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
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon tea tree oil
- 10 drops orange essential oil
- 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.
Can you use this mixture on honeycomb room darkening shades. They have some mold on side of window. I have tried different cloth cleaners that did not work and stained the shades. Do you have any solution to try. They can not be rinsed off.
Martha Byrnes says
Would it be safe to use your Mold and Mildew recipe on plant that have developed a mold like substance on the plants soil?
Paul Sun says
In my house there is a room in the attic that an old owner made and its molding like crazy. Some areas are 2-3 inches thick!!! This is very helpful.
Tea tree oil is toxic I’m not sure in humans but easily kills pets so just make sure to do you research, check with a vet and tread carefully. If you don’t have pets still do a little research to make sure you stay safe
John D'souza says
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kathrina lewis says
Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide that has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Tea tree oil not only removes mould but will also help prevent mould from occurring. But make sure that the tea tree oil is pure, and is made from the Australian tree “melaleuca alternifolia” and has the active ingredients “terpinen 4-ol” (at least 30%) and “cineole” (no more than 10-15%).
Clove oil is good for mold
Just want to let everyone know that new directions eo’s are wonderful. Had an opportunity to try them for the first time and they take pride and great care in what they sell. Very much impressed. Love your recipes,thank you for sharing. Going green has been the best thing for myself and my family!
Adding glycerine will help oil and water mix
Just wondering do you spay this mixture after every shower and leave it?
Or on a dry shower?
Thank you :)
I love your blog, its so inspiring and fun! I use all natural homemade cleaners as well and found a lot of great tips on a show on hulu called Lush House. It’s an Australian show full of great green living ideas, tips and tricks. The host recommends a shower cleaner much like yours, only she also adds clove oil for its antifungal properties.
Stephanie Gerber says
I’ll have to check out that show, thanks for the tip Mariana!
Great recipe! For cleaning the shower doors when they get scummy use the ceramic stovetop cleaner. Brush it onto your shower doors, wait a few minutes and then it will rinse of sparkling clean with little to no effort!
Baking soda would help with getting buildup off the tile, but since you are using vinegar that wouldn’t work too well since the two react to each other. If there were some way to get the baking soda on the area then spray it afterwards with the vinegar solution, you would have a pretty good cleaner. Maybe a light paste of baking soda and water on the problem areas then spray it with the vinegar solution afterwards.
My favorite all-time new cleanser, I use it for everything, is one part vinegar, one part rubbing alcohol, to two parts water. You can add a drop of soap as well. Stainless, granite, windows, LCD TV screens, mirrors, and laminate flooring all shine like the dickens! I’m going to add some tea tree oil for my shower now! Great idea!
Well laid out blog, btw.
elizabeth ashe says
I’ll have to give this one a try. I love the fact that you chose to use the orange oil with its calming effects. Do you think one teaspoon is enough or should I add a little more for tough scrubbing mold? Thanks for sharing.
Lindsey Johnson says
Hi Elizabeth, do you mean a teaspoon of orange oil? I just use the 10 drops and it’s pretty strong. I have to have the bathroom fan running. :) It works great with the smaller amount, but you could try more.
Hello Elisabeth. Are you not mixing up the quantity for the tea tree oil with the quantity for the orange oil? Take a look at the recipe again. It says 1 tsp tea tree and 10 drops orange.
Lindsay – I will definitely try this. I use vinegar and soap a lot. Will add the tea tree and the “smell good” oil. Thanks
I have also heard that using a mouth wash such as Listerine helps to kill the bacteria if sprayed on shower walls and keeps mold and mildew at bay. Haven’t tried it myself but if it kills germs in your mouth it makes sense that it would work.
Lindsey Johnson says
Definitely couldn’t hurt! I’ve never though of that before. :)
This is perfect for some mold I’m dealing with now. Thanks!