What can be harmful to you and your family in your BATHROOM?
If you see condensation and moisture on your bathroom window, mirror, or shower stall regularly, it is time to take action to prevent mould and mildew growth from occurring.
- Use a bathroom exhaust fan or open a window when bathing or showering to remove moisture. Leave the fan running or window open for at least 15 minutes after use. If possible, install a timer that will shut off the fan automatically after a certain amount of time.
- The best fans are “blower fans” (which look like hamster wheels) because they move more air than “impeller fans” (which look more like airplane propellers).
- Clean up any visible mould or mildew found in the bathtub or shower stall, or in and around the toilet tank and surrounding pipes as soon as you see any. Be sure to check for mould growing in between tiles by the bathtub or shower stall. Use unscented detergent or baking soda and water mixed together to remove bathtub or shower mould.
- If you find mould on your shower curtain, put it in the washing machine with vinegar or replace it with a new curtain.
Personal Care Products
Although there is not generally much of a health risk from most personal care products, they can affect some people. When personal care products are used in an enclosed space such as a bathroom, they can remain in the air afterwards and other occupants in the home can breathe in the remaining chemicals causing potential health problems.
- Use non-toxic products if possible.
- When applying or using any products, be sure to turn on the bathroom fan or open a window to limit any odours from drifting throughout the home.
- Some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to fragrances and ingredients. If a certain product causes symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheeze, dizziness, nausea, an allergic reaction, or eye, skin, or throat irritation), stop using the product immediately. If it is an airborne product, get some fresh air by going outside or away from the bathroom for awhile. If it is applied to your body, clean it off with mild soap and rinse well. If needed, get medical help.
Cleaning products should be used with adequate ventilation by having the bathroom window open and exhaust fan running during and for a time after cleaning is finished. If a certain product causes respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheeze, dizziness, nausea, an allergic reaction, or eye, skin, or throat irritation), stop using the product immediately. Get some fresh air by going outside or away from the bathroom for awhile.
- Make your own non-toxic cleaners. Mix three parts baking soda with one part water to create a paste which can be applied to clean surface stains found in the bathroom (bathtubs, sinks and toilets).
- Vinegar is an effective cleaning product. Pour vinegar into the toilet and let stand overnight and flush in the morning. When combined with baking soda, it keeps your drains clean. Also, you can use vinegar to clean the grout between bathroom tiles. If you or a family member is sensitive to vinegar fumes, avoid using vinegar for this purpose.
- Use a microfiber cloth and water for simple cleaning of surface materials such as bathroom countertops and mirrors.
Air fresheners are advertised widely across Canada as the best solution to eliminate unpleasant odours. These are products that are made to prevent offending smells from being noticed by people. In fact, air fresheners only add to the various substances found in the home’s air and should not be used to remove odours.
- If your bathroom has a lingering odour, find and remove the source of the odour (e.g. wet carpet, mouldy shower curtain).
- To freshen the air in your bathroom, try a natural alternative by using a potpourri of cloves, cinnamon, and anise seeds.
- Open the window or use the bathroom fan to help reduce any odours.
The test used to measure airflow going out of an exhaust fan is called the “Garbage Bag Airflow Test”. This requires taping the opening of a garbage bag to a sturdy item such as a bent coat hanger or pieces of cardboard made into a ring to keep the bag open, placing the bag over the fan, and counting how many seconds it takes for the bag to expand fully.