Don’t Ignore the Mould in Your Home
A worrying 6% of households in the UK have damp and 41% of renters report having mould in their homes. Damp and mould is not just unsightly; it can cause serious health problems. But while moving out of the property may seem like a solution, the stress and upheaval of even just sleeping somewhere new on a temporary basis can be considerable; especially if you’ve lived in your home for a number of years. If you think you might have mould or damp in your home or worried about the conditions of an elderly loved one’s home, it’s crucial that you eliminate the mould and take steps to stop it from coming back.
What Causes Damp and Mould?
Mould is caused by too much moisture that can be a result of rising damp, leaking pipes and rain that has been able to get in because of a damaged roof or window frame. The most common place for black mould is in the bathroom, but it can also be found in bedrooms, behind beds, on or around windows and in cupboards and wardrobes. Excess moisture and a lack of proper ventilation inside a property can cause condensation. This can be caused by simple everyday things like cooking, drying clothes inside and showering.
How Damp and Mould Can Affect Your Health
While a small amount of mould is quite common in most homes, a build-up of it can be very dangerous for your health. For children and older people, mould is particularly dangerous. Inhaling mould spores can cause your airway to become inflamed. They can also cause nasal congestion, sore throat, chest tightness and wheezing. Furthermore, they can irritate your eyes and cause serious skin rashes.
The Dangers of Black Mould
One of the most dangerous and perhaps infamous types of mould is Stachybotrys chartarum, more commonly known as black mould. It can grow on water-damaged building materials and produces toxic spores and has been linked to a number of serious respiratory illnesses. For elderly people and those with an immune deficiency, black mould is particularly dangerous and should be removed as a matter of urgency. For your safety, serious cases of black mould should be removed by an experienced professional.
Removing other types of Mould
If you find mould in your home caused by condensation and it covers an area no larger than one meter squared, you can try to remove it yourself. Before you start, make sure you protect yourself from mould spores by wearing safety goggles, a mask that covers your mouth and nose and long rubber gloves. Also be sure to open all the windows, but keep doors closed to stop any spores from spreading to other parts of the house. Any soft furnishings, toys or clothes that have mould should be thoroughly cleaned or disposed of.
Tips for Safe Getting Rid of Mould (And Stop it Coming Back)
Fill a bucket with mild soapy water and wet an old cloth, then wipe the mould off the wall (never brush it). When you’ve finished, use a dry cloth to remove the moisture from the area. Put the used rags in a plastic bag and throw them away. Once you’ve successfully removed all traces of mould, it’s important to ensure you prevent it from returning. There are some very simple things you can do such as always ventilate rooms and keep doors open so air can circulate, dry washing outside, put lids on saucepans and turn on the fan and open the window when cooking or showering. It also helps if you aim to keep on top of all household maintenance jobs so that any leaks and potential causes of damp and mould can be dealt with quickly.