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A damp environment is a germ’s best friend, and there is no place in your home with more moisture than the bathroom. For this damp and highly trafficked area, regular cleaning just isn’t enough. But with a few extra precautions, you can conquer bathroom mold and mildew once and for all.

Got mold? Start with a frontal assault

If your bathroom has existing mold or mildew, ridding the room of the invaders is the hardest part. After that, you can prevent the return of germs with proper daily maintenance—and you’ll never have to scour again (unless your mother-in-law is coming over).

Use a powerful cleaner like Lysol Mold & Mildew Blaster, which is easy to spray on and wipe off with a sponge or paper towel. For tougher mold or mildew stains, allow the cleaner to set for 10 minutes and then wipe off. Ventilate the room while cleaning by turning on the fan and opening the window or door.

Moving air is your bathroom’s best friend

Speaking of ventilation: With all the humidity that collects in the bathroom, especially after the morning round of showers, airing out the room is one of the best ways to fight mold and mildew. Always run the ventilation fan during and after showers, and keep the bathroom door open when not in use to allow fresh air to circulate in and to push humidity out.

Stay on top of your shower

Your shower and curtains or doors tend to get wet and stay wet, making them magnets for mildew. To keep mildew from forming, store a small squeegee in the shower and try to wipe down the walls (and door, if you have one) after every couple of showers.

For shower curtains, clean them daily with a germ-killing product such as Lysol Disinfecting Spray, or toss them in the wash regularly if they’re fabric and machine-washable.

Tame germ-breeding towels

The most important bathroom habit for everyone in your family to follow isn’t the never-ending seat-up, seat-down battle—it’s not leaving wet towels on the floor. This practice encourages spores and mold to develop, which not only linger in the air, but also end up on the next person to use the towel.

Make sure everyone spreads out and hangs up towels right after drying. You should also launder towels and replace them with fresh ones every 3 to 5 uses, which is different from 3 to 5 days. This is because with each use, dead skin cells collect in the towels—so let your teen know that towels don’t stay clean just because they’re used to dry freshly washed bodies.

Ditch carpets and soft mats

Hard surfaces in a bathroom are fairly easy to keep clean. Soft, porous surfaces—not so much. While a carpeted bathroom might be luxurious, it’s a veritable field day for mold and mildew. The same goes for plushy bath mats and carpet runner catch-alls.

Consider replacing any bathroom carpets with tile, laminates, or linoleum for easier cleaning and germ maintenance. If you can’t bring yourself to trade your soft bath rug for a plastic or gel model, make sure it’s laundered as frequently as your towels to keep mold and mildew at a minimum.

By attacking mildew at the source, you can help make your bathroom a haven for suds, not spores.