- What is mould?
- Types of mould
- Mould and your health
- How to remove mould from your home
- Preventing mould
- When to call in the professionals
What is mould?
Mould is a fungus that grows in warm and damp conditions, where there is not much airflow. It can grow indoors or outdoors – basically, anywhere moisture accumulates, mould can and often will grow. Green, white or black mould is common, as is but it can range from grey to orange/brown. When it grows outside, it plays an important role in breaking down organic matter. Read more about other fungi here.
Recognising mould is not always easy. It can look like a stain, smudge or discolouration on a surface. Sometimes it can look like a fuzzy growth.
Mould spreads via spores – tiny particles carried through the air. They are so small you can’t see them, but you can breathe them in or get them on your skin after touching a mouldy spot.
Types of mould
As mould grows in moist environments without good airflow, some areas to keep an eye on include:
- Kitchens, bathrooms, laundries – especially if prone to condensation or high humidity
- Cupboards and corners – if not well ventilated
- Walls or windows – due to condensation caused by hot air on one side and cold on the other
- Walls and ceilings – mould on the ceiling will occur with insufficient insulation or a water leak
Mould and your health
When you come into contact with mould it can trigger:
- Nasal congestion
- Coughing, wheezing
- Respiratory infections or worsen asthma and allergic conditions
- Irritated eyes or skin
How to remove mould from your home
There are several methods of attacking mould in your home. Try cleaning mouldy surfaces with a mix of mild detergent or vinegar diluted in water – four parts detergent/vinegar to one part water. If this doesn’t work, use a diluted bleach solution of 250 millilitres bleach in 4 litres of water. Remember to use protective equipment when handling bleach (rubber gloves, safety glasses and safety shoes). Only use bleach in a well-ventilated area.
To keep your bathroom clean and hygienic, try Dettol’s Healthy Clean Bathroom Spray, suitable for use on tiles and walls, plastic rubbish bins, glass and bath surfaces as well as floors and wooden surfaces too.
Always ensure the surface is completely dry after you’ve removed the mould. If you cannot remove mould, you can reach out to professional cleaners. If you find carpet mould, or mould on any other soft material, you may need to have it replaced.
There are three key steps to preventing mould from growing in your home. These are:
- Maintain proper airflow – use an exhaust fan in rooms with condensation like the bathroom, kitchen or laundry. Open windows in good weather to improve airflow.
- Reduce humidity – try and limit the number of indoor plants or fish tanks as well as humidifiers or unflued gas heaters.
- Control moisture – ensure there are no leaks and if water does get in, clean and dry anything it touches as soon as possible.
You can also use Dettol’s Glen 20 Spray Disinfectant to help control the growth of mould on hard surfaces. Simply spray on the pre-cleaned surface until wet and leave for 10 minutes to air dry.
When to call in the professionals
If you are having trouble getting rid of mould or remedying the source (i.e. moist environment with poor airflow) then you can reach out to occupational hygienists. They provide mould testing and consultancy services to help find the source of the problem and find a solution.
For further information contact the Environmental Health section of your local council.