Last update: 4 weeks ago
Mould inside the house. It’s everyone’s worst housekeeping fear. And maybe it’s your best-kept housekeeping secret.
Don’t feel bad about it, because it’s not necessarily a reflection on your housekeeping standards. Mould and mildew are a problem to many of us, but the worry is that if you don’t face it and do something about it, it could affect your health.
As a general rule, we find mould to be a bigger problem in winter than summer. That’s because the most common cause of mould inside a home is condensation. When the warm air inside the house meets a cold surface in places such as windows, the moisture in the air turns liquid and forms condensation. In the example of a window, it drips down into the window track and sits there until it evaporates – a little pool of dampness that is a paradise for mould.
Another cause for mould, especially if it is showing itself on walls or in carpet, is leaking pipes. Keep in mind that the pipe that is leaking may be concealed inside a wall, and the mould visible inside the house may only be a fraction of what is happening on the other side of the plaster! In this scenario, enlist the help of a qualified plumber to get to the bottom of the issue.
Here are a few tips to help you control mould inside your home:
- Air out the house. It’s not always easy in winter, but where possible, open up a window or door and let the fresh air circulate through the house.
- Consider installing an exhaust fan in your bathroom to draw the warm, humid air out of the room. When the bathroom is not in use, how about leaving the window open just a little, to let fresh air circulate through the room? It’ll help dry out the shower cubicle and any other damp areas.
- Install a range hood over the cooktop to prevent steam building up in the kitchen. If there is already a range hood, make sure it’s working properly and that the filters are clean.
- If your budget allows it, consider installing a ducted ventilation system that circulates dry air throughout your home all year round.
- If you use a clothes dryer, make sure that it is properly ventilated, preferably to the outdoors.
- If there’s a room in your house that regularly retains moisture and there’s no way to minimise that, investing in a moisture absorber might be your best move.
I get it – it’s a real battle to keep up with the washing in winter when it’s hard to get it all dry! But hanging clothes on airers indoors is only going to create more humid, damp air. Where possible, put your airers outside and maybe consider using your tumble dryer more.
Wipe the windows
How often, when you open the windows in the morning, is there condensation dripping down the glass? You can help prevent mould growing in your window tracks by grabbing an old towel and drying the window panes. Not only will it be nicer to look out, but you will remove all that water that would otherwise accumulate in the tracks and sit there. However, be sure to wash and dry the towel promptly!
How to clean mould
Sometimes no matter what you do, mould will find it’s way in your home. Or it’s already there and you want it out. Regardless, knowing how to efficiently get rid of it is crucial as mould can be tricky. This is because its spores are very light and easily airborne, so you could potentially wipe it from one spot only to see it pop up at another. For affected areas bigger than a square meter we recommend you to get a professional to clean the mould for you.
Here’s how to do it:
Safety first! Put on protective eyewear, long rubber gloves, and a mask that covers your mouth and nose. You don’t want any spores near any sensitive spots such as the eyes, even less so in your lung. They are potentially dangerous and can lead to medical complications. While cleaning, close all doors leading to the affected room, but open the windows. If the spores are going anywhere, it will be outside.
- If there is any furniture affected, take off any cushioning you can and seal it in a plastic bag. It has to be professionally cleaned, including the frame. Same goes for clothes – send them to the best dry cleaners you know.
- Prepare your cleaning solution. Luckily you don’t need anything too strong. A bucket of water withs some dishwashing liquid will do the trick.
- Grab a rag and dip it into the mixture. Wipe with careful deliberate movements. Rub hard, as soft rubbing will cause mould spores to drift.
- Once that is done, use a new rag to dry the wall off. Both rags should be then put in a plastic bag and disposed of.
- As a precautionary measure, vacuum or wipe with a damp cloth all surfaces in the room. This will eliminate any residual spores.
Depending on how heavy the mould growth is you might want to pretreat it prior to cleaning. For this use a mixture of one cup bleach to 3.7 litres of water. Put the mix in a spray bottle and apply generously to the stain. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and then wipe off as described above.
Alternatively if you don’t want to use a harsh chemical like bleach, you can go for 50/50 solution of apple vinegar and water.
You might not be able to totally eliminate mould in your house, but there are certain things you can do to help. By taking measures to reduce the amount of internal moisture, you will greatly reduce the risk of mould growing, and help work toward a happier and healthier future for everyone inside your home.