How to prevent mould from appearing on walls and remove the unsightly and unhealthy stains from our homes is a question faced to varying degrees by almost all households in the UK.
In our recent article on the health benefits of dehumidifiers we looked in-depth at how mould can be damaging to the health of you and your family. Mould patches produce airborne spores, dead cell fragments and some also produce harmful mycotoxins. These can lead to the common symptoms of mould exposure, such as irritated eyes, congestion, coughs and skin rashes.
As well as causing damage to our health, mould growth can also damage our houses. Areas that are particularly susceptible to damage include cupboards, bathrooms, showers and furniture. Unfortunately, while the mould that appears in these areas is usually easy to spot, swathes of it can be hidden away in carpets and carpet underlay, inside cavity walls, behind cabinets and in the loft space.
Mould spores stick to walls like super-glue, so great care needs to be taken to remove them and to prevent them from appearing in the first place. Here are our top tips for tackling mould:
1. Act As Soon As You Spot The Mould
Mould spores cement themselves to walls over time and are therefore much easier to remove when they first appear. The spots can also spread rapidly in size and to other areas of your home. Don’t delay in tackling the issue.
2. Spot The Causes Of Mould
The most common factors that leads to mould growth are excessive humidity and moisture, which are closely linked.
Causes of excess humidity:
- Poor ventilation
- Drying clothes indoors
- Baths & showers
- Wet and humid weather
Causes of moisture:
- Condensation (caused by excess humidity!)
- Poor ventilation of bathroom (lack of evaporation)
- Moisture entering through walls (e.g. rising damp)
- Blocked guttering
- Leaky roof
3. How To Fix These Problems
Before you start tackling the mould that has appeared, make sure it won’t grow back again by tacking the root causes with these handy tips:
- Most modern windows have small ventilation slots – make sure these are open.
- Fix broken extractor fans in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Keep bathroom and shower doors open, which will aid evaporation through ventilation.
- Use an appropriate spray (see here) after baths and showers
- Use lids on top of boiling pots and pans
- Use an anti-mould paint in mould-prone areas (see prices here). This isn’t practical for some rooms, but is ideal for the bathroom.
- Use a dehumidifier – in the fight against humidity there are some factors that are difficult to address, like the Great British weather or our need to dry clothes indoors in winter, so you may need some extra help. Of course we’re slightly biased, but we believe that using a dehumidifier is by far the most effective and easiest way to solve humidity issues. Buy the right dehumidifier and in all likelihood you’ll be able to wave goodbye to mould on walls for good. Take a look at our homepage for the dehumidifier buyer’s guide.
Of course if there’s water leaking into your home due to a hole in the roof, a blocked gutter or rising damp then these must be addressed, but how to do that is beyond the scope of this article.
4. Remove The Mould
The best way to remove mould on walls and other hard surfaces is by scraping it off with a credit card. This is much more effective when the wall is dry and it also reduces the risk of damaging your paintwork, so make sure that you attempt this before attacking it with any liquids.
Scraping it with a credit card does a surprisingly good job of removing patches of mould on walls, however traces of the spores will invariably still be present within the microscopic crevices of the wall. Due to this, it’s important to give the area you’ve scraped a very good scrub with a diluted bleach solution or mould spray. Doing so should hopefully kill off the remaining spores, but it’s a good idea to repeat this a few times, particularly for large or old patches of mould and mildew.
Bonus tip! To tackle mould that isn’t on a flat surface, say in the grout around tiles or on silicon sealant, spray HG Mould Spray on the affected area.
By implementing the changes we’ve listed here, with any luck the mould you’ve removed won’t be coming back any time soon. If it does, then if you haven’t already it’s worth investing in an appropriately sized dehumidifier. Check out our dehumidifier comparison table for a quick overview of all the models on the market.
I’m sure that the above list is by no means exhaustive. If you’ve got your own tips and tricks for how to get rid of mould on walls then please list them in the comments below!