How to prevent mould infestation, mould growth and mould in living spaces
Mould. The word alone is enough to make a person shudder.
Yes, mould can be good - it is essential for the production of Brie and penicillin, for example, and necessary for the decomposition of organic matter in nature - but it can also be very bad, especially if it grows undetected in your or your tenant's home.
White mould can grow anywhere in homes or a rental property: in the living space on carpets, clothing, food, paper and even in places you can't see, like the back of drywall, areas in walls, around leaking or condensing pipes and above ceiling tiles.
No one stands a chance against mould?
Not only is a mould problem difficult and costly to fix, but moulds can also produce allergens and irritants (and in rare cases toxins) that can endanger your health and cause a phenomenon such as mucous membrane irritation.
So what can you do if you fear that mould is growing in your home?
Prevent mould: It is best to prevent mould growth, mildew and mould fungi before they become a problem. The key point in mould prevention is quite simple: moisture control.
Note: In the following article you will find effective methods to combat indoor dampness and the mould that thrives on it.
What is mould?
Mould is a type of fungus that grows in multicellular structures called hyphae. These hyphae produce the mould spores that are found indoors and outdoors. Although mould spores can be found everywhere, mould needs moisture to grow. Therefore, mould can be especially common in refrigerators and shower rooms, after a burst water pipe or after a flood. There are thousands of different types of mould, some of which are used to make medicines and food. However, when mould forms, it can be harmful and lead to property damage and health problems.
Is mould harmful?
Mould growth is dangerous for two reasons. First, when mould begins to grow, it feeds on the materials on which it grows and causes irreversible structural building damage when it comes into contact with them. Second, mould releases tiny spores and metabolites into the air that can cause irritation or be the cause of many diseases. If inhaled, they can cause respiratory problems.
What to do to avoid mould in the home?
Mould is a fungus that can grow rapidly anywhere that is permanently damp. Living in a mouldy home can lead to serious health problems such as headaches, respiratory discomfort, blocked sinuses and irritation of the eyes, nose or throat. It is particularly dangerous for babies, children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with existing respiratory conditions, who are at higher risk of these problems.
Look for the causes first: When inspecting your home for mould, start with areas where there may be high humidity or water damage, such as a damp basement. Mould can grow on a variety of surfaces, including wood products, ceiling tiles, cardboard, wallpaper, carpeting, drywall, fabrics, plants, food and insulation.
The problem won't go away by itself! Use our clever service tips to remove mould from your home, carry out mould remediation yourself and prevent further mould growth or bad odours when using the rooms!
How do I get rid of mould forever? - 8 tips for mould prevention and removal
1. Identify problem areas in your home
You cannot make your house completely safe from all mould growth, but you can make it mould resistant.
To do this, take stock of your home: Where are the problem areas? Is or was the cellar under water? Do you often notice condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? What is the indoor climate like? Do you ventilate sufficiently in any case?
2. Dry wet surfaces immediately
Mould cannot thrive without moisture, so you should remove wet spots immediately.
Water that has entered the basement after a heavy rain, accumulated in a leaky pipe or even just spilled on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If flooding has occurred, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding and furniture before further use if they cannot be completely dried.
Care should also be taken with everyday occurrences: The most important thing is therefore not to leave wet objects lying around and to dry the floor and walls after showering. Always air well and do not leave wet clothes in the washing machine, as mould can quickly form there. Hang them up to dry - for example, in a 4-person household, it is best to do this outside or in well-ventilated rooms.
3. Prevent moisture with proper ventilation
It may be that your routine household activities are encouraging the growth of mould and mildew in your home.
The key word again is ventilation: Always make sure that an activity as simple as cooking, showering or doing laundry does not lead to mould growth by providing adequate ventilation in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and other rooms with high humidity. Also ventilate appliances that produce moisture - clothes dryers, ovens - outside.
Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers, but make sure they don't produce moisture themselves by checking them regularly and cleaning them according to the manufacturer's instructions. Energy-efficient homes can keep moisture inside, so open a window when you cook, do the dishes or shower, or run an exhaust fan.
4. Equip your home with mould-resistant materials.
Are you building or renovating?
As a property owner or landlord, you should use products such as mould-resistant drywall, wallpaper or sheetrock, and mould-retardant paints. Conventional drywall consists of a gypsum core pressed between layers of paper. Mould-resistant drywall is paperless - the gypsum core is coated with glass fibres, which makes the surface very resistant to water.
5. Monitor indoor humidity
It is recommended to keep indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent.
You can measure the humidity in homes with a humidity meter, which you can buy at a hardware store. You can also detect high humidity simply by looking for potential problem areas in your home. Telltale signs of high humidity and a poor indoor climate are condensation on the window, pipes, wall or ceiling. In case of condensation, dry the surface immediately and eliminate the source of moisture (e.g. turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows).
6. Clean or repair gutters
A mould problem can also be a simple roof leak due to a full or damaged gutter.
Have your gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them if necessary and look out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak. This makes preventing mould and fighting mould easy.
7. Improve the air circulation in your home
The air can absorb less moisture when temperatures drop.
Without good ventilation, this excess moisture can settle on the wall, windows and floors. To improve air circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls and open the doors of cupboards that may be colder than the temperature of the rooms they are in. Ventilate and let fresh air in to reduce humidity and keep mould at bay in the home.
8. Keep mould away from houseplants
They are beautiful and keep the indoor air clean - and mould loves them.
The moist soil in houseplants is a perfect breeding ground for mould, which can then spread to other areas of the home. Tips for mould and mildew prevention: Instead of disposing of your plants, you can add a little taheebo tea to the water you give your houseplants. The oil from this tree, which is fungus-resistant even in the rainforest, helps prevent mould in plant soil and is available at health food stores or online. Just enter the search term for it.
Tools for mould removal
Are you planning to fight mould? Make sure you have these cleaning tools to hand when removing mould and air thoroughly before and after:
- Latex or rubber gloves
- Bucket and brush
- Hoover with a brush attachment
- Cleaning cloth and sponge
- Cleaning agent without ammonia, soap or commercial mould remover/anti-mould agent
- Chlorine bleach
- Furniture polish
How to prevent mould damage in the bathroom
Few rooms in the home are as affected by dampness and humidity as the bathroom. The first step to preventing mould is to ensure that the bathroom is well ventilated. Ventilation helps to circulate the air and a dehumidifier ensures that moisture is removed more quickly and the room climate is comfortable. These additional measures and tips will also help to keep your bathroom fresh and mould-free:
- Spread towels out after use so they dry faster.
- Leave as few containers as possible in the shower to facilitate cleaning and improve ventilation.
- Wipe down the shower with a clean towel or wipe after the last daily use.
- Choose shower curtains that are easy to clean and dry to avoid soap residue that promotes mould.
If you are dealing with a mouldy shower curtain, follow these steps to clean it:
- Wash it with a solution of 1/2 cup liquid disinfectant to 4 litres of hot water.
- Rinse it with a mixture of one cup of lemon juice and one cup of salt to half a litre of hot water.
- Wash it with detergent and bleach (use a colour-fast bleach for coloured fabrics).
Conclusion: Prevent mould throughout the house
You can prevent mould with a few measures:
- Use dehumidifiers, fans and open windows to reduce the humidity in your home and provide a good indoor climate.
- Repair leaking pipes as soon as possible.
- Do what you can to prevent rainwater from entering your home and check potential problem areas regularly.
- Clean textiles in your home regularly and keep them dry.
- Generally store items in dry, well-ventilated areas.
How to get rid of mould on the wall?
Mix one part bleach with three parts water in a bucket. Scrub the mould-infested wall thoroughly with the bleach-water solution using a scrubbing brush or heavy-duty sponge until the mould stains are gone.
Why is there mould in the bedroom?
Unlike in the kitchen and bathroom, where constant moisture from water vapour is one of the main causes of mould, mould in the bedroom is due to condensation and regular dampness (e.g. from the weather). If you want to subject your bedroom to a mould check, you should first focus on the walls, windows and ceilings.
How can I prevent mould in the bathroom?
If you want to keep your bathroom mould-free, you should get into these habits:
- Always switch on the bathroom fan.
- After showering, open the windows and ventilate.
- Always hang your flannel or towels to dry.
- Put your shower products on a soap dish or shelf.
- Wipe with a mop after every shower.
You don't feel like preventing mould on a regular basis? Our DUSCHKRAFT Home dehumidifier for the bathroom prevents it for you!
How to heat with mould?
The right temperature plays a major role in preventing mould. In living rooms, the room temperature should be about 20 degrees. In the bedroom and bathroom, it should not be colder than 15 degrees. For the living room, the limit is 16 degrees.