Your weekly bathroom cleaning checklist seems like it should be a cinch to finish up. Floor? Shining. Toilet? Sparkling. Shower walls and tub? Argh. That pesky buildup of black gunk and mold between the tiles and around the tub always seems to creep up, and getting rid of it, no matter how hard you scrub, can seem impossible. You may have heard that making a bleach paste out of baking soda and bleach for mold is the best way to remove it, but experts caution that it can do more harm to your grout than good. Luckily, thanks to a trend that’s gone viral on TikTok, YouTube and more, we discovered a genius solution to remove the mold between the bathroom tiles and leave your entire bathroom looking squeaky clean!
Baking soda and bleach for mold? Just say no
It’s no secret that bleach and baking soda on their own are cleaning powerhouses, so it can seem natural to want to combine the two to tackle something as tough as shower tile mold. But as tempting as it may be, this combination of ingredients is discouraged by cleaning pros for a couple of reasons. “Bleach is a solution that can be very dangerous when mixed with certain elements, and bleach and baking soda together can be a corrosive pairing,” cautions Kathy Cohoon, operations manager at Two Maids Cleaning. “The combination can damage grout and floors and create an environment that is actually tough on your lungs!”
Luckily, there’s a simple hack to get the job done.
The viral combo that eliminates shower tile mold
Bleach is still a perfectly good option when it comes to killing bathroom mildew, and one product that contains it in particular can make the job a breeze.
Step one: Get yourself some Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner Clinging Bleach Gel (Buy from Walgreens, $3.79). “This product works great for two main reasons: the bleach is going to take care of any mold and mildew that has built up, and the clinging components are going to help keep it in place on the grout lines and on the walls of the shower while the active ingredients are working,” she shares.
A couple of caveats for cleaning success: First, make sure to test in an inconspicuous area first, to ensure the bleach doesn’t cause any unwanted discoloration. You’ll also want to make sure you have proper ventilation with a window open because of bleach’s strong odor.
Snearly also reiterates the importance of using the bleach product as is! “Make sure you’re not mixing it with any other cleaners or chemicals, as it can create some dangerous compounds when mixed.”
Step two: All you have to do is carefully squirt the cleaner along the grout lines and in the bathtub. This can get a little messy, so Snearly recommends wearing gloves, casual clothes and even a face mask so you’re not inhaling the bleach.
Step three: Once the cleaner is on the surface, gently press a few paper towels into the outer corners of the tub to help hold the product on the moldiest spots around the corners. “The paper towels I mention in the video below are really helpful for keeping the product in the right place,” says Snearly.
Not shown in her video but seen on other TikToks and YouTubes? You can line the walls with toilet paper (it’s thinner so it will stay put easier) to help the product stay on and stick in between the tiles as well. Simply press the paper onto the areas with cleaner and let it sit.
Snearly suggests letting the gel sit for 30 minutes to one hour. Then remove the paper towels, take a tile cleaning brush and scrub away the mold.
Give the tub and tile areas a good rinse with water from the shower head and it should be sparkling again with no sign of mold stains. (Click through to learn more about if you can use toilet bowl cleaner in the shower.)
Watch her video below to see how well this trick works:
Don’t want to mess with bleach?
If you don’t have the bleach on hand or prefer to go with a more natural alternative, baking soda can be a great option for revealing clean tile!
“Baking soda’s drying properties are effective in attacking existing mold, and also discouraging future mold growth,” says Cohoon. “You can make a paste of baking soda and warm water, paint onto the area and allow to sit for up to ten minutes. Scrub with a small cleaning brush or old toothbrush. Rinse the area well and repeat as needed.”
If the mold is covering a larger area, Cohoon recommends going with a spray instead. To do: combine 1 Tbs. of baking soda with some water in a spray bottle, then shake it until the baking soda is dispersed. Spray onto the tile surface and use a sponge or no-scratch scouring pad to rub at it. Wipe away with water to finish.
“Spray the solution on the surface one more time and let it dry to prevent future mold and mildew growth,” she adds.
For more bathroom cleaning tips, keep reading!