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April 16, 2018

BehindTheMedspeak: When it comes to mold and mildew on your shower curtain, take Ray Kurzweil's advice: "Work smart, not hard"


Many years ago Sam Schechner wrote an interesting piece for the Wall Street Journal's "Cranky Consumer" feature, entitled "Testing Ways to Kill Shower-Curtain Mold."


Why would anyone want to?

I mean, you can buy a shower curtain for about the price of a bottle of Tilex, the best product in the Journal's test.

And even the Tilex had a downside: "The smell eventually burned our nose (and drew tears to our eyes), even in a well-ventilated bathroom."

bookofjoe observation: anything that smells that toxic probably is: you're taking a chance on jump-starting your brain tumor using stuff that acrid.

Here's the Journal article, followed by their detailed test results.


It's easy to spot mold on a shower curtain — but is there an equally fast way to get rid of it?

Big household-cleaning companies like Clorox and SC Johnson offer assorted sprays that promise to eradicate these black splotches with a minimum of elbow grease.

Meanwhile, the Internet abounds with do-it-yourself advice for cleaning up mold.

Some companies even sell mold-resistant shower curtains, with antifungal agents baked into the vinyl.

For those who don't want to replace their shower curtains every few months, which of these options works the best?

We tested five methods, using five different slices of the same disgustingly moldy vinyl shower curtain.

We tried a spray with bleach (Tilex Mold & Mildew Remover) and one free of chlorine (Seventh Generation Shower Cleaner).

We also tried dumping a strip in a washing machine along with bleach and white towels (for friction).

We soaked another slice in a bathtub with a bottle of distilled vinegar.

Finally, we scrubbed one slice with a mixture of water, dish soap and tea tree oil.

The worst result came from bleaching the curtain in a washing machine, a method that two different microbiologists had recommended to us.

It may have killed all the mold and bacteria, but it left behind visible rust-colored stains, even after running the 30-minute hot-water wash cycle twice.

The NOW tea-tree oil, a natural fungicide that we bought at a local health-food store, seemed to be an intriguing option.

It smelled like a new-age mountain spa as we poured three teaspoons of the oil into a washbasin.

After soaking and sloshing the curtain around in the soapy tea tree solution for five minutes and then scrubbing hard for another 10, much of the mold was gone.

But there were still large yellow stains and gray specks left behind.

NOW doesn't market its tea-tree oil for mold per se, but many Web sites suggest using it to kill and clean fungus.

The best of the five by far was the $3.29 bottle of Tilex.

We were skeptical at the outset because the label instructed us only to "spray, wait until stains disappear and rinse."

But three minutes after applying the spray to the dry strip of curtain, the mold started to disappear.

After 10 minutes, and a rinse, it was gone, apart from two very faint yellow stains that resisted a second spray and scrubbing.

The downside: The smell eventually burned our nose (and drew tears to our eyes), even in a well-ventilated bathroom.

For those averse to chlorine, a bleach ingredient that can contaminate groundwater, Seventh Generation "natural citrus scent" shower cleaner ($4.99 a bottle) is a workable alternative.

Using hydrogen peroxide, which kills germs and then breaks down into water, the cleaner got rid of most of the mold stains.

It left behind only subtle, gray stain remnants.

Unfortunately, it required a good deal of scrubbing, which is mitigated slightly by its pleasant Orangina-like aroma.

Soaking the curtain in a solution of bathwater and distilled vinegar didn't wow us.

After an hour, the mold looked unchanged - but some of the stains yielded to sustained scrubbing.

Still, the gray areas that remained were slightly more noticeable than those left by Seventh Generation.

METHOD: Spray with Tilex Mold & Mildew Remover
COST: $3.29 for 32 fl. oz. spray bottle
EASE OF USE: As promised, requires no scrubbing
SMELL: Like a noxious swimming pool
THE RESULT: The curtain came out practically bone-white.

METHOD: Spray with Seventh Generation Shower Cleaner
COST: $4.99 for 32 fl. oz. spray bottle
EASE OF USE: Shoulder felt tender after 14 minutes of scrubbing - and that was only one section of curtain
SMELL: Sweet lemon soda
THE RESULT: Grayish pattern remained where the black mold had been - was less noticeable from across the room.

METHOD: Soak in distilled vinegar and water
COST: $1.29 for 16 fl. oz. bottle of Heinz distilled white vinegar
EASE OF USE: Requires slightly less elbow grease than some methods, but takes an hour to soak
SMELL: Like someone had made a salad in our bathroom
THE RESULT: So-so; gray stains still visible

METHOD: Wash with NOW tea tree oil and dishsoap
COST: $5.95 for 1 fl. oz. bottle of oil; $1.99 for Palmolive
EASE OF USE: Felt like we had done a full upper-body workout at the gym
SMELL: Massage parlor
THE RESULT: Minimal payback for all that effort.

METHOD: Bleach in washing machine (hot-water cycle)
COST: $1.29 for 24 fl. oz. bottle of Clorox Ultra Regular Bleach
EASE OF USE: Just let the washing machine slosh around
SMELL: Light bleach odor
THE RESULT: Big rust-colored stains remained. We even tried a second time again, without much improvement.

April 16, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The artist who plays with her food


"Red" Hong Yi is her name.


After completing her plate-sized works,


each of which takes




one and four hours,


she eats them.


[via Atlas Obscura]

April 16, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 16, 2018 at 09:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Can your keyboard do this?


Apply within.

April 16, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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