One of my least favorite household chores is cleaning my shower. I’m embarrassed to say I wait as long as possible, which is probably why I don’t like doing it!
I need to be more vigilant about a good weekly cleaning. One reason I detest the chore is because we have really, really hard water and it can be very hard to scrub off all the soap scum and hard-water buildup.
That coupled with not having a window in my bathroom means my shower is more susceptible to mold and mildew. Ugh. I hate even talking about this!
But you get it, right? We all have our particular cleaning nemeses, and mold and mildew are mine.
DIY Mold and Mildew Spray
I stopped using bleach to clean mold and mildew last year. In our previous home, the basement bathroom could get nasty quickly.
I had a mold specialist come over and check to make sure it wasn’t dangerous to our health. It was impossible to keep on top of it even with weekly cleanings.
Anyway, he told me not to use bleach anymore because it only kills surface mold and causes the remaining spores to come back bigger and badder than before.
Thus, making it nearly impossible to get rid of.
Now, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I took his advice to heart. He recommended a really expensive antimicrobial spray, to which I thought “there has to be a better, cheaper and more effective natural solution.”
So I did a ton of research and do you know what I finally landed on? White vinegar.
As plain and cheap as can be! Adding tea tree oil gives this DIY mold and mildew spray an extra anti-fungal boost, and adding the orange oil makes it smell really nice.
Plus, it’s all natural and doesn’t have the same die-off / grow-back effects that chlorine bleach does. Spritz it directly on surfaces to kill bacteria, mold and fungi and use it as an all-purpose deodorizer to freshen dingy bathrooms.
Another great solution is a natural bleach alternative like this one. I’ve also read that equal parts denatured alcohol (like cheap vodka) and water with a little tea tree oil can also be very effective.
For this recipe, all you do is fill up an empty spray bottle with white vinegar, add the tea tree and orange oil, shake it up and start spraying.
Completely non-toxic, safe and inexpensive–three things I like the cleaners I use in my home to be. One last thing: you might need to let the vinegar sit for a while if there’s a big buildup.
And if you’re looking for more ways to use essential oils for green cleaning, check out our recipe for lemon basil glass cleaner, which works wonders on the smudges and toothpaste that can accumulate on your bathroom mirror.
DIY Mold + Mildew Spray FAQ
How should I use this spray?
I like to deep clean my shower when it’s dry, but I typically spray this cleaner on the shower walls and tub between showers to help stave off mold regrowth.
Will this cleaner work if there is a lot of buildup in my shower?
Yes, this should work even on the most grimy showers. Simply soak the area well and let the vinegar sit for a bit longer before wiping it off. A good scrub with a brush or a coarse sponge should also help the cleaning process.
Is bleach or vinegar better for killing mold and mildew?
One study found that when tea tree oil is applied directly to mold, it was better at preventing mold growth than several other commercial disinfectant and antifungal agents that were tested. In the same study, vinegar was also shown to inhibit the regrowth of certain molds, which is why I like the idea of combining vinegar and tea tree oil when making this cleaning spray.
DIY Mold + Mildew Spray
- 16 ounce spray bottle
- Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake the bottle really well before use.
- Use as a cleaning spray and as a daily shower spray to help keep mold and mildew at bay.