Mold & Mildew Risk in Bathrooms + Powerful Essential Oils

Mildew affects homes and buildings world-wide. It's a fungus that thrives in warm, moist environments, making bathrooms especially prone to the fungus. As fungus does, it replicates via spores that spread through the air.
Mildew can lurk in cracks and corners in bathrooms, such as bathtubs, showers, countertops, and toilets. Many individuals can detect mildew due to its distinctive smell and potential irritating qualities. While it can be highly allergenic, it can also be dangerous, especially to the lungs and sinuses.
A run-down of mold and mildew in bathrooms via ECOLUXE*:
ECOLUXE and other cleaning professionals tackle mildew by first tackling its sources, the root causes enabling it to fester and grow, such as old soap, grime, dirt, and residues.
Is bleach the best solution for mold and mildew in bathrooms?
Various restrictions prevent natural-based cleaning professionals from utilizing chlorine bleach, and bleach is not part of a non-toxic cleaning program. If you're an ECOLUXE client, using bleach independently to help control mildew growth between cleaning service visits is a choice unto you, the client, but caveats absolutely exist:
Should bleach be utilized, please do not use bleach for two to three days preceding a scheduled natural product-based professional cleaning so chlorine residue does not combine with non-toxic cleaning formulas, thereby risking an unpredictable gaseous result.
Normally, chlorine bleach is not utilized in green cleaning protocol. . . .
However, when it comes to mold and mildew, it is often turned to by home-owners themselves, but with specific handling and acumen required.
After all, an improper ratio of bleach can erode surfaces, and the substance can be dangerous to skin, eyes, the respiratory system, and so forth.
Should bleach be utilized, careful analysis and observation of the substrate being disinfected is required and is the responsibility of the individual administering bleach as a mold or mildew treatment.
Continued treatment will need to occur at least weekly until the environment is changed to effetively impede mildew.
Post-removal, if the environment remains poorly ventilated, warm, and with spore germination potential, mildew will again take hold and thrive.
The environment has to change in order to prevent food sources for the mildew. Factors that help impede mildew include --
-- good air circulation
-- clean surfaces without spores
-- dry surfaces
-- sunlight
Mildew brings concerns beyond a dirty, unkept aesthetic, such as myriad health concerns.
It's imperative mildew be kept at bay through regular cleanings, but, even more importantly, an environment non-conducive to mold and mildew growth needs to be achieved and maintained.
If non-toxic cleaning companies like ECOLUXE do not utilize bleach, what do they do to fight against mold and mildew?
Essential oils and extracts within non-toxic-rated formulas are utilized. Check out some nuggets from official studies citing the value of herbs, botanicals, and other natural compounds aiding in either mold or mildew removal and/or mycotoxin mitigation:
A number of herbs and spices possess antifungal activity. At a level of 2.0%, in YES agar, cloves, cinnamon, mustard, allspice, garlic and oregano all completely inhibit mycotoxin production by a number of mycotoxigenic molds. Cloves, cinnamon and mustard seem to be the most effective of those tested, with complete inhibition occurring with amounts of spice less than 1%. Essential oils of orange and lemon also have antifungal properties at levels of 0.2 % and higher.
Check out more accolades earned by nature's remedies:
Thyme essential oil (Thymus vulgaris) is already known to be effective against fungi infecting humans. Its antifungal activity is due to its high concentration of thymol and carvacrol [20].
Ahmad et al. demonstrated an inhibition of Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis with Thymus vulgaris essential oil and these major constituents at 62 µg/mL. Daferera et al. showed an activity on Fusarium spp with an ED50 (dose of essential oil that inhibits 50% of mycelium) at 71 µg/mL [21]. Finally, a study by Klarić et al. showed that molds such as Aspergillus spp, Penicillium spp and Cladosporium spp could be completely inhibited with a thyme oil concentration of 9.85, 19.17 and 15.20 µg/mL, respectively [22].
Moreover, in one of these studies Pinto et al. successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of Thymus pulegioides essential oil against various filamentous fungi (Aspergillus spp and Dermatophytes) and yeasts (Candida spp) with MICs (the minimal concentration that inhibits 100% growth of the fungi) between 0.16 and 0.64 µg/mL [20].
Oregano essential oil (Origanum vulgare) has been studied for its effectiveness against bacteria responsible for food spoilage, as well as for its potential role as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetes and cancer suppressing agent. Its antifungal effect has also been recognized [26].
In addition, Daferera et al. demonstrated an efficacy against Botrytis cinerea and Fusarium sp., with an ED50 of 50 µg/mL against these two fungi [21].
A study by Santoyo et al. also found a MIC of 1.48 to 1.75 mg/mL against Candida albicans and 2.75 to 2.85 mg/mL against Aspergillus niger [27]. Finally, another study by Khosravi et al. showed a MIC between 0.5 and 1,100 µg/mL against Candida glabrata [28]. Although the difference between MICs for the same species is important, it is not surprising. Indeed, each strain may respond differently according to their own sensitivity.
Eucalyptus contains more than 800 species and is one of the most used plants in the world. Eucalyptus essential oil, which is mainly composed of 1.8 cineole (or eucalyptol), is studied for its antimicrobial, antiparasitic, antidiabetic, antihistaminic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activity [41]. The Eucalyptus citriodora essential oil is the most marketed in the world, and its efficacy has been demonstrated against Candida albicans with a MIC of 318 µg/mL [42].
Moreover, in one of his studies, Elansany et al. demonstrated the effectiveness of Eucalyptus camaldulensis oil against various pathogenic fungi including Penicillium funiculosum, Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus flavus, and showed a MIC of 0.15 mg/mL, 0.47 mg/mL and 0.43 mg/mL, respectively [43].
Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) essential oil is used as an antiseptic against infectious diseases (such as periodontal diseases for example) or in the food industry as an additive or as an antiseptic [44]. The antifungal activity has also been proven in several publications. A MIC at 90% inhibition was demonstrated against Candida albicans between 6.2 and 7.5 μL/mL [45].
Dianez et al. determined an ED50 for this oil against several pathogenic strains, for example 447 µg/mL against Fusarium oxysporum and 540 µg/mL against Alternaria brassicae [24].
When it comes to mold and mildew in bathrooms, it's best to defer to the professionals. Spores can get air-bound, and, in avoiding bleach, special formulations with essential oils and various compounds are useful and entrusted in conjunction with other cleaning agents. Even essential oil-based products require care in curating, sourcing, and handling. Have you turned to any professional cleaners and non-toxic-rated products to battle against mold and mildew? We'd love to hear from you!
*Note: ECOLUXE is a natural cleaning company owned by Lauren, owner of this site: Direct affiliation exists. ECOLUXE currently serves Hill Country, Texas.