What is mould?
Mould is a fungus that is caused by excess moisture in your home. This can be as a result of damp – especially in basements, attics or ground floors – leaks from pipes, or poor sealing around window frames and doors that allows water to seep in. It can also be caused by excess condensation. Condensation can be caused by many everyday activities in the home, such as showering, cooking and drying clothes indoors. Once the moisture level in the air becomes more than the air can hold, droplets form on surfaces. Combine damp, heat and poor ventilation and you get mould.
How to prevent damp and condensation
There are simple and practical ways to limit the condensation in your home:
- Close the door and open the window while you shower. Turn on the extractor fan, if you have one. If you don’t, consider getting one installed.
- Close the internal door to your kitchen while cooking, open external doors or windows, and cook with lids on saucepans and pots. Always use the extractor fan when cooking on the hob.
- Avoid drying clothes indoors wherever possible. If it’s necessary, open the windows while drying and don’t hang clothes on or near radiators.
- Buy a dehumidifier. Not only will it help draw excess moisture out of the air, they’re also great for speeding up the air-drying process.
- To prevent mould on the walls behind furniture, move wardrobes, bookcases and any other large furniture away from the wall, so that there’s a gap for the air to circulate behind them.
- Look for trickle vents on your windows and keep these open to encourage better ventilation.
The dangers of mould
Mould can be extremely bad for our health, particularly for young babies, the elderly, people with asthma and allergies, and people with weakened immune systems. Exposure to mould spores can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
How to get rid of mould on walls and ceilings
Be very careful when removing mould. Scrubbing at the greenish black stains will release spores and these can cause allergic reactions. If you have an extensive mould problem, it’s best to call in an expert. Always wear a dust mask, gloves and protective eyewear when getting rid of mould, especially as it will almost certainly involve chlorine bleach.
- Make a mixture of one part chlorine bleach to three parts water. Be very careful with chlorine bleach; never get it on your skin and avoid any contact with fabrics. Instead of making your own solution, you can buy special mould killer, such as HG Mould Spray. Again, be very carefully using this as it contains particularly harsh chemicals.
- Open all the windows in the room, turn on the extractor fan if there is one, and close the door to prevent the spread of spores to other rooms.
- Apply the mixture or mould cleaner to the mould and use a damp cloth to carefully wipe it away. Do not scrub it.
- Once the mould has been removed, dry the wall with rag to make sure there’s no moisture left over.
- Dispose of any cloths and rags in the bin.
- Clean all surfaces and floors in the room to make sure all the spores are gone.
How to get rid of mould from clothes and fabrics
Bleach and clothes are seldom friends so you’ll need an alternative route to remove mould from clothes, towels and curtains. Always make sure to follow the washing instructions for the item you’re cleaning.
- Pre-treat the stain with a stain remover, such as Stain Devils for wine, tea and fruit juice – it works just as well on mould.
- If possible, put the clothes out in the sun to let the stain dry. Sunlight is also a great mould killer.
- Pour a cup of white distilled vinegar into a bucket of water.
- Put the mouldy items in the bucket and leave to soak for at least an hour.
- Wash the items in the machine at the hottest possible temperature to kill the spores.
- Hang out to dry outside.
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