How to remove mildew from small rubbery bathroom items
January 31, 2010 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Can I remove mildew from rubbery bathroom items?

Sorry if this question has been posted here before - I looked but didn't see this specific issue.

Basically, I have two items in the bathroom that are mildewy as well as being a rubbery type of material. They don't smell, but I'd like to get at least some of the black stuff off as opposed to replacing them. One of them is my Gillette Sensor Excel razor. It's got all these ridges that collect water: Gillette Sensor Excel

The other thing is our hair catcher that goes over the shower drain. It's just a white rubber thing. The bottom is all mildewy and gross.

Is there hope for these items, or is this pretty much permanent staining?
posted by wondermouse to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Soak them in bleachy water for a while, then scrub with steel wool. A single-edge razor blade is useful for scraping gunk out of corners.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:45 AM on January 31, 2010

Scrub with a brush to remove gunk, wipe with tea tree oil to protect. Bleach ruins rubber.
posted by hortense at 10:32 AM on January 31, 2010

Bleach destroys the plasticizers found in most flexible products. It makes them dry out and get brittle. If you must use bleach then use it in a very diluted concentration and do not leave anything soaking in for more than an hour.

And DO NOT mix bleach with any other cleaning products. The risk is producing poisonous chlorine gas and killing yourself, or permanently damaging your lungs.

Generally mildew won't develop if you keep the surfaces DRY. Don't set the razor down and leave water pooled on it. Hang it up, out of the shower. Same thing goes for the drain cover. By leaving them damp you're just asking for mildew to grow on them. Yes, it's added effort but certainly less than scrubbing them over and over...

Steel wool is a bad suggestion. That will just leave tiny shreds of the steel behind and eventually cause rust spotting.

Stuff like razors and the drain cover are designed to be replaced. Probably more often than you're doing now.
posted by wkearney99 at 12:49 PM on January 31, 2010

I do know what causes mildew, but that doesn't help me when the items are already mildewy. And I don't think non-disposable razor handles should have to be replaced all that often, or ever, really, as long as they work. I'm happy replacing the blade, not the handle. Plus, that razor has been discontinued and is expensive if I want to order another one somewhere online, and I really like it. The drain cover I have less attachment to but still would rather try to salvage it than buy a new one.

Thanks for the warnings about using bleach. I think I'll try the tea tree oil. Any additional rubbery mildew-killing suggestions welcome!
posted by wondermouse at 2:07 PM on January 31, 2010

Oil of cloves.
posted by taff at 3:44 PM on January 31, 2010

Five or ten minutes in dilute bleach when things get grotty fixes this in my humid bathroom. My drain cover has gotten this treatment every couple of weeks for at least the last three years, it's fine and hasn't degraded at all.
posted by desuetude at 4:13 PM on January 31, 2010

Run them through the dishwasher, in the cutlery tray. Clean, fresh and EASY!

I do my razor handle, the soap dish, the shower rack this way. Works everytime.
posted by saradarlin at 12:01 AM on February 1, 2010

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