Living in an environment with high levels of mould present can cause a variety of health effects ranging from milder issues such as a stuffy nose or itchy skin through to coughing, wheezing and eye irritation. People with specific mould allergies may have much more severe reactions to the presence of mould spores in the air. For people with chronic lung illnesses such as asthma, and COPD and those who are immune compromised can have very serious reactions and suffer from worsening symptoms and need to deal with mould problems quickly to protect their health.
Moulds are one of the most common and diverse organisms in the natural world. They are a type of fungus that plays a major role in ecosystems in all parts of the world. There are thousands of different mould species and only a few of those species grow in homes.
Typically, the moulds that can affect our homes grow best in damp and poorly ventilated places where their spores can settle and form colonies.
Some amount of mould is present virtually everywhere. Domestic moulds can grow on almost any surface including food, furniture, carpets, walls, paper, timber and around plumbing. It is unpleasant to look at and creates a stale, musty smell that gives away its presence.
In most cases, the effects of mould are allergic responses to the spores. Irritation of the airways, eyes, and skin, however in some people these effects are more severe and can lead to difficulty breathing, nose bleeds and worsening asthma.
In addition to the allergic responses, some moulds such as Toxic Black Mould (Stachybotrys Chartarum) can release poisonous chemicals called mycotoxins which are dangerous. Mycotoxins can kill neurones, directly affecting our mental capacity and altering our psychological makeup. Early symptoms of ingesting mycotoxins include confusion, dizziness, seizures, hallucinations, and trembling.
If you encounter such symptoms, you should immediately seek medical attention and arrange for professional cleaning of your home.
Severe mould infestations should be dealt with professionally, as the chemicals used require special handling, and there is a health risk from close contact with mould spores and toxins as the mould is removed. If you suspect that you have Stachybotrys Chartarum in your home, you should always have it professionally removed to avoid any risk to your health.
In milder cases of mould, there are effective ways of cleaning mould away using safe household chemicals. An important thing to note is that while cleaning mould you should always wear a face covering, gloves, and eye protection and dispose of any cleaning cloths after you have finished to ensure that you do not ingest the mould later or spread it to other areas of your home.
Baking soda is a mild alkali with a pH of around 8-8.1, which is too high for mould to thrive. As such, it serves as a natural disinfectant for mould and is mild enough to be used on all types of surface.
To clean mould with baking soda, add a quarter of a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate to a spray bottle of water and stir until dissolved. Spray the mouldy area with the solution and then scrub the surface to remove the mould. Once cleaned, rinse the area and wipe dry to remove the remaining mould.
Vinegar is another household chemical that is a mild acid and will break down the structure of the mould to kill it off. It will work with around 82% of mould species.
The best type of vinegar to use is white distilled vinegar as this will not leave as much of a smell. Spray the vinegar onto the mould area and leave it for around an hour to work before rinsing the surface to remove the residue of mould.
You can use household to tackle more severe mould outbreaks.
Mix one-part bleach to four parts water and use the mixture to dampen a cloth before gently scrubbing at the mould before rinsing and drying the area completely after you finish cleaning.
Cleaning the mould away removes the immediate problem and mild risks to your health, but it is not a long-term solution, as it does nothing to prevent mould growing back in the future.
The main cause of the damp conditions that allow mould to grow is condensation that forms in our home as a result of moisture from cleaning, cooking, and bathing. The best way to prevent mould is to prevent condensation.
Using an extractor fan in your kitchen when cooking and in your bathroom while bathing will help expel moist air from your home. More advanced extractor fans such as the EnviroVent Cyclone 7 feature sensors that detect humidity levels and adjust their power levels to bring the air into balance.
For a complete and permanent solution, PIV systems which ventilate your whole home from a central unit in your loft are the best option.
Do not wait if you are concerned about the health risks of mould in your home. Speak to one of our local ventilation specialists. They will be able to arrange a free home survey to determine the root cause of your mould problem and provide advice about the best things to do in order to tackle the problem and remove mould from your home for good.
One of our local experts will contact you to learn more about your problems, offer free expert advice and make recommendations for a permanent solution.
During the free survey we will:
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