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Can Mildew be Harmful to Health?

Can Mildew be Harmful to Health?

Mildew is a form of fungus that can grow on cool, moist, or poorly ventilated surfaces in your home.  It is most commonly seen behind furniture on exterior walls, but it can also grow in cabinets and on furniture.  Moulds and mildew are not the same thing, although they do grow in similar conditions, and often indicate that there is an underlying problem with damp or condensation.  While mould is formed of black patches, mildew it is made up of thousands of tiny hairlike filaments called hyphae, and it is normally white or light green.  If you've noticed spots on your walls or furniture and are wondering if mildew is dangerous to your health, we can help.

Is Mildew Bad for Your Health?

Moulds and mildew can trigger allergic reactions and exacerbate respiratory problems like asthma.  As it matures, mildew releases microscopic spores into the air that can be inhaled and cause irritation to the airway linings.

Some people are more allergic to mildew than others.  Mildew spores typically trigger the most severe allergic reactions in those who have asthma or other respiratory allergies such as Hayfever.  Small children, the elderly, or family members who have skin disorders like eczema may also be at risk.

Mildew can be especially dangerous for persons with compromised immune systems, so it's critical to treat mildew as soon as possible and take efforts to prevent it from returning.

If any of these people live in your home, there's a good possibility that the answer to the question "Can Mildew be Harmful to Health?" is yes, and you should take steps to get rid of it. 

Finding Mildew

If you have a damp or condensation problem in your home, you're likely to have mould or mildew colonies growing in various parts of the house.

A stale odour when you open the door is usually the first clue that mildew is growing in a room.  Mildew thrives in places with limited air circulation, such as under furniture or in closets.  It's possible that your clothes will smell musty when you put them on if it's growing nearby.

Cleaning Mildew

Mildew can be removed with everyday cleaning supplies.  Walls and other surfaces are usually cleaned with it.  Scrubbing should be avoided since it can release additional spores into the air, which can spread the fungus once they land.  When cleaning, wear a mask and gloves to avoid inhaling mildew spores, and make sure to throw away the cleaning cloth when you're done.

If you find patches of mildew growing on clothing in a wardrobe, you need to clean them thoroughly on a hot wash.   Before replacing the clothing in the wardrobe, ensure that you have cleaned all of the interior surfaces properly and try to leave more room to allow for more ventilation so that the mildew does not simply grow back.

Preventing Mildew from Forming                                

Mildew can only thrive in the presence of moisture and warmth.  Mildew thrives fastest when humidity levels are between 62 and 91 percent and temperatures are between 25 and 31 degrees Celsius.  Mildew will still grow at lower temperatures and humidity levels, but it will take longer to do so.

Reduce the humidity in your home to avoid mildew from returning after you've cleaned.  If you don't have enough ventilation or a powerful extractor fan in your bathroom or kitchen, water vapour from cooking and cleaning can travel throughout your home.

If you have a mildew problem in your house and are worried about the potential damage to your health that mildew will cause, book a free home survey.

Our local ventilation consultants will visit your house and identify the causes of mildew in your home, and then provide you with helpful advice about the best way of preventing the condensation that causes dampness to get a foothold.

Need help with condensation, mould or damp problems?

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

  • check Assess any condensation, damp or mould problems in your property
  • check Take readings of the relative humidity levels
  • check Identify any underlying problems and make recommendations for a permanent solution

Need help with condensation, mould or damp problems?