It’s not the nicest thing to think about, but mould and mildew can appear in any home – and it doesn’t always mean there’s something deeper to worry about. It can be treated and managed as long as you tackle it at the source. Now is the best time of year to make sure it’s under control, as you can make the most of the sunshine to throw the windows open and air out your home before the chilly weather returns!
What causes mould?
When there’s moisture in the air, water droplets can settle on cold surfaces like window frames, windowsills, and cupboards. These droplets often contain the spores that can cause mould, that are found naturally in the air, together with other substances, like grease from cooking, dirt, and nicotine. It’s these additional substances that mould uses as food to form and grow. Mould is usually black in colour and can cause staining and a musty smell, so it’s good to sort it out as soon as possible. Mould and mildew thrive in humid areas, especially where there’s not much natural light – which is why you’re most likely to find it in your bathroom or kitchen.
How to prevent mould
There are some simple steps you can take to prevent mould and mildew appearing in your home. Make sure your property is well aired, with open curtains and windows wherever possible. You should also dust, vacuum and clean regularly so there are fewer dormant places for mould spores to grow.
In the kitchen:
- Put lids on pots and pans, especially if they’re releasing lots of steam
- Don’t leave the kettle boiling longer than necessary
- Keep your windows open, especially when cooking
- Regularly wipe any surfaces with a dry cloth if you notice any condensation (water droplets) forming
In the bathroom:
- Open the window when bathing or showering
- Put on the extractor fan if you have one
- Dry surfaces with a towel or dry cloth after bathing and showering, especially windowsills and the seal around your bath
- Wash or replace your shower curtain (if you have one) regularly
In the rest of your house:
- Avoid overfilling cupboards and wardrobes to help air circulate
- Leave a gap in between the walls and the back of furniture
- Consider using moisture traps or a dehumidifier if you notice regular condensation in a particular room or cupboard
- Avoid drying clothes over radiators – put them outside if possible, or at least near an open window.
Mould only starts to grow on a surface that’s been damp for 24 hours or more, so if you get into the habit of wiping everything down regularly it can make a real difference.
How to treat mould
Use a mould and mildew-specific cleaning spray and a clean cloth. Be sure to dispose of the cloth after you have treated the area to avoid spreading it to other areas of your home.
It is safest to wear rubber gloves and a dust mask and goggles (if you have them) to clean mould, to avoid breathing in any spores.
Scrub the area gently until the mould has been removed and then dry the area with a soft cloth.
Once the mould has been removed you may wish to paint the surface with an antifungal or fungicidal paint, particularly if it seems to come back regularly in a specific area.
If you follow the advice above and see no improvement in the mould and mildew in your home, please contact us so we can investigate whether there could be an underlying structural issue. You can also contact us if you notice missing roof tiles or slates, rotten window frames or cracked or leaking pipes which could be causing an issue, and we’ll happily investigate this and make the necessary repairs.