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Banish Bathroom Mold and Mildew for Good

May 25, 2024
Banish Bathroom Mold and Mildew for Good

The Pesky Fungus That Haunted My Home

Everyone has been bothered by the occasional gnat flying around their face at some point. But if you have houseplants, that little gnat could actually be a big problem. In this post, I’m breaking down how I eliminated my fungus gnat infestation and how to prevent it from happening again in the future.

A good while ago (longer than I’d like to admit), I started noticing gnats flying around my house. I’d squish them and move on, but the problem persisted – and then multiplied. It got to a point where I couldn’t sit and watch a show in the living room anymore because I was constantly distracted by these obnoxious little insects. Then I realized it wasn’t just a few summer bugs that made their way inside – it was coming from my plants!

After some research, I quickly discovered that I had a gulp fungus gnat infestation. Fungus gnats are tiny flies that survive off the fungus in your plant soil. They’re dark gray in color and only about 1/8″ long. They don’t bite and are harmless to humans. Aside from being unbearably annoying, adult fungus gnats won’t directly harm your plants. I say “directly” because their offspring most definitely can. Fungus gnat larvae survive by eating fungi, organic matter in the soil, and the roots of plants, which can cause damage.

My Futile Attempts to Banish the Gnats

I tried several methods to kill my herd of intruders before I finally found a solution. But first, here are some frequently-mentioned remedies that didn’t work for me or were just too inconvenient to try:

Apple Cider Vinegar
Every time I’ve looked up a method to get rid of fungus gnats or fruit flies, the mixture of apple cider vinegar, dish soap, and water is always at the top of the list – and it has NEVER worked for me. This time was no exception. It seems like the smell is just as obnoxious to the bugs as it is to my nose, and no one wants to go near the stuff.

Neem Oil & Other Sprays
Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide and came up frequently as an option to rid my life of fungus gnats, so I gave it a whirl. But I had some issues with it. First of all, the suggested application was to drench my plants in neem oil – including the tops AND bottoms of leaves as well as the stems. This proved to be a really messy endeavor, especially when dealing with an oily substance. On top of that, although the smell isn’t super strong, I definitely wasn’t a fan. Needless to say, this method didn’t work either. I also tried other sprays that claimed to kill fungus gnats but to no avail.

Waiting Longer Between Waterings
Because fungus gnats thrive off the decaying material in soil, which is exacerbated by dampness, the idea behind this method makes sense. This seemed to work in the short term, but I ended up needing to water my plants before they died and the gnat problem picked right back up.

The Dunk That Did the Trick

In the depths of the interwebs, after reading about oh-so-many solutions that didn’t work, I came across an article that recommended using mosquito dunks. Mosquito dunks are small beige discs that are typically used for standing water (i.e. birdbaths). As they dissolve, they release a bacteria that is poisonous to mosquitos – and apparently to fungus gnats!

For the next couple of months (yes, you read that right), every time I watered my plants, I would break off a quarter of a disc, crumble it into my watering can, and let it sit in water overnight to give it time to release the bacteria. I would then water my plants the next day.

While the sticky traps stopped the adult gnats in their tracks, the mosquito dunks killed them early in their lifecycle. I started noticing a difference after the first watering, but it took about 8 tries to completely get rid of the gnats. During that time, I kept a close eye on the sticky traps and switched them out as needed. This helped me gauge how many gnats were still reaching adulthood and whether I needed to continue the mosquito dunk treatment. And now, I’m so happy to say that I’m gnat free!

Preventing a Gnat Relapse

I’d really prefer not to deal with this little problem ever again (and I bet you feel the same!), so below are some tips to avoid a gnat relapse:

Before you even hit the check-out line, look closely for any small bugs flying around the leaves of your new buddy. Also, check the soil for larvae – which will be clear or whitish in color with a black head. Once you bring your new plant home, give it a good shower to wash away any potential hitchhikers. And although it may be the most effective in entirely ridding your plants of gnats, wiping down the leaves with neem oil will help prevent bugs from sticking around (and it adds a nice shine!).

Lastly, isolate your new plant for the first month before you introduce it to the rest of the gang. This will give you time to identify any critters you may have missed and treat the individual plant before the problem can spread.

As I mentioned above, fungus gnats LOOOVE damp soil. To make your plants less appealing, make sure to only water when the top couple of inches of soil is dry and make sure any extra water has somewhere to go. Overwatering can also lead to root rot in plants, so consider this an extra important tip!

In the grand scheme of things, I’m a relatively new plant owner – and I’m learning new things about their care all the time! This experience was definitely a lesson learned for me, and hopefully, you found it helpful if you’re dealing with the same pesky problem.

Banish Bathroom Mold and Mildew for Good

Mold and mildew are another pest that can wreak havoc on your home, especially in the bathroom. If your bathroom is frequently damp and humid, chances are you’ve dealt with stubborn growth on your tiles, grout, or even your walls.

Just like with fungus gnats, the key to getting rid of mold and mildew for good is controlling moisture. This means ensuring your bathroom is properly ventilated, fixing any leaks, and drying surfaces thoroughly after each use. Letting water sit and stagnate is an open invitation for mold and mildew to move in.

To banish these fungal freeloaders, you’ll need a few simple cleaning supplies. Household items like hydrogen peroxide, bleach, and white vinegar can all be effective in killing mold and mildew. Just be sure to wear protective gear like gloves and a mask to avoid breathing in the spores.

Beyond regular cleaning, there are some other steps you can take to prevent mold and mildew from returning. Consider upgrading your bathroom exhaust fan to improve air circulation, and seal any cracks or crevices where moisture can collect. You may also want to look into using mold-resistant paint or grout sealant for added protection.

Regular maintenance is key when it comes to keeping mold and mildew at bay in the bathroom. But with a little elbow grease and the right cleaning products, you can banish these fungal foes for good and create a cleaner, healthier space. No more musty odors or unsightly growths – just a sparkling, mold-free bathroom that you can feel good about.

So what are you waiting for? Suit up, grab your cleaning supplies, and let’s get to work on making your bathroom a mold-free oasis!

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