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How to Kill Mould

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By EnviroVent Feb 26, 2020

Mould grows when there is excess moisture in a property that has nowhere to escape and builds up into damp and then allows mould to grow. Mould is a type of fungi that are naturally occurring organisms playing a major role in the earth’s ecosystem. Mould grows best in damp and poorly ventilated areas and reproduces by making spores.

Exposure to mouldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to moulds. For these people, moulds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mould allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mould. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mould, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.

Mycotoxins can kill neurones in the brain, which directly affects our mental capacity and can alter our psychological makeup. Some of the neurological symptoms of the ingestion of mycotoxins include confusion, dizziness, a ‘foggy’ brain, hallucinations, seizures and trembling.

Other important symptoms to look out for, relating to respiratory, circulatory and other conditions, are difficulty breathing; bleeding gums; nose bleeds; cold and flu symptoms; vomiting blood; wounds that won’t heal; blurred vision; nausea; and jaundice. Infection from damp and mould is very serious so it is imperative that if you notice any of the above symptoms you seek medical attention.

Moulds are present virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors and can grow in and on materials such as food, furniture, fabrics, carpets, walls, paper, timber and plumbing. Mould is horrible, unpleasant and dangerous and nobody wants it in their home, so how exactly do you kill mould?

There are numerous ways to kill mould and the effectiveness of the method depends on the severity of the mould. For mild cases of mould, the natural or ‘old wives’ solutions should be effective enough. These remedies also suit those who do not wish to use harsh chemicals but remember they are limited in their potency.

Baking Soda: Dubbed as one of the more 'natural remedies' baking soda has been used as cure for black mould outbreaks for generations, and many people still swear by it. Certainly, this method has a lot going for it. Baking soda has a pH of around 8-8.1, too high for mould to thrive, meaning it serves as a natural disinfectant. This is another effective, natural solution for all types of surfaces, both porous and nonporous.

Baking soda is a mild, white mineral powder, that can be used to kill mould in your home, plus it is safe for your family and pets. Besides killing mould, it will absorb moisture to help keep mould away. To kill mould: Add one quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle of water and shake until it has dissolved. Spray the mouldy area with the baking soda and water solution, then use a scrub brush to remove all the mould from the surface. Next, rinse the surface with water to remove any residual mould on the surface.

Vinegar: One other common old wives' tale is to battle back against black mould with everyday vinegar. Again, there's some solid science behind this tradition. Since vinegar is acidic, with a pH of around 2.5, it works to attack the structure of the mould, breaking it down and eventually killing it.

Vinegar is a mild acid which can kill 82% of mould species. (Baking soda is often used along with vinegar for killing different species of mould). To kill mould: Use white distilled vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle without watering it down. Spray the vinegar onto the mouldy surface and leave it to sit for an hour. Finally, wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours.

Again, the big advantage here is that vinegar is a natural, non-toxic cleaner and so perfectly safe to use in the home. On the downside, however, it can leave a slight (if temporary) odour, plus, more importantly, like baking soda, it can only really be trusted to tackle mild outbreaks.

The NHS recommend a mild method for mould removal –

Only remove mould yourself if it's caused by condensation and covers an area less than 1 metre squared (1x1 metre or 3x3 feet). Don't try to remove the mould yourself if it's caused by sewage or other contaminated water.

Protect yourself from mould spores by wearing goggles, long rubber gloves and a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Open the windows but keep doors closed to prevent spores spreading to other areas of the house.

  • have a plastic bag ready to take away any soft furnishings, clothes and soft toys that are mouldy. Soft furnishings should be shampooed and clothes professionally dry cleaned
  • fill a bucket with water and some mild detergent, such as washing-up liquid or a soap used for hand-washing clothes
  • use a rag dipped in the soapy water to carefully wipe the mould off the wall. Be careful not to brush it, as this can release mould spores
  • when you've finished, use a dry rag to remove the moisture from the wall
  • afterwards, put the rags in a plastic bag and throw them away
  • all the surfaces in the room should be thoroughly cleaned by either wet wiping or vacuuming to remove any spores 

Moving onto the harsher options, bleach is the usual go-to for many when faced with a mould outbreak. The chlorine in bleach is highly effective in attacking the proteins making up the mould spores, killing them and other microbes. Without doubt, it's a highly effective means of getting rid of unsightly mould outbreaks and removing surrounding stains. 

If you do wish to try this tactic remember to wear thick clothes (you don't mind getting ruined), rubber gloves and a face guard as both the mould and bleach fumes can be dangerous to inhale. To clean mould off your walls, follow these steps -

  • Simply mix one-part bleach to four parts water.
  • Using a damp cloth gently scrub until the mould is gone.
  • Once finished, dry the area well with a soft cloth.

Remember however, this is not a long-term solution and you really need to tackle the cause of the mould to ensure it doesn't come back. If the mould is as a result of sewage or floodwater and your property is water damaged, you should not remove this yourself as it can be harmful to your health. It is best to seek a professional as the area will need to be treated and disinfected. 

Whilst all these methods are effective in temporarily removing the unsightly mould without proper ventilation the mould will come back, again and again. Put an end to your mould misery and introduce proper ventilation into your property.

At EnviroVent, we have a range of products that can help to keep your home well-ventilated and mould free. For badly-ventilated kitchens and bathrooms, it is definitely worth installing an extractor fan, such as our Cyclone 7. It effectively tracks and detects water vapour in the atmosphere and comes with a 7-year guarantee, so you can relax in the knowledge that your home is a safe and spore-free environment.

We also have a range of condensation control units to suit your individual needs. Our whole house ventilation systems remove moisture and dampness from the air caused by cold in the winter and will also work to cool rooms down in the summer, preventing water vapour caused by humidity. We have condensation control units specifically designed for loft spaces and flats and apartments, as well as more traditional houses.

If you want to improve the indoor air quality in your home, we recommend our single room heat recovery unit. Using state-of-the-art technology, it simultaneously retains heat within your home and provides fresh air from outside through internal tubes, meaning that you can feel the benefits of opening your windows without increasing your chances of condensation. All of our products are energy efficient and make your home a eco-friendlier place by utilising the air up to 75% more than under ordinary circumstances.