If high levels of humidity in your bathroom or kitchen have been allowed to persist and you have condensation problems, it can quickly lead to the growth of unsightly mould on walls and ceilings. Mould thrives on damp surfaces and creates large dark patches that can stain paintwork, but did you know that it can also be very bad for your health.
There are more than 100,000 different species of mould. Some are closely related to fungus while others are more like an algae. Like other fungi, moulds absorb nutrients from the surface that they grow on and spread through microscopic spores that are carried on the air. Moulds are so prevalent in the world that you might breathe in their spores thousands of times each day, but unless the spores have the chance to settle on a suitable surface they do not start to grow.
Domestic moulds typically grow well in damp conditions and in areas with limited airflow. Damp patches caused by condensation in bathrooms create the ideal environment for mould, and once spores are allowed to settle, they can grow very quickly.
The visible part of mould – the dark patches that you can see – are the fruiting body of the organism. Like other types of fungus, most of the mould growth is just below the surface. This means that while it can be easy to clean the surface mould away, it will grow back if the conditions remain.
Mould is unpleasant to look at and can seriously affect the value of your home, but it can also damage your health.
As soon as mould has matured, it releases large numbers of spores into the air to spread to other areas. When you are close to mould, you can pick up the spores on your skin and even inhale them. When the mould spores come into contact with your airways or the mucus membranes around your eyes, they will trigger an immune response from your body. This response can be mild or severe. A severe immune response to mould spores will include swelling of the affected area which can make your eyes itch and make it harder to breathe.
People with respiratory illnesses such as asthma may suffer an attack and, in some cases, may need medical help.
Alongside the allergic response to mould spores, some species such as Stachybotrys Chartarum (toxic black mould) release chemicals called mycotoxins that can create a very serious reaction.
If you have discovered mould in your home, the first step you should take is to clean the affected area. Most supermarkets sell special fungicidal cleaning products, but you can also use dilute bleach on affected surfaces. Make sure you are working in a well-ventilated area and wearing a face covering and gloves to prevent you inhaling the mould spores when cleaning.
Spray the cleaning liquid onto the affected area and wipe away the mould from the surface. Once you have finished cleaning, you should dispose of the cloth you have used to prevent contamination in other rooms.
Unfortunately, cleaning mould away is only a temporary solution, and unless you address the conditions that allow mould to grow it will quickly return.
To stop mould for good, you need to reduce the humid conditions that mould thrives in. Stopping condensation from forming in your home by improving your ventilation is the most effective way of preventing mould.
If you have discovered mould in your home, it is important to act as quickly as possible. Our local ventilation specialists can visit your home and conduct a free survey that will identify the source of condensation. They can provide you with advice about the best way of stopping mould from growing in future and offer a range of ventilation solutions that will prevent condensation.
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