Mould is a type of fungus that thrives in damp and humid conditions. It can cause various health problems, such as respiratory infections, allergies, asthma, and skin rashes. It can also damage the property and its contents, such as walls, carpets, furniture, and clothes. Mould can be found in any part of the home where there is excess moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and around windows. One of the most common causes of mould in British homes is condensation. This occurs when water vapour is released from the air onto a cold surface.
The water vapour that causes condensation comes from a variety of sources in the home including cooking, drying clothes indoors, and bathing. We also exhale water vapour into the air with every breath – according to PubMed, the average person exhales between 7ml and 70ml of water vapour per hour depending on the temperature and heart rate.
While it is important to remove mould as soon as possible, using harsh chemicals like bleach can be harmful to the environment and damage surfaces. Fortunately, there are some natural and eco-friendly ways to clean mould that are effective and safe. Here are some of them:
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that can kill most types of mould. It is also cheap and easy to use. All you need to do is spray undiluted white vinegar on the mouldy surface and leave it for an hour. Then, scrub the area with a brush or a sponge and wipe it with a damp cloth. You can also add some essential oil to mask the vinegar smell.
Baking soda is a mild alkali that can neutralise the acidity of the mould and slow down the process of it growing back. It is also gentle and non-toxic. To use baking soda, mix two parts of it with one part of water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste on the mouldy surface and leave it for an hour. Then, scrape it off with a stiff brush and rinse with water.
Depending on the surface you are cleaning, you can use tea tree oil to clean mould. Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent that can eliminate mould and its spores. It is also aromatic and can deodorise the area to create a pleasant environment. However, tea tree oil is more expensive than other natural remedies and can be irritating to some people. To use tea tree oil, mix two teaspoons of it with two cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the mouldy surface and do not rinse.
Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidising agent that can destroy mould and its spores. It is also inexpensive and widely available. However, hydrogen peroxide can also bleach or damage some surfaces, so you should test it on a small area first. To use hydrogen peroxide, spray three percent solution on the mouldy surface and leave it for 15 minutes. Then, rinse with water and dry with a cloth or a paper towel.
Whatever cleaning agent you use to clean mould from your walls, there are some things you should think about. Wear a facemask and eye protection when cleaning mould is important. This will stop you from inhaling the spores and prevent them from getting into your eyes where they could cause irritation. Any cloths or brushes should be disposed of after use to prevent spreading mould to other areas in your home, and you should also wash your clothes thoroughly to remove any spores.
If you have a weakened immune system, allergies to mould, or suspect that the mould growing in your home is a toxic species such as Stachybotrys Chartarum (toxic black mould), you should have the mould cleaned professionally.
Cleaning mould is only a temporary solution if you do not address the underlying cause of the problem. The best way to prevent mould from coming back is to reduce the moisture and improve the ventilation in your home. You should ensure that you have extractor fans installed in bathrooms and your kitchen as well as any other room with water sources. These should be used when cooking, bathing, or drying clothes indoors, and for fifteen minutes afterwards to remove water vapour from the air. Modern designs such as the EnviroVent Cyclone 7 include a humidity sensor and adapt their power levels to reduce moisture levels more quickly and efficiently. Quieter designs such as the Silent Range are a popular choice for homes as they create less disturbance while working.
If you find mould growing in your home away from an obvious source of moisture, then you should consider whole house ventilation. Positive Input Ventilation systems (PIV) such as EnviroVent ATMOS feature a central unit that is mounted in your loft. This draws fresh air into your home through filters that can remove particles including mould spores and pollen before distributing it into your living areas. This fresh air displaces the moisture laden stale air to reduce humidity and prevent mould from growing.
Mould can be a serious threat to your health, so it is important to act quickly if you discover it growing in your home. Our local ventilation specialists offer a free home survey that identifies the causes of condensation. We can provide you with advice about the best way to deal with mould in your home. Enter your postcode below to find an expert in your area.
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