We can’t all live in a brand new building or refurbished home. We can and should demand cleanliness and good hygiene, however, wherever we reside. I try to anticipate problems and check out the status of the environment every chance I get, and I require proper maintenance and repair. Sometimes you just overlook the obvious. The big things stand out like broken appliances, windows, and doors. Maybe the A/C is out of whack. A few areas of bathroom mold and mildew go undetected. But not this time!

One day it just struck me as a growing, menacing being. I was totally grossed out by its appearance, having better standards to which I aspire. I felt like I was living in a Petri dish with foreign stuff growing inside. Mold is not always for the betterment of science!

I tried various cleaning products of all types and strengths. The ones labeled “green” were bleach-free and did not do more than fade the color a bit. The ones with bleach worked better, but an obvious residue remained. I tried scrubbing and scraping with steel wool pads, but saw a lingering trace on my tile. Anything stronger was going to kill me from exposure to be sure. I even thought of blasting it off as a last resort.

Mold can be eliminated short term, but guess what, it returns to its habitual place. It takes one more steamy shower to bring this about. There must be a secret to success for other homeowners experiencing the same plight. They either put up with it or resort to less misty baths.

Then I climbed out of the Petri dish and discovered the humble bathroom dehumidifier. This is an entirely different approach to managing the environment in your bathroom. These units come in small sizes suitable for modest bathroom spaces, and they do pack a wallop. Moisture in the air is simply verboten. A little machine has the ability to dry out most any dew-laden environment. They stop the mold from rearing once again its ugly head.

I count the humidifier as an essential of bathroom life along with the electric toothbrush, razor, and nail file (yes I have one of those sets). Here’s how it works: you select the appropriate model for its output size. It comes with a water tank or bucket that collects the moisture unless you use a pump tied to a drain (in which case you will need a connection kit). The machine will have an auto-shut feature to prevent overflow spills. I advocate an energy efficient unit to be green. Some units have an “econo” setting as well as a humidistat and/or hygrometer.

Sounds simple enough from a technical point of view. There isn’t much to know and little maintenance to fear. A console model will sit inconspicuously on any shelf or counter top to do its job. That blackish mold will have met its match in a few days’ time. You will feel the clean permeate your bathroom and your tiles will be pristine.