Mould! This fungus can be hard to beat once it finds it’s way into your home, and at this time of year rainfall and cold temperatures can increase the chances of that happening. Best efforts must be made to rid yourself of it, however; the HHSRS (Housing Health & Safety Rating System) classes mould as a category 1 risk to health, which is the same category asbestos is listed as! Although the negative effects will be most felt by those with asthma or respiratory problems, and the elderly and infants, all those exposed are at risk. As well as breathing problems, it can cause issues with sleep, muscular aches and pains, and can even be responsible for decreased brain activity.
The cause of mould is plain and simple: moisture. Without moisture, mould can not thrive. Condensation, incorrect ventilation, building defects...
these factors all must be taken into account, as they contribute to the kind of environment the fungus needs to survive. 48 hours is all that is
needed for it to appear. It’s fairly easy to recognise; being found mainly in dark damp areas, it appears orange, green or black, and can feel
slimy, hairy or powdery to the touch. Once you’ve identified it, however, what’s the best way to get rid of it? If it’s a bad case, it is advised
that specialists are brought in to professionally remove it, but DIY mould removal can be attempted if you know what you’re doing.
You may see conflicting advice regarding the use of bleach to clear away mould, as it can often exacerbate the problem when used incorrectly. If you’re clearing mould from non porous surfaces such as tiles or glass, household bleach can be used; however on a porous material, for example wood, it’s a bad idea. The bleach, made up mostly of water, will soak into the surface you’ve cleaned, then the bleach will evaporate leaving more moisture behind. So, use chlorine or ammonia bleach only on non porous surfaces.
Oxy bleach is much more acceptable for use a mould cleaning agent; it penetrates porous and non porous materials alike, and the oxygen bubbles break the bond between mould and material, pulling the mould right out of the surface you’re cleaning.
If you are looking for a quick, on the spot attack on mould, success has been seen using vinegar, washing up soap, disinfectant wipes, or baking powder, all items which can often be found around the house; this approach is only viable on small patches of mould, as excessive areas require further investigation.
When all is said and done, the only way to really battle against it effectively is to fight it at the source; with no moisture, there is no mould. This is particularly relevant during cold, wet weather, as our homes are more susceptible to condensation, or even leaks. Proper ventilation is the only permanent solution to a mould problem, as cleaning it away will not prevent the appearance of more; if the source of moisture remains, so does the prospect of more mould. If your property suffers with mould, you may need to seek a ventilation specialist, who can work with you to ensure your home is adequately protected from the elements.
Are you experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this post? Why not take a look at What’s Polluting The Air In Your Home to find what the cause may be.