Asked on Jun 12, 2014

A white powder like residue in the bathroom

Rujana H
by Rujana H
A while back a white powder-like residue appeared in our main bathroom. As soon as I would clean, the tops of the counters were already starting to be covered with the residue. I closed the air conditioning vent, but that wasn't it. I also stopped up the drains, with no result. Does anyone have any idea what this might be? We called the air conditioning person who checked the vents and he said they were clean. I am desperate to get rid of this stuff. We don't know if it might be something harmful.
Thank you for your help!
  35 answers
  • Anna Ibarra Anna Ibarra on Jun 12, 2014
    Could it be termites ? Check around the area . I had that something like that once & it was termites.
  • Rujana H Rujana H on Jun 12, 2014
    Our Terminex guy has never seen anything like it. Thank you, though!
  • Rujana H Rujana H on Jun 12, 2014
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.
  • Cindy Butler Dorthy Cindy Butler Dorthy on Jun 12, 2014
    I would condsidet
  • Cindy Butler Dorthy Cindy Butler Dorthy on Jun 12, 2014
    I would condsidet
  • Cindy Butler Dorthy Cindy Butler Dorthy on Jun 12, 2014
    I would consider the type of material the counter is made Imoge
  • Cindy Butler Dorthy Cindy Butler Dorthy on Jun 12, 2014
    I would consider the type of material the counter is made Imoge
  • Cindy Butler Dorthy Cindy Butler Dorthy on Jun 12, 2014
    I would consider the type of material the counter is made Imoge
  • Cindy Butler Dorthy Cindy Butler Dorthy on Jun 12, 2014
    I'm sorry my phone has gone crazy - was saying consider the type of material counter is made of - use bleach to kill any type if bacteria / fungus that may be on the counter
    • See 2 previous
    • Re Hetman Re Hetman on Jun 15, 2014
      @Rujana H It did not work... :(
    • Rujana H Rujana H on Jun 12, 2014
      @Bonnie Brenkert Thank you for your input! This powder is dry-almost like flour. there is no smell to it and there is no moldy smell in the bathroom (which is sunny and has exhausts). Mold is awful!
  • Becky Shell Becky Shell on Jun 14, 2014
    My friend had a problem like this.white dust everywhere. She had contrator tell her that it was sheet rock deterating He said faulty sheet manufactured during early 70's. I also saw where faulty sheet rock being sold a few years ago from China. My friend had ceiling primed and painted solved problem at least for now.
    • See 1 previous
    • Kathryn Palmer Kathryn Palmer on Oct 22, 2017

      It's toilet paper dust. I was always having to clean the bathroom fan, which is right above the toilet. Then I injured myself and couldn't take a shower for weeks. I was cleaning my bathroom one day and noticed a white powdery residue on the curtain just like what is always in the fan. The toilet paper is right next to the pulled back shower curtain.

  • Barb C Barb C on Jun 14, 2014
    I had a brown powdery residue inside my lower (floor) cabinets, drove me crazy! Until one day I discovered that every time someone pulled a drawer out that are above the cabinets, the wood drawer would scrape along the wooden guide and drop the powder it created onto my pots and pans! Check around any cabinet hinges and doors that are above the counter tops. Just an idea, hope its something as simple as that.
    • See 1 previous
    • Dee Dee on Dec 25, 2023

      I had that too in my kitchen. The drawer was too heavy. Had to nail the railings back in.

  • Joffler Joffler on Jun 15, 2014
    Probably way out there but don't humidifiers/vaporizers sometimes leave a white piwr-likje residue? We added a little tea tree oil to water to avoid the residue and you can spray it on joe residue too. If its mold or mildew, tea tree oil will be your friend. You may not like the smell though.
  • Re Hetman Re Hetman on Jun 15, 2014
    Thank you!
  • Lori Lori on Jun 15, 2014
    Are you showering in this bath? Do you have a water softener?
  • Re Hetman Re Hetman on Jun 16, 2014
    There is no water softener. The water source is the same throughout the house. :(
  • Phoebe anne Phoebe anne on Jun 17, 2014
    This is going to sound a little crazy, but did you change brands/type of toilet paper before you started seeing the residue? Could it be dusty lint from softer TP? The strange thing about your question is--why would you find this only on the counter? Or, is it elsewhere in the bathroom? If only on the counter, then it seems like it would have to be something in the counter material or over the counter.
    • Re Hetman Re Hetman on Jun 17, 2014
      @phoebe anne Shoot! It is all over the bathroom: the counters, the tub, the floor. I am starting to think it MUST be something with the ceiling (sheetrock).
  • Lori Lori on Jun 17, 2014
    We have very hard water....our totally dissolved solid number is very high so even with our softene,r the steam from the shower deposits white powder on everything in bathroom, especially noticeable on some glass shelving and tops of baseboards.
  • Darlene J. Gibbons Darlene J. Gibbons on Aug 27, 2016
    Calcium in the steam/moisture from showering. When the moisture in the steam dries the dust settles on all the horizontal surfaces. I am fighting it also.
  • John Roberts John Roberts on Feb 05, 2017

    Did you ever find a resolution? We have the same problem in our bathroom. I have had the contractor and HVAC guy look at it and they claim it is hair product residue due to not having a cold air return in the bathroom. I asked about putting one in, but they say it is too small of a room.

  • Lee32087798 Lee32087798 on Dec 12, 2017

    I have the same problem. Did you ever find a resolution?

    • Charles408 Charles408 on Apr 07, 2018

      Yea. I have the same problem, except mine is everywhere. My tenants of 10 years left and the home has a lot of this stuff. Looks almost like white mold, but in most places it's a fine dust like flour. LMK if you find out

  • Sib34078848 Sib34078848 on Sep 10, 2018

    I never had this problem until I just recently got a new AC unit installed in my house. Now one of my bathrooms and also my entryway where I walk in the house has white residue stuff on the wall. But the only reason I think I notice is because my walls are darker colored the rest of the house is painted white so I wouldn't see it otherwise. But I never had this problem until a week ago when I got a new AC unit I wonder if there's a connection

  • Robert Carr Robert Carr on Apr 25, 2019

    Did you ever figure this out? I have the same problem -- started about a year ago and have now idea where it is coming from.

  • Sandy Sandy on May 18, 2019

    According to the Mayo Clinic, humidifiers can ease the symptoms of colds and the effects of dry indoor air, including cracked lips and dry skin. Many times a humidifier will release a white mist, or dust, that can settle on walls and other surfaces. This substance is caused by the minerals in regular tap water, which is often used to fill the humidifier.

  • Mary Hutson Mary Hutson on Jul 08, 2019

    I have the same problem and was wondering about the toilet tissue. It only seems to be in one bathroom. Any suggestions about what type of toilet paper to try to see if it makes a difference?

  • Lorie Solomon Lorie Solomon on Feb 06, 2020

    I have it as well in my bathroom, I redone my bathroom all new sheetrock flooring and still the white dust cant get rid of it

  • Kris Kris on Mar 14, 2020

    I have the white reside (almost like flour when it’s dry) in my master tub. It cleans easiest when it’s dry because when I use a wet paper towel or sponge it almost clumps into little someway sticky pieces. We have very soft water (Portland) and have I have no issues with minerals nor do I have a water softener (we don’t use them here). However, I do have two 70 lbs dogs (labrador retrievers), and I notice a fair amount of dust collecting in the upstairs where I live (while the downstairs is largely unused and collects a fraction of the dust). Even running two heppa filters in the main living areas which collect a fair amount of fine particulates I still need to dust the surfaces every couple of days. I don’t usually bother in the bathroom and I wonder if this is just more pet dander and dust from everyday traffic. I wonder if anyone else experienced this?

  • Salmi Rezvi Salmi Rezvi on Mar 27, 2020

    We have the same problem too but it's in the living, dining, kitchen areas where there's no carpet. Didn't notice in our bathrooms, yet. First I thought it's the dandruff from our cat. Then number of times I checked the floor immediately where she was grooming and saw the same white powdery thing was there like the rest of the floor, not more and no difference! If it was her it should have been more on that part of the floor than the rest, right? Also to make sure, I vacuumed those areas right before we go to bed & then checked the floors first thing in the morning. Sure enough, the white powder thing was there. We've been living in this house for the last 11 yrs & I've started to notice this for the last 6/7 months. What is this thing actually?

  • Doris Doris on May 15, 2020

    I think it's the sheet rock on the ceiling. I have the same problem. I'm going to paint it and see what happens

  • Ashley Ashley on Apr 10, 2022

    I have the same problem but it’s from using hairspray and I don’t know how to stop it. Hairspray makes white dusty stuff all over ur bathroom.

  • Paul Thomas Lyons Paul Thomas Lyons on Jun 25, 2022

    The lady nailed it toilet paper dust have you cleaned your bathroom vent power vent lately

  • Paul Thomas Lyons Paul Thomas Lyons on Jun 25, 2022

    It's all over the inside of our bathroom power vent

  • Mark Ridgeway Mark Ridgeway on Apr 03, 2023

    I have the same problem and have had it going on two years now. I think it is some sort of mold. It comes back when you mop it with you name it vinegar, ammonia, bleach. I'm really glad to have reached this forum because it is something I've never seen before. My neighbor's oak tree fell on my house about 2 years ago and there were holes in two ceilings and the floor was away from the foundation in one room. It's a 100 year old cedar shake house so there plenty of opportunity for mold under the house, as a matter of fact I had to have it treated. I have thought for a long time it could be some sort of mite but more and more I am thinking it is mold. This stuff tracks or hitchhikes is the term used a lot. Again, I'm not sure what is going on I just know what you are talking about with the white powder and it is hard to get up. In my case it is not sheet rock or any of the things eazy answers. I'm hoping for some answers because whatever is going on with me is almost contagious and let me qualify this by saying I have never had any fear or problems with anything like this before. As for the toilet paper I think this stiff eats it. You will notice it on plastic too.

  • BC Davey BC Davey on Apr 23, 2023

    Rujana H, did you ever solve the problem ,,, I have the exact same issue and it's driving me crazy ... I have tried dozens of things and at this point it appears to happen after I get ready to go somewhere. So using the shower is suspect ... please let me know if you solved what you did ... it's absolutely mind boggling

  • Tom95431114 Tom95431114 on Dec 25, 2023

    Right. I tried all the suggestions, cleaned with various chemicals, purchased sealant and proper bathroom paint, next day white stuff back again, removed toilet paper still no good

    suddenly my wife had brainwave, HAIRSPRAY

    Guess what , stopped using in bathroom and problem solved