How to clean mold in the shower – expert tips for a hygienic shower space

The shower is a common place to find black mold, here is how to kill the spores and lighten the stains

A large shower in a converted attic with beige herringbone tiles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The shower is one of the areas most prone to developing mold, which is not only bad for your health but also puts a real dampener on the look of your bathroom. 

Like cleaning mold on a shower curtain, getting rid of black mold on the walls and tiles of the shower is not always as simple as spraying it with anti-mold spray, however, as black mold stains grout and sealant, leaving horrid black marks making cleaning a bathroom even tougher. 

Here, the cleaning experts have shared their top cleaning tips for mold in the shower. 

How to clean mold in the shower 

Tackling shower mold is an important job to tackle and, luckily, simple to do. You only need two ingredients – and you’ll likely already have them at home.

Monochrome bathroom with wall lanterns

(Image credit: AMC Design/Photography by Heidi Marfitt and Chris Snook)

The best solution for cleaning mold in a shower is an equal mix of water and white vinegar, says Michael Golubev, CEO and expert at Mold Busters. Mixing the two in a spray bottle is the easiest way to kill mold spores. What’s more, cleaning with vinegar is also ideal for getting rid of bathroom ceiling mold and cleaning glass shower doors for a streak-free shine, making the solution perfect for an all-around clean. 

‘Leave the solution to sit on the moldy areas for around 30 minutes, or an hour or two if you can, before scrubbing with a soft brush and rinsing with plain water,’ Michael adds. If the mold remains or returns quickly for whatever reason, then you can turn to a commercial mold spray, such as this mold and mildew spray from Amazon, he says. When using this method, you should always wear gloves and ensure proper ventilation. 

6% Distilled White Cleaning Vinegar | $11.99 at Amazon

6% Distilled White Cleaning Vinegar | $11.99 at Amazon
This specially formulated white vinegar with cleaning strength at 6% acidity lifts grime and breaks down grease, mineral deposits, lime scale, and killing mold and bacteria.

How to remove mold stains in the shower

Marble shower, black handles

(Image credit: Elisa Baran)

Once you have used vinegar to kill mold, you may be left with some dark staining that seems almost impossible to remove and can ruin the look of your shower. Luckily, the experts have some top tips that make removing these marks a breeze.  

1. Using a baking soda paste  

Cleaning with baking soda provides a whitening effect for mold stains – especially if you cleared the mold away as soon as it formed. 

Use this gentle abrasive by combining it with just enough water to make a paste and applying it liberally to the stain, suggests Penny Nicholas, cleaning expert and founder of Sparkling Penny ‘Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it away and rising with water.’ 

Penny Nicholas
Penny Nicholas

Penny Nicholas is the professional cleaner behind cleaning blog Sparkling Penny. She aims to be a a go-to source for all things cleaning around the home after learning top cleaning tricks and hacks running her own holiday cottage for over ten years. 

2. Consider a commercial grout cleaner 

Cleaning grout in a shower can be tricky as it absorbs moisture and clings onto stains. If baking soda has not proved strong enough, or you have much older stains, then a commercial grout cleaner could be a more viable alternative. 

‘If mold has stained the sealant or grout, try using a specialized grout cleaner, suggests Michael Golubev, mold removal expert. One highly rated option is the Black Diamond grout cleaner on Amazon.

Apply it across the stained area and allow it to sit for the recommended time, usually a few minutes to an hour depending on the brand, he says. ‘You can then scrub with a toothbrush or a soft brush and rinse.’

3. Consider replacing stained sealents

Unfortunately, very old mold stains may be impossible to remove, and may not even lighten with bleach. If the marks bother you or are covering a large portion of your shower, then it may be time to consider replacing your sealants.

‘Mold can burrow deep into porous materials like grout and sealant, making it tough to remove. If the mold is only on the surface, you can try using a bleach solution or vinegar to remove it, if this doesn't work, then it may be too late to salvage,’ says Penny Nicholas, cleaning expert.

How to prevent mold in showers

Shower room with textured tiles

(Image credit: West One Bathrooms)

Prevention is always easier than the cure when it comes to home maintenance and, while mold in a shower is one of the more difficult things to avoid entirely, there are a few things you can do to keep on top of it.

1. Ensure good bathroom ventilation 

The first bathroom design mistake to avoid is not having enough ventilation. Add in a fan to help exhaust excess moisture during and after showers – even if your bathroom has an external window, as this makes all the difference in removing moisture and mold spores before they settle. 

‘We turn on the bathroom vent while we shower and leave it running for about 15 minutes afterward to help reduce moisture which can cause mold growth in showers,’ says Danielle Skeaton, cleaning influencer, homemaker, and lifestyle blogger.  

Danielle Skeaton

Danielle Skeaton is a mom, cleanfluencer, and lifestyle blogger. Her goal is to help other busy families manage all things home from cleaning to what to cook for dinner that night. She believes that getting organized is the secret to staing sane.

2. Keep beauty products dry and away from showers 

It is normal to keep our body washes in the shower where we use them, but hollow lids can harbor moisture that encourages mold growth, Danielle Skeaton points out.

‘I just recently found mold growing on the lid of my Dove body scrub and had to clean it with disinfectant wipes to kill all the bacteria. Now I store it in the organizers under the bathroom sink instead of in my shower when I’m not using it,’ says Danielle. 

3. Keep the shower clean and dry between uses 

A shower is designed to get wet, but drying it down afterward with a cloth or a squeegee can help to prevent mold spores from developing on your grouting and sealant, says mold removal expert, Michael Golubev. 

‘Regularly clean and dry surfaces in the shower, including tiles, grout, and fixtures and keep a squeegee on hand to remove excess water from shower walls after each and every use – every little helps.’

SetSail Shower Squeegee | $8.99 at Amazon

 SetSail Shower Squeegee | $8.99 at Amazon
This shower squeegee comes with a convenient holder to keep in your shower for easy cleaning after every wash. 


Is bleach or vinegar better to kill mold?

Studies by the EPA have not only shown that vinegar is better at killing mold than bleach but bleach should be avoided altogether when it comes to dealing with mold around the home. Bleach was found to leave a background level of mold spores behind, contributing to the regrowth of mold within days or weeks.  

Can I leave vinegar on mold overnight?

It is best to spray vinegar on the mold and leave it for one hour before wiping it away and thoroughly drying the area. Vinegar is great for killing mold, however, as a liquid, can dampen the area and encourage mold growth if left without drying.

After wiping away the mold, use a dry towel, dehumidifier, or small heater to help dry the wall out completely and remove any vinegar smell.  

Cleaning mold in a shower may not be the most glamorous of tasks, but it is essential to keeping your shower space hygienic, safe, and looking its best.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.