mother and daoughter in the bathroom, laughing as daughter puts cream on mother's nose


How to Keep Your Bathroom Odour and Mould Free

Tip: A ventilation system with a run-on timer is a smart investment as it will automatically run the fan for a set period of time after the system has been switched off – say 10 minutes – to remove any lingering moisture or smells.

Wes Quick, Director at ventilation firm Expella, shares his top tips for preventing mould and funky smells from taking over your bathroom.

A damp, poorly ventilated bathroom is a breeding ground for mould and funky odours, making it unpleasant to use and downright embarrassing when you have guests over.

There are health considerations too: mould is a fungus that, if left untreated, can produce harmful toxins and irritants. According to the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), a family of four produces on average seven or more kilograms of water vapour per day from showering and bathing. Without sufficient ventilation, this saturated air creates the perfect conditions for mould growth.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep the area mould-free and smelling sweet.

What can I do to keep mould and odours at bay?

  • Clean bathroom surfaces and fixtures (bath, toilet and vanity) at least once a week.
  • Get into some good daily habits: keep a squeegee in your shower and give the surface a quick once over after showering. This will cut down your cleaning time and prohibit mould growth.
  • Remove hair from the shower drain or any gunk from the shower base before you step out after washing.
  • Keep the bathroom door open when the room is not in use to improve air flow.
  • Open windows after showering or bathing to let out the steam and moisture.
  • Install a ventilation system to remove moisture and odours from the bathroom and draw fresh air into the space. Run it before, during and after bathing or using the bathroom.

What else I can do?

  • Wash towels weekly – damp towels can add to the stench in your bathroom.
  • Add a few plants to your bathroom to help absorb some of the moisture in the air. Moisture-loving plants, such as maidenhair ferns and peace lilies, do particularly well in bathrooms.

Should I keep the shower curtain open or closed after use?

I’d suggest leaving it closed (with the curtain extended) as this will allow it to dry out more thoroughly, reducing moisture in the bathroom.

Where does bathroom mould start?

Generally, in corners such as wall and floor junctions. If wall surfaces are cold enough, mould can also form on the grout between the tiles.

How do you know when the bathroom has been ventilated enough?

Look at the mirror – when there is little or no steam on the surface, your bathroom has been sufficiently ventilated.

How does a bathroom ventilation system help?

A bathroom ventilation system is the fastest and most effective way to remove moisture and odours from the bathroom and draw fresh air into the space, creating a healthier, fresher environment. While it won’t stop mould from developing, it will prevent it from becoming overgrown and potentially toxic.