Venus: Have you noticed the funny smell in your shower?

Mars:   Sorta...

Venus: Have you noticed that there is something growing in there?

Mars:   Huh?

Venus: Don't you feel strange about stepping in all that slime?

Mars:   Green stuff?

Venus: Doesn't having a clean place make you feel good?

Mars:   Feelings?

Venus: Never mind. Let's talk about science.

Mars:   Science?

Venus: Mold! The shower is full of mold!

Mars:   Is that what that is?


Mars:   If I step on that stuff will it get on my toes? EEEWWWWW....

Venus: Please buy some Clorox.

Mars:   Why?

Venus: That the only thing that will kill the mold.

Mars:   Isn't that really bad for the environment?

Venus: Hoisted by my own petard!

Mars:   What's a petard?

Venus:  None of your business. One teaching moment at a time. Go online and please find out what kills mold besides bleach. And don't give me vinegar. They always say vinegar. For everything. If it isn't vinegar, it's baking soda. But none of it ever works.

Mars:   (with a pitying, worried look...) Sure. Sure thing.

......Weeks pass.....


Anonymous said...

Absolutely nothing wrong w/a little bleach, IMHO.

Judith Ross said...

At least you can have the conversation!

Lines of Beauty said...

Try tee tree oil.I haven't tried it but I hear it works.

karenleslie said...

the goddess of love and beauty has a few issues with the god of war. feelings? yes dominique, you distilled it all quite nicely.

Thea said...

but i thought bleach was a natural byproduct of something organic.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Gee. I hate to say it, but I think bleach is the only choice. If you want to be really sure it's gone, that is. Personally, I really have an aversion to that moldy smell, so I'd grab the bleach and be done with it. Of course, you might gently tell Mars that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Cristina said...

aka "Mother & Son clean house", I suppose!

Lisa Stockwell said...

Sons helping clean the bathroom? That's a concept!

But on the subject of cleaning products, I've actually had good luck with Trader Joe's Multi-purpose cleaner. (It's the only cleaning product I use.) Its ingredients are water, cedarwood and cleary sage essential oils, grain alcohol, natural surfactants and a little color. It does a fine job of cleaning the grout between the tiles in the shower although I admit it doesn't take the stain away from the bottom of my 60 year old tub.

Another option is to buy a hand-held steamer and hit the dirt with that, followed by the all-purpose cleaner. I bought one for $20 that works well.

If you're actually talking about black mold, that requires more care in removing so you don't inhale or spread the pores to other areas of the house. I found this website to be helpful: http://www.toxic-black-mold-info.com/

Lori said...

Brilliant! At least it's not only MY son who is nearly impossible to engage in an important conversation! I had nearly the identical conversation with him just two days ago--about a totally different subject, but exactly the same problem connecting! It's just too much trouble for them to bother plugging into what we're saying. Perhaps if we had moving virtual creatures on our screen interfaces, or came after them with assault lasers.... Bravo to you for persisting. (And personally, I use both vinegar AND bleach, in that order--not together. The vinegar neutralizes the hard water pH so the bleach can actually break through to the gunk to kill it. A lot less scrubbing--it does half the work for you.) Thank you for sharing! It was delightful. Eeuwwy mold and all.

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

Seventh Generation all purpose cleaner

profA said...

Vapamore! A steam cleaner available on line. No need to use anything but H20. A great toy!
In special, but very special, instances a weak bleach solution on an old tooth brush. How about a little Tide with bleach on a tooth brush.
Thank you for the tip on the website, Lisa Stockwell, and for the Trader Joe's Multi tip.
Linda B.

Deborah A said...

I use bleach on my deck twice a summer. I usually start out in sane frame of mind. I mix 1/4 cup into a large spray bottle of water, put on old clothes and gloves and start spraying the stuff on the green slimey areas.
When that gets to hard on my hands (pumping the stuff)and they start to cramp, I decide this is taking too long....so I go get a big pail full of hot water and a little dish det. and start emptying a huge bottle of bleach into it, stir it with a broom, then completely out of my mind I start heaving and throwing the water/bleach mixture all over the deck, after about three pails of water and 2 gallons of bleach, which incidentally drips down to a cement patio underneath, I have successfully cleaned my deck and cement patio of any green slime. I then throw the clothes away and shower. I also do the same thing to my outdoor shower. I hate bleach, it so harsh...but it does the job and I do get most of the summer out of it. We had a water pressure cleaner but it broke and really didn't do a great job. 2 years ago I had it done professionally $450 later it was clean as a whistle. But we still got green slime after a month in small areas. Living near the water is a real problem, the humidity causes all that green build up. I can say I have none in my inside baths, I would really freak if I did, we pretty much live in A/C all summer so the house stays dry.

Deborah A said...

Oh by the way, I just read a tip on how to keep your birdbath free of that green algae that builds up. Pick a small bunch of lavender and bundle it and tie it with twine, float it in the bird bath, change the lavender every 3 weeks.

c said...

Venus vs Mars ... age-old and so, so, true.

You are never better IMO, than when you write about real life relationships. Thanks again.

Love it when you post about your sons more-than-human shortcomings (not that we moms have any!), makes me feel I'm not such a nut case after all.

Deborah A - lavender in a bird bath: what a lovely idea. Whether it keeps algae away, or not.Thanks for that.

VL said...

Goodness, I get busy for a few days, and suddenly find I'm behind several posts on your blog and a bunch of comments on mine! (thanks - I'll get to them shortly; have been swamped by deadlines)

But since I feel somewhat dubious about your son's ability to find answers to this particular problem, I will hazard a recommendation: I have become enamored of The Laundress products -- all biodegradable, smell really nice, and work MUCH better than anything else I've tried. Their bleach alternative is spectacular on linens, and works on my tub; they also have a scented vinegar that's very good. But give them a call, see what they recommend for your mold problem, and give them a try.

Warren said...

Dominique, better late than never to get them helping around the house, particularly after reading New Yorker about Sheryl Sandburg's comments that a woman needs a life partner who helps in the home.

Jus...., speaking as a guy, make sure that they don't do the guy thing and think that 5x as much bleach as proscribed is better...

Oh, yes, having once been nearly overcome by the fumes, let them discover why they need to remember to TURN ON THE FAN ?? !! Hello?

PS: Your writing is so infinitely better than all of ours... :)

david terry said...

Oh Warren,

Where I'm from, at least once per year you'd hear/read of yet another, newly wed, and overly-enthusiastic housewife (this was back in the days when we still HAD "housewives")who'd asphyxiated herself by simultaneously using clorox and comet to clean a dirty tub.

I recall this from the late sixties and seventies....that era when every housewife was bombarded with "more is BETTER!" and "This product will DO IT FOR YOU!...particularly in combination with this OTHER product!!!".

That was the era that convinced a lot of housewives that the 2 main ingredients for "baked chicken" (aside from a chicken, of course)were Pam and "Shake-n-Bake", and that you had to buy all TWELVE of these Avon products for any one of them to "work".

Given that prevailing housekeeping ethos, I expect a lot of housewives simply thought "Oh, if Comet is good, then adding bleach must be even BETTER".

I expect that things have changed.

Level Best as Ever,

David Terry

Anonymous said...

If it is opposition to Clorox products and their toxicity then natural bleaches are available at many stores. I buy one at Rainbow Coop here in San Francisco.

Tru Dillon said...

dr parcells had alot to say about bleach. I take her bleach baths and they very helpful.


DT, it is ammonia and bleach that will lead to death from the vapors that are released through the creation of chlorine gas. I think it was lysol and bleach that people would mix together for a vaporizing experience. I knew someone it had happened to. She survived but her lungs were ruined.

david terry said...

Dear Tru Dillon,

You're right (as ever, from what I've gathered). In my particular case/household, the issue doesn't signifiy, since I never mix anything except for occasional, prissy cocktails when ladies are beguiling the tedium of their afternoon hours with a visit to my house. that, of course, entails its own particuliar household- dangers.

Not entirely by the way?.. just this morning and during our daily conversation, I asked my mother "Oh...what do you use to get rid of really bad mold in a shower-stall?"

Her reply was "Well, I'd like to say 'A Maid'....but things just aren't what they used to be, are they?"

"Ou sont les serviteurs d'antan?", indeed.....right?

Bemusedly as ever,
David Terry

and, just for the record? Work-at-home, childless me keeps a VERY clean household. and, yes, there are specific activities/chores that happen, say, every second Tuesday, etc (very "Martha Stewart's Calendar", I know). Bathrooms are one of the household things "done" every Monday. Comet cleanser (it strips off crud) on the first and second weeks...Bleach on third and fourth weeks. I spent my entire childhood and youth in Mississippi and Tennessee, where you learn very early on not to let mold, among other things, ever even BEGIN to get the upper hand, lest Our Entire Way of Life Be Lost.

profA said...

Deborah A., I very much like the idea of floating lavender in the bird bath and will give it a try. Have to say, I do just like standing there with the hose on mega-blast to power away the slime. Takes me right back to my Grammy's bird bath in the side yard of 21 S. Sixth St., New Bedford, MA where on a hot day like this one, I used to turn the hose on the bath, the toes, my brothers, et al. Ahh.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I had sworn off bleach...even went out and bought a gallon of Simple Green....that is until today....3 days into 100 degree temps with humidity at at least 90%.
The green slime was winning the battle and know matter how I scrubbed with my Simple Green it would not budge. Out came the bleach and VIOLA all green gone.

Kestrel said...

I discovered a natural alternative to bleach that really works, though it does require a little elbow grease. Just mix roughly equal parts borax and baking soda with enough boiling water to make a paste. Scrub the grout with the mixture, adding more water if the mix dries out.

Sometimes you have to wait until the next day to see that the mold is gone. The bonus is that the shower always smells so fresh after this. I hate the bleach--it never failed to give me a headache.

Judith Ross said...

I needed to revisit this post today. Here's why:

Venus: Why is it that every time I straighten this pillow on the couch it gets turned back on its end.

Mars (baby boomer variety): Because I use it.

Venus: And you can't put it back the way you found it?

Mars (baby boomer variety): Oh, I guess I didn't notice.

Venus: (silently to herself because she said it out loud just the other day) If I borrow any of your tools or equipment, I always put them back the way I found them. Why can't you do that with 'my' stuff?

But WAIT, there's hope ... to be continued....

Judith Ross said...

Venus: Could you please wash your bedding every week or two?

Mars (25-year old variety): But I don't care about clean sheets. I like 'em worn in.

Venus: Well, they are my sheets and I want them kept in good condition so I can use them again after you leave.

Mars (25-year old variety): Okay, a bit sheepishly.

Venus: SEVERAL weeks later. I see you are doing your laundry. Don't forget to wash your sheets!

Mars (25-year old variety): Okay.

As of this writing, the sheets haven't moved, but I'm betting he will actually enjoy the clean sheets. I'll keep you posted and thanks everyone for letting me get this off my chest.