We hear so much these days about global warming and air quality that we tend to forget we have just as many environmental issues indoors. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency ranks indoor air pollution in the top five environmental problems we face. Of course, we know that mold and mildew are our toughest enemies in the bathroom, but remember that they’re also serious allergens for many people, too.
It may seem like a never-ending battle, but there are actually several things you can do to keep the air in the bathroom fresh instead of funky.
Out With the Bad (In With the Good)
Bathroom exhaust fans are the place to start. There are so many styles and options these days that, no matter your space or style, you’ll find something that will significantly reduce moisture. You can find wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted fans with lights, heaters, and even humidity sensors. Most of our clients are very surprised to hear you can even get decorative fans disguised as light fixtures. Consider adding a bathroom fan timer so you can let the fan do its job a little longer without leaving it on all day.
Grout is the porous, cement-like material between the tiles in your bathroom. It’s what holds the tiles in place, and when it’s new and clean, it’s not an issue. The problem is that grout absorbs moisture, so that after time, without careful (even daily) maintenance, mold and mildew will begin to grow between your tiles. A smart move to improve air quality is to reduce the amount of grout in your bathroom by using slabs of a solid surface like
quartz instead of tiles, or by simply choosing larger tiles (and thus, less grout lines), which can add a spa-like serenity to the space, as a bonus.
You’ll be happy to hear that heated floors in the bathroom are actually very helpful for keeping mold and mildew in check because they warm and dry the floor much more quickly. And the bonus? Heated floors in the bathroom! If you need another excuse to do something nice for yourself, consider installing a towel warmer, which keeps your towels warm before you use them, and keeps them dryer when you’re done.
Let Nature Do Its Trick
The folks at NASA have actually been studying plants as a way to purify air on space stations, and it turns out they do an amazing job. There are several varieties that even help to absorb molds and mildews. Of course, plants tend to thrive in bathrooms, but be careful not to overwater, which can lead to more mold.
Careful With the Chemicals
Finally, in addition to keeping a regular cleaning schedule as part of the fight against mold and mildew, consider switching to eco-friendly cleaners. Trapping yourself in a small space with heavy chemicals for any period of time undermines all the work you do to keep the air fresh in your bathroom.
Work Those Windows
If you have a window in the bathroom that can open to the outside, use it whenever weather permits. In conjunction with the fan, this really optimizes air circulation and minimizes excessive humidity in your home. If you don’t already have a window in the bathroom, installing one can really be a solid investment in terms of both air quality and resale value. Look for an option that’s easy to open, like a model with a crank handle or simple slider.
If you’ve got any tips and tricks to improve air quality in the bathroom, we’d love to hear them!
To view a collection of windows available at Home Depot, you can visit homedepot.com.