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How to control mould in your home

Getting rid of it and keeping it away

By Ania Szmyd-Potapczuk

, |

How to control mould in your home

Getting rid of it and keeping it away

By Ania Szmyd-Potapczuk

, |

2 min read

Understanding what mould needs to grow is the first step to controlling mould in your home. By tweaking some conditions in your home, you can almost stop the growth of mould entirely, but we don’t live in a sealed bubble, so it’s also important to know what you should do if you do find mould growing in your home.

 

What mould needs to grow

Mould needs several things to thrive: moisture, heat, oxygen, and food. Moulds are nature’s decomposers, and they live off organic material, such as wood and gypsum drywall. Some moulds have also evolved to grow on epoxy adhesives and pastes. Luckily, moulds still haven’t learned how to digest concrete, metal or glass, so houses made of these materials are less likely to have mould infestations.

The key factor in mould growth is moisture. In general, moulds love growing in humid, warm places, such as bathrooms and kitchens. If you live in an area of high humidity, you can also get mould growing in your carpet and even behind the paint on your walls.

How to prevent and control mould growth

Mould spores are, unfortunately, ubiquitous and difficult to get rid of due to their resilient outer coat. The best way to prevent mould growth is to make the conditions in your home unfavourable to mould growth, and the simplest way to do that is to keep your home dry.

The two main problem areas for mould growth are usually the bathroom and kitchen. It’s a good idea to keep the windows in both of these rooms open as much as possible. If you live in a humid area, consider getting an extractor fan that will vent the wet air to the outside. Tumble dryers produce a lot of wet heat, so use yours sparingly and install an exhaust to vent the air outside.

If you live in an area of high ambient humidity, consider buying a dehumidifier. This machine will suck the moisture from the air and condense it into liquid water. There are portable dehumidifiers that will work for a specific room, or you can install a house-wide dehumidification system if you have pervasive problems with mould.

Leaks and wet spots are prime targets for mould growth. Mould spores can germinate within 24 hours of a leak, so as long as you dry the area within that time frame, you shouldn’t have an issue with mould. Try to address leaks and areas of damp as quickly as possible to prevent the growth of mould.

 

What to do if you find mould in your home

Despite your best efforts, you’ll probably still find mould in your home occasionally. If it’s a small patch in your shower or your kitchen, you can use mildew remover or soap, and scrub it off. Small patches of mould probably won’t affect your health, but it’s still a good idea to clean them up as soon as possible.

Larger patches, especially on floors, walls and ceilings, may present a more serious health concern. These will need professional treatment, since it may be a symptom of a larger leak or moisture problem with the home that needs to be addressed. Also, larger mould patches produce more spores, and exposure to these spores may be harmful if you don’t have the right safety equipment. Consider speaking to a plumber to address the leak, and a mould removal specialist to clean up the infestation safely.

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