Damp and mould are not just unpleasant to live with. If not dealt with, they could have serious consequences for your health and your family’s. It is important to find the cause, deal with the mould, and make the necessary repairs to prevent recurrence. So, how do you get rid of mould in your home?
What Causes Damp?
If you suspect you have damp in your home it will be coming from various sources:
This occurs when rain seeps in through the walls, leaking pipes, damage to roofs, guttering or around window frames. In a new build, damp may also occur as water used in construction, such as plastering, has yet to dry.
Rising damp works its way up from the ground and appears on the lower parts of your ground floor or basement walls up to a level of 5 feet. The latter type can normally be dealt with by investing in a damp proof course.
This forms when warm air meets cold surfaces in your home. Such as windows, mirrors and walls, and the air can no longer hold any more moisture. In very humid environments, such as kitchens and bathrooms, droplets of water form and linger.
The Problem with Mould
Damp on the internal walls of your home creates the perfect environment for mould to thrive and it is the spores from a toxic black mould, Stachybotrys Charatarum, that pose a health threat to you and your family.
If you have damp and mould in your home, it can adversely affect your immune system, and you are more likely to suffer from respiratory problems, asthma or allergies. It is particularly threatening to the very young and the elderly, and those already susceptible to respiratory issues or allergies and those with weakened immune systems.
How to Get Rid of Mould
Once you have identified and fixed the source of the excess moisture in your home should you tackle the mould? Otherwise, you will be fighting a losing battle. In some cases, you’ll need to get the professionals in to remove the mould.
The general advice is that you should only attempt the job yourself if the initial cause were condensation and if the affected area is less that 1m square. NEVER attempt to deal with mould yourself that has been caused by sewage or other contaminated water sources.
DIY Mould Removal:
Despite it being advised against, it’s not impossible to get rid of mould by yourself. If you are considering this route, make sure to do the following:
If you are removing the mould yourself be sure to keep windows open and doors closed to stop the spores spreading. Also ensure adequate protection from the mould spores by using a mask to cover mouth and nose, goggles without ventilation holes, and long rubber gloves.
Have a bin liner to hand to get rid of mouldy clothes, curtains and rug or to transport them for cleaning. You may have to replace any mattresses or soft toys that feel damp and smell mildewy.
Prepare some rags and a bucket of water with mild detergent, such as washing up liquid or soap powder used for hand-washing. WHO guidelines do not recommend the use of chemical disinfectants as they may be toxic and pose more of a health threat than a solution to your problem.
Clean and Dry
- Clean by wiping the mould off the wall with the soapy rag
- Use a dry rag to wipe and drywall
- The room should also be cleaned thoroughly after the mould has been removed
- Dispose of cleaning rags in plastic bags
Prevention is better then cure, so the old saying goes, and this applies to household damp and mould issues. The way to prevent mould is to control the moisture in and around the home. Here are some quick pointers:
- Identify and the problem areas in your home and then fix them
- Take quick action when water accumulates
- Reduce condensation in your home
- Keep your house well ventilated and monitor humidity