Your Place: Dealing with mold in bathroom tile

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Q: I renovated my bathroom about eight years ago and put expensive marble tile on the wall above the bath. I now have some black mold growing in the cracks between the top of the bathtub and the tiles. I have tried mold-removal cleaners, bleach, and other products, with only limited success.

Any ideas how to remove this? I would hate to try to take off the tiles.

A: The experts say that while a low level of mold will have little effect on most people, if you are allergic to mold or you suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems, the presence of mold can be particularly bothersome.

Exposure to indoor mold also has been shown to exacerbate asthma symptoms in sensitive individuals, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

I use one of those environmentally friendly tub and tile cleaners because a family member is somewhat sensitive to the heavy-duty stuff .

You say, "Growing in the cracks." Are you referring to the grout lines or the caulking that delineates the edge of the tub and the start of tiles on the wall?

You can remove the caulk, clean with detergent (the academy suggested vinegar but no proportions, and I have never used it or a bleach-water mixture), and then use a mold-resistant replacement caulk.

This work is something you'd have to do yourself, since it is not cost-effective for most professionals.

If the mold is under the tile, then you would have to have it removed, which would be an expensive and messy prospect.

Mold and mildew in the grout lines and the caulking can be handled relatively easily. I would start there.