Problems with Mould and Mildew
Damp in your home can lead to the growth of mould and mildew, and these need to be treated differently to remove them effectively
Mould is usually fuzzy or slimy in appearance. It appears as irregularly shaped spots that can have different colours – blue, green, yellow, brown, grey, black, or white. If it is left untreated, surfaces that are covered in mould will begin to rot.
Mildew is the name for the most common type of black mould on walls, characterised by spots that can then spread over larger areas if left untreated. To find out if you have mildew on your walls, apply some bleach onto the affected area with a cloth. If the dark colour fades after a few minutes, it is mildew.
Both are caused by dampness. Condensation in your home – the result of humid air from activities such as bathing, cleaning, cooking and even breathing release water vapour into the air which, leading to condensation and eventually mould. This can affect all homes – even new builds with apparently good insulation and ventilation.
Damp and mould are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings can be caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames. In new homes damp will often occur while the water used during the building process is still drying out. Houses with poor insulation can encourage mould growth, including on the ceiling. When warmer, more humid air meets the cold wall, condensation forms, contributing to mould problems.
Your kitchen and bathroom are usually the optimal environments for mould and mildew to develop, as both are prone to being moist. In bathrooms, mould can grow on tiles, walls, wood and even blinds/curtains. Mould often grows from the floor upwards on bathroom walls but can also form on ceilings. It is important to remove it as quickly as possible as it can severely affect your breathing and trigger allergies.
Do not ignore mould in your home
Inhaling mould fragments or spores can inflame the airways, causing nasal congestion, wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and throat irritation. Prolonged exposure to high levels of indoor dampness can reduce lung function and cause chronic health problems such as asthma.
Occupants of damp or mouldy buildings are at increased risk of experiencing health problems such as respiratory symptoms, respiratory infections, allergic rhinitis, and asthma. Some people are more sensitive to mould than others, and some groups are especially vulnerable.
More worryingly, 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.
Infection from damp and mould is extremely serious so it is imperative that if you notice any of the above symptoms and live in a home where mould is present, you seek medical attention.