How to Deal with Damp and Mould in Your House

Damp and mould in the house is a common problem. Areas like the bathroom or the cellar are especially susceptible to these kinds of problems. So, how do you deal with it? Luckily, there are several ways you can prevent mould in the first place, but even if you do find mould, there are ways you can get rid of it.

If mould is left to grow, it can cause allergic reactions, respiratory problems and in some cases serious illnesses. It is important to prevent mould-friendly conditions and get rid of mould quickly after it is detected.

The trick to dealing with mould is understanding what causes it. All mould needs water to grow. Growth starts when a spore lands on a damp area and then has enough time and moisture to develop and grow into mould. When you understand this, you can prevent and remove mould more effectively.

Preventing Mould

Preventing mould is generally easier than getting rid of it. So, anything you can do to make sure there aren’t any areas with mould growing conditions in your home will help stop mould from even appearing.

Prevent Dampness

First, prevent dampness. Since mould needs moisture to grow, keeping things dry will prevent it form becoming a problem. If you experience flooding or water damage, dry the area completely within 24 to 48 hours. You can use floor and carpet dryers to help clean up major spills and water damage.

In areas like your bathroom and windowsills, dry condensation and moisture as soon as you notice it. It may be hard to control water in these places, but keeping the ceiling, walls and floors as dry as possible will help prevent mould.

Check for Structural Problems

Structural problems that allow water to enter your home can be a major contributor to mould. Make sure door and window seals are intact, clean out rain gutters frequently and repair roof or siding damage as soon as possible. If you notice cracks in your ceiling or drywall, contact a plumber to make sure you don’t have a water leak.

You should also make sure the ground outside your home slopes away from your foundation so that water won’t collect around your home and seep into your basement. Regularly check for cracks and damage to your foundation and basement walls so you can make repairs quickly.

Reduce Humidity Levels

High humidity levels create the perfect environment for mould. By reducing the humidity levels in your home, you are making it harder for mould to grow and preventing problems.  You can do this by making sure appliances that use water, like dryers and kerosene heaters, have vents that take air and moisture outside your home. You should also use a fan or open a window when you take a shower, cook or wash dishes.

In extreme cases, you can use a dehumidifier to dry out very damp rooms or clean up after a flood.

Keeping Things Clean

Another way you can prevent mould is to keep areas that may attract dampness especially clean. Use chlorine to wipe up damp bathrooms or kitchens and clean these areas with specialised cleaning products on a regular basis. Doing this will help prevent mould from growing in problem areas. You can also use steam cleaners and carpet cleaners to make sure your carpets are always clean.

The best way to prevent mould is to keep your home dry and to clean areas prone to dampness with special chemicals like chlorine.

Removing Mould

If you do have a problem with mould, you can remove it, clean the area and then work to prevent it from growing again.

Assess the Damage

First, find out how big your mould problem is. Did you find a few patches on your bathroom ceiling? Or have you discovered that mould has taken over in your cellar? In general, if the damaged area is less than one square meter, you can do the mould cleanup yourself. If it is larger than that, you should call an expert who can safely remove the mould, treat the area and help you repair any damage.

Fix the Problem and Dry the Area

Before you begin the mould-cleanup process, stop the source of water. It would be counterproductive to try to clean up mould while moisture is still being produced. For example, if the mould is due to a leaky pipe, have the pipe repaired before you start removing the mould. Then, dry the area completely. Use towels to wipe up moisture and use fans and carpet dryers where necessary.

Protect Yourself

As you work to clean up mould, you need to protect yourself and have as little contact with the mould as possible. To do this, wear a face mask or respirator, long rubber gloves and goggles.

Remove the Mould

Most mould can be removed with some vigorous scrubbing. Use a mix of water and detergent and a scrub brush to remove all the mould from the affected area.

If the surface is fabric or a porous material, you may have to discard it. Mould can penetrate these materials and grow in even the tiniest of cracks, so even if you remove most of it now, it could grow back.

When you are done removing the mould, completely dry the area again with towels and fans.

Repair the Damage

Never paint over mould. Doing this won’t solve the problem and the paint job won’t be very good, since it will be likely to peel and flake off. If you want to repaint the area, make sure it is completely free of mould and perfectly dry first.

More extensive damage may require bigger repairs, like new flooring or drywall installation. Some of these projects you can do yourself and others will require the help of a professional.

Mould cleanup consists of assessing the area, fixing the problem, drying the area, removing the mould and then working to repair the damage. The scope of this kind of project will depend on how much mould you have and what kind of area you are working in.

The best way to deal with damp and mould in your home is to prevent it. Keep things as dry as possible, use proper ventilation, keep things clean and make sure your home’s structure is sound. If you do find mould, these tips can help you take care of it right away so it no longer poses a health risk to your family.

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About the Author

Lauren King

Lauren works in our Ecommerce Team, with over 6 years of experience at HSS. She brings product knowledge and is able to give her advice on the right tool for the job no matter how big or small.

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