Apart from being ugly and making your home smell musty, molds can be incredibly harmful, causing respiratory diseases, skin irritations, headaches, vomiting, nausea, blocked noses and even death. Often the first sign of mold growth is the smell, as usually the growth starts in hidden areas, such as the corner of rooms or behind furniture. Fortunately it is not too hard to treat, provided it is caught early. Bleach solution, or specialist mold cleaners are very effective, but the best solution is to prevent the growth in the first place.
What Causes Mold?
Molds love warm damp conditions, which is why kitchens and bathrooms are prime areas for growth. Another common area in the home is around windows or doors on external walls. This can be a sign of damp penetrating through the wall. The number one cause of mold is condensation.
Any source of water can be a breeding ground for molds. Leeks from the roof or around windows will usually attract mold growth fairly quickly. You should also be regularly inspect the plumbing around your home. Minor leeks may not be noticeable immediately, but as pipework is often hidden away, it can create perfect conditions for mold growth.
Indoor plants are an attractive way of bringing the outside into your home, and can also improve the indoor air quality. On the other hand they can prove effective breeding grounds for molds, while also camouflaging them, making them harder to spot. If you have any indoor plants closely check them for molds each time your water them. Remember to check the soil as well as the leaves.
How to prevent mold?
It is important your home has adequate ventilation. This will ensure a fresh air supply for you and your family and will remove excess moisture from your home. Make sure any vents are unblocked, if you have trickle vents in your windows, they should be open. Ideally kitchens and bathrooms should have extractors to remove moisture when the rooms are in use.
You should also try to avoid excess moisture in the home. When mopping floors you should try not to leave too much water on them. The same goes for cleaning work surfaces. When washing clothes make sure they are properly dried out before putting them away. Again watch out for the musty mold smell in your wardrobe. Your clothes probably won’t be in there long enough for large visible mold growths, but even small amounts in your clothes, carried around with you all day, can be a health risk.
Any towels used to dry dishes, or even yourself after bathing, should be stored properly after use. Towels should be hanged on a rail, ideally over a radiator to encourage air flow and help them dry as quickly as possible.
How to kill molds?
Bleach will kill virtually all molds it comes into contact with. Before you begin ensure the room you are working in is well ventilated. You should also wear protective gloves. Dilute one part bleach with 10 parts water, then apply the solution to the affected area with a spray gun, or using a cloth/sponge. If the area is used for food preparation or you are concerned about children or pets coming into contact with it, then you can rinse, otherwise the bleach can dry onto the surface and will inhibit future growths. There are also purpose made mold cleaners or for a more natural alternative vinegar can be used, but bleach is the most effective treatment.
This article was written for Innotect Residential Architects.