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Avoiding Bathroom Condensation

Updated on April 13, 2016

How Is Condensation Formed?

Condensation is the bane of every bathroom from here to Planet Flob-A-Dob (although the residents of that particular planet like to eat condensation as a light snack). Unfortunately, Earth doesn't come with its own quartet of Flob-A-Dobians so we have to make do with handling condensation on our own.

Bathrooms are often humid places and moisture is released into the air by something as simple as taking a shower. As the moisture mixes with the air as water vapour, it will eventually make contact with a cold surface, forming as droplets on things like mirrors or windows.

This is unsurprisingly known as condensation, or food to Flob-A-Dobians. The hotter the water vapour, the more moisture the air can hold and the more that can be deposited on cold surfaces.

That's why condensation becomes a bigger problem whenever you take a hot shower and there's lots of steam rising from the water.

Apart from it annoyingly misting up mirrors and windows, it can also cause problems with mould in your bathroom by quickly ruining wallpaper and other surfaces. The last thing you want to do is redecorate your bathroom only a few months after initially doing it.

Thankfully there are a few simple steps you can take to dramatically reduce the levels of condensation in your bathroom.

Sadly you’ll never be able to completely eliminate your condensation (unless you never use your bathroom!), but at least your bathroom will be less likely to develop problems resulting from too much condensation if you follow these steps.

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Ventilation Is Key

Obviously the first thing you should do is open a window, especially when you're running a bath or having a shower. One thing I immediately notice whenever I forget to open the window whilst taking a shower is a large amount of condensation on everything.

It’s simply not worth the hassle when all you have to do is simply open the window, even if it might feel cold for a short while (the hot water and steam from the shower will warm the room up anyway, but at least the condensation will have somewhere to escape to).

You should also consider getting double glazed windows if you only have single glazed, as single glazed windows tend to be colder and are therefore more likely to attract condensation.

While you might think that opening the bathroom door might help, don't. This will only spread the water vapour to other rooms in your home and could cause a problem with condensation in those places.

A shower like this may be heaven, but it's going to cause a lot of condensation!
A shower like this may be heaven, but it's going to cause a lot of condensation! | Source

Ensure You Wipe Surfaces Dry

You should take some time to wipe surfaces dry with a towel after using the bathroom, particularly glass such as the windows.

While it might seem like a pain to have to do this every time, it doesn't take long and will save you a lot of grief in the long run. You don't have to get obsessive and make sure your bathroom is completely bone dry, just do enough that it doesn't look absolutely soaked every time you use the shower or bath.

If any black spots appear around your bathroom from too much condensation then you can get rid of them through a combination of bleach and water, otherwise, your bathroom will become a breeding ground for mould.

Extractor Fans are Extremely Important

It is absolutely essential that bathrooms without windows have an extractor fan. This cannot be stressed enough. Without an extractor fan, the condensation will never have anywhere to escape and you'll soon have a serious problem on your hands. An extractor fan will transport the moist air into your bathroom elsewhere, either outside or to a loft area.

Make sure you clean your extractor fan periodically or dust and dirt will build up and make the fan far less efficient. Also make sure the fan comes on with the bathroom light. That way you can’t forget to turn it on. If that isn't possible, then at least keep the on button attached to a long string so it's hard to miss, especially if it's right next to the shower.

Take a Look at Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers take moisture from the air and collect it as water, so if you have one of these running whilst you use the bathroom you'll get a big drop in condensation.

Unfortunately, dehumidifiers tend to be on the pricey side so only use them as a last resort.

Renting one for a few days would be your best option, and it will allow you to work out what's really causing the problem.

Examine the House Structure

Check to see if there is a damp proof course in your home. This is a horizontal barrier placed in the wall that has the job of resisting moisture that can be rising from below.

You should also check that any air bricks aren't covered or filled with miscellaneous rubble, the same goes for internal cavities.

Tips On Video

Warm Up the Walls

Cold wall surfaces are more likely to attract condensation, such as ceramic tiles and various painted surfaces.

Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about cold walls if these are the materials you have chosen for your bathroom, although there are special paints available that slow the growth of mould.

Keeping the bathroom warm is about the only thing you can do to warm the surfaces up, so something like underfloor heating will help in this area.

Don't forget to look after your tiles too, especially colourful bathroom tiles like these!
Don't forget to look after your tiles too, especially colourful bathroom tiles like these! | Source

Demistable Mirrors Are Worth Considering

Mirrors can quickly steam up and become covered with condensation when you use a hot shower or run a hot bath. It's important to wipe these surfaces dry whenever you see this happen, much like wiping your windows, but there are mirrors that do this job for you.

Demistable mirrors are fitted with heating pads that keep the surface of the mirror warm, therefore giving no chance for condensation to form as it requires a cold surface. They obviously cost more than your average mirror but if you're serious about getting rid of condensation then this is another great way to help combat it.

You don't have to buy special demistable mirrors though, as you can buy heating pads separately to upgrade existing bathroom mirrors.

You should never have to wipe that mirror clear with your towel ever again!

A demister, such as this one by Warm Up, can be fitted to a bathroom mirror to stop it steaming up. You can also buy bathroom mirrors with demisters already built-in.
A demister, such as this one by Warm Up, can be fitted to a bathroom mirror to stop it steaming up. You can also buy bathroom mirrors with demisters already built-in.

Become Friends With a Flob-A-Dobian

If all else fails you could try becoming friends with a Flob-A-Dobian, although this may not be that simple given that they live thousands of light years away.

If you do happen to befriend one (we do not suggest kidnapping one, as that is against Galactic Law SY-213-52 Paragraph 317) then he or she will probably be delighted to clear your condensation regularly, as this is basically a free meal for them.

Although you may have to take them to the cinema every once in a while. Apparently they have a strange fascination for Johnny Depp (much like Humans it would seem).

© 2012 Thomas Mulrooney


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    • profile image

      Louise 7 weeks ago

      I had an exhaust fan put in the bathroom roof and the problem is exacerbated??? Is it possible to install the exhaust fan upside down? The steam seems to be coming in, not out.........

    • profile image

      R Paul 13 months ago

      Do these come any lower than 180mm? The space I have above my shower is only 150mm, it is an internal bathroom with no windows and a useless extractor fan (yet in my life to see a decent one!)

    • Penny G profile image

      Penny Godfirnon 2 years ago from Southern Iowa

      My bathroom is that way, no exhaust fan. GRRRRRR

    • boundarybathrooms profile image

      Thomas Mulrooney 3 years ago from Colne, Lancashire, UK

      @PennyG It's definitely worth trying. When I moved into a rented home the walls of the main bedroom were actually wet, which is probably because the house had been empty for a few months. I rented a dehumidifier and it cleared up pretty quick.

    • Penny G profile image

      Penny Godfirnon 3 years ago from Southern Iowa

      I think the dehumidifier is what I will do as it is rented, not my home.

    • boundarybathrooms profile image

      Thomas Mulrooney 4 years ago from Colne, Lancashire, UK

      @ChristyWrites Thanks! Yep, many people don't realise that condensation can cause them trouble down the line so I'm glad I could help.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Such a useful read! I admit I don't always use the fan but I now see there is good reason to and using it can save me trouble in the small room in the future. Thanks!

    • boundarybathrooms profile image

      Thomas Mulrooney 5 years ago from Colne, Lancashire, UK

      @Express10 Thanks for the comment!

      Yes I would suggest a small heater as another way to combat condensation for internal bathrooms, although I would always make sure the ventilation is working correctly before doing this. I should probably add the heater advice to the Hub, thanks!

      However, for bathrooms with windows heaters won't get rid of the condensation on the window, as when you turn it off the air simply cools and condenses again. Obviously external windows are always going to be cooled by outside air, so double glazing is the best route to go down in these cases.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Good tips. For those in apartments or homes with bathrooms with no windows, using a small portable heating in a GFI outlet seems to help a good deal. I turn it on and place it on a stable surface away from water and the shower just prior to getting in the shower. I let it run for between 10 and 20 mins. after I step out of the shower and have noticed a huge drop in condensation. Most days, there is absolutely none.