This is a question that has popped up lately in conversations: How do you keep the mold off a Paris shower wall with poor ventilation? Answer: Using the right products and vigilance after everyone has showered.
For a long time I was using a window/wall wiper and a multiusage cleaning product. Then I would wipe the walls with a sponge or microfiber cloth. This worked but lacked a certain cleaning power on the white grout (the filler between the tiles). I tried vinegar, even mixing it with scented face water to tone down the strong smell.
Until one day, my yellow bath pouf (fleur de bain) was dying. It had transformed itself from its original cute ball shape, into this massive, round piece of nylon. I thought it would be a shame to part with it. The light bulb of invention snapped on. If it’s gentle enough for my body, it must be gentle enough for my tiles! Voilà!
The miracle for cleaner grout and tile was the bath pouf. This was the missing link to my shower cleaning fun!
Speaking of showers, did you know that in 1978 one French home/apartment out of four did not have a bathroom (salle de bain)?* Today, ninety-nine percent are equipped with a bathroom (inside I suppose). Running water is recent. Almost all French homes had running water by the end of the 1980s. I remember seeing buildings with a sign that said “eau a tous les etages” (water on every floor).
We bought our apartment in 1995. The previous owners made a little corner, literally, and installed a salle d’eau (where you take a shower, wash your hands or face). The size reminded me of a Winnebago motorhome. This salle d’eau included the toilet. You could sit on the toilet and wash your hands and then back up into the shower. And you could hang your drying clothes above your head! We’ll leave those stories for another time.
*Le Centre d’information sur l’eau