange of the air. You mentioned a humidity sensor, but that would sense the humidity in the toilet room, not in the rest of the bath, because the hot moist air rises higher than the door frame into the toilet room. Try setting the humidity sensor to the lowest setting and see if it helps to clear the whole room. Or consider another fan in the main room.
    – RMDman
    Jun 30, 2023 at 13:44
  • In one of your other comments , you mentioned the fan had an inlet in a utility closet. That would upset humidity setting also. I think the answer is you need to have the fan run longer.
    – RMDman
    Jun 30, 2023 at 14:04
  • I would use hydrogen peroxide, 3% or stronger is recommended and it does not leave nasty residue.
    – Gil
    Jun 30, 2023 at 14:14

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