Living in a poorly ventilated bathroom is a miserable experience. “Poor bathroom ventilation can create ideal conditions for biological growth on tile grout, drywall and wood,” says Traci Fournier, vice president of operations for One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning. Walls, floors, and ceilings. Poorly ventilated bathrooms can also place a greater load on the air conditioning system.” In addition to the prevalence of allergens, irritants, and potentially toxic substances, poorly ventilated bathrooms can lead to peeling paint and/or wallpaper, Water spots on fabrics, condensation on windows, or slippery floors.
Broken or non-existent exhaust fans and lack of functional windows are responsible for most major ventilation problems, so Fournier recommends focusing on these areas to improve bathroom airflow. “Ventilation can be as simple as opening a window while showering or running an exhaust fan to keep air circulating throughout the room.”
Ahead, with the help of HVAC experts, we’ve rounded up 14 products to solve problems associated with poor bathroom ventilation.
“There are several things that can limit ventilation in a bathroom,” says Darcy Lee, senior product manager at Trane Residential. “One of the biggest culprits is not turning on the fan in the shower, or in older homes, no fan at all.” Running your shower or tub can increase humidity in your bathroom. Lee explained that without a fan to move the air, moisture can stay in the room and spread to surrounding rooms. “So turn on the fan a few minutes before you shower and leave it on after you shower to continue to draw the humid air out of the bathroom.”
Try the Vornado Energy Smart Circulator Fan, our pick for the best floor fan in our review of the best cooling fans.
Pairing a small-footprint fan with a wall-mounted corner shelf is a smart way to create room for a fan in a bathroom with limited space and poor airflow. Look for so-called “stand fans” — which can sit on a shelf, counter, or table — such as the Vornado Energy Smart Circulation Fan above.
Small wall-mounted fans are another way to bring air flow to small bathrooms that don’t have enough room for larger fans that require floor or counter space.
If drywall damage isn’t an issue, a full-size wall-mounted fan is one of the best options for increasing circulation in your bathroom without major renovations. When picking a fan, Lee reminds us that size matters. “Sometimes the fan is not big enough to ventilate the bathroom to get rid of the humidity.”
DampRid is a desiccant: it absorbs moisture from the air and helps regulate humidity and moisture levels. Bathrooms that are prone to humidity due to environmental or design factors are both unpleasant and difficult to keep clean, as high humidity promotes bacterial growth and leads to lingering odors. DampRid solves this problem and helps prevent moisture-borne odors like mold and mildew.
Certain houseplants have desiccant properties, which means they absorb moisture from the air. “Add houseplants to reduce indoor humidity and make your home feel welcoming,” says Lee. “Peace lilies absorb moisture and toxins through their leaves. Peace lilies only need indirect sunlight to grow and are ideal houseplants.”
“If you’re looking for a plant to hang,” says Lee, “English ivy is probably the way to go. When they’re hung high, they absorb moisture rising from the air, and you don’t have to worry about putting them run down.”
“If you think the humidity problem is short-term,” says Lee, “you might want to consider a stand-alone dehumidifier. Keep in mind these take up space in the bathroom, and you’ll need to empty the water container regularly or find a drain.” Dehumidification by Frigidaire The Dehumidifier is our top pick in dehumidifier reviews. And don’t forget to clean and maintain your dehumidifier regularly.
Too much moisture can breed mold, mildew, and Serratia marcescens, a pink-orange bacterium commonly found on bathroom drains and grout lines. Keeping your shower dry by using a squeegee to blot water off the walls after you shower can help keep these germs out.
Sometimes the problem of poor bathroom ventilation is just one of smells. Pot deodorizers are the “set and forget” of the odor world, and they’re a great option for blocking odors in spaces like the bathroom or kitchen because you can leave them outside and let them do the work for you, No action is required on your part.
X-14 is a mildew remover and an excellent cleaner for removing bacterial growth on bathroom grout, tile, vinyl or plastic surfaces. However, it is a heavy-duty cleaning product, so it is essential to wear household protective gloves and ensure that the work area is well ventilated when using it; wearing a face mask when spraying X-14 is also recommended.
Another way to control moisture-related bacterial growth in your bathroom is with your choice of paint. “If you’re redesigning or remodeling your bathroom,” Lee says, “consider using an anti-mold paint and primer. Even if you only use this paint on the lower portion of the walls, it will cover up old mold and prevent it from appearing. New spots.”
Homeowners considering renovations to address poor ventilation should take steps to address the problem first. “If you think the problem is a longer-term problem,” Lee said, “first you need to measure the humidity in the bathroom. You can add a stand-alone humidity sensor or use a sensor that connects directly to the HVAC system”