Preventing and removing damp in the home


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There are few things worse than finding mould in your home but don’t worry, there are ways to deal with it on your own without spending a fortune

Humidity, or moisture in the air, can result in mould and it can happen pretty quickly. If a surface has been damp for 24 hours or more, mould can start to grow. However, there are precautions you can take to prevent your home turning furry. Here are our top tips to keep your home mould-free.

What causes mould?

The main cause of mould in the home is dampness which can be the result of bad insulation, poor ventilation, leaks, or the age of your home. Surprisingly, it’s not just old homes that fall victim to damp as new build homes can suffer if they are built on land with poor drainage. Ground floor rooms and basements are more likely to suffer from damp than rooms higher up in your home.

If there’s been bad weather then it could be leaking pipes or a leaky roof which causes the problem so be sure to keep an eye out for any drips or a sudden drop in water pressure. Our home checklist of what you should do to look after your home if there’s bad weather offers some tips on this.

Condensation is a killer, especially if you live in a flat with poor ventilation, as drying clothes, cooking and having a shower all create it.

How do you get rid of mould?

If the mould in your home only covers some small areas, it is possible to easily remove it yourself.

Firstly, you need to protect yourself from the mould. Make sure to wear goggles, gloves and a mask to cover your mouth and nose. It might seem excessive but mould and mildew are pretty nasty and NHS Choices warns to keep windows and doors open to prevent spores spreading around the house.

Next, separate your items. Put mouldy items into plastic bags, once you’ve done this, you can begin to clean the mould off the surfaces in your home.

Fill a bucket with mild detergent then use a rag to gently wipe all the surfaces in the room. Even if there isn’t any visible mould on the surface, it’s important to clean all the surfaces, as you want to make sure all spores are removed from your home. Vacuum any carpeted areas.

In all cases where the mould covers an area larger than 1x1 metre it's too widespread to treat it yourself, in this case you would need to call an expert. A professional will come into your home and remove and treat it as well as help identify additional sources of moisture that could be contributing to your problem.

How do you clean items damaged by mould?

You’ll need to decide whether your items are worth keeping, if not, throw them away. If you can’t bear the thought of chucking them, follow these simple steps to get them as good as new:

  • Check the care label of your items as the most cost-effective way to clean them is to place them in the washing machine
  • Before placing your item in the washing machine, you should clean the spots with a mould remover which you can pick up at most DIY stores
  • Use rags or old toothbrushes and make sure you follow the directions on the mould remover
  • Once this is done, you can place your items in the washing machine. Use a good quality detergent and wash your items on the highest possible temperature.

If your items cannot be machine washed, you should take them to a dry cleaner to have them professionally deep cleaned.

How can you prevent mould from coming back?

  • Make sure that your home is properly ventilated. This includes extractor fans in both the kitchen and bathroom
  • Open your windows for 15 minutes every morning
  • If you consistently notice excess moisture in the air, consider purchasing a dehumidifier. This can really help minimize the dampness in your home
  • Heat your home as this helps keep the moisture and dampness at bay
  • Run the extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom whenever you cook or shower and if possible, open the windows. You should also keep the doors to these rooms closed in order to prevent the moisture from traveling to other rooms
  • Invest in some mould spray
  • Use anti-condensation paint
  • Check for any cracks in walls or broken guttering outside the house
  • PIV – Positive input ventilation.

Keeping your home in the best possible condition is probably a priority whether you'e a homeowner or renter, check out our selection of guides to keep your home safe and looking good all year round. 

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