How Do I Handle Mildew and Mold before Repainting a Bathroom?Any home renovator or home decorator will tell you in no uncertain terms that mold and mildew are bad for painting. The biggest challenge moldy surfaces is that the mold is difficult to remove, but it needs to be treated before painting any bathroom. There is simply no sense at all in painting over these areas, as they will just cause problems and lift the paint. The other issue is that the mold communities will grow and cause even further damage to the area.

The Problem with Mold and Mildew

Mold spores love to grow in moist, wet, warm, and non ventilated areas. This is why older bathrooms can be a real haven for them! The trouble is that mold and mildew are actually a health hazard that can be very difficult for some people to endure. For example, black mold spores are known to cause any or all of the following symptoms in sensitive people:

  • Migraines and intense headaches
  • Feelings of lethargy and fatigue that borders on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in some people
  • Respiratory symptoms such as difficulty breathing or wheezing, which is especially problematic and even life threatening in people with conditions like asthma

Clearly, any mold or mildew needs to be cleaned off and dealt with well before any paint is applied to the area, but what is the best way to do this?

Cleaning Away the Mold and the Mildew

The popular notion is that bleach will kill off any mold, but there is a huge problem with this theory: it doesn’t work! Bleach will certainly bleach out the stains of a substance like black mold, but it will not actually kill the mold because it is not a fungicide.

The good news is that you can get rid of mold with the right approach and the right products. Consider the following steps for removing mold and mildew from a bathroom or any other area:

  • Better than bleach: Even though bleach will not actually kill mold, Sodium Borate (Borax) will do the trick. Before preparing for painting, thoroughly soak any mold and mildew in Borax to kill it off. Wipe away the remaining residue vigorously so that the area is clear.
  • Primer: Once the mold and the mildew are gone, you will need to paint the entire area in a mold-inhibiting primer coat. This will protect against the growth of any mold or mildew in the future, and will even coat any remaining mold and mildew and prevent it from growing.

Future-proofing the Bathroom

With both the mold and the mildew removed and everything coated in primer, it is possible to begin painting the room. At this point, however, it would certainly be wise to consider future-proofing the area against the formation of any future mold or mildew. Checking for leaky pipes and plumbing, installing an exhaust fan if there is not one already, and ensuring that there is adequate ventilation goes a long way toward making sure your paint job will last for a long time to come.