Mould (of which mildew is a type) is caused by condensation or intrusive moisture, and damp conditions are its playground. Mould loves areas where there’s limited air circulation, and hot and cold temperature swings, so the bathroom is a prime spot. It also likes kitchens, basements and even ventures into wardrobes. So how can you banish it from your home? Inside Out builder Wayd Munro shares his know-how.
1. Work with nature
Natural ventilation is your best defence against mould and mildew. If you can keep a window open permanently, great. If not, at least open them before and after showering and bathing. And never block airbricks or window vents. Darkness is another of mould’s friends, so keep the lights on for a while after showering and leave the blinds open (where practical) to let in the natural sunlight.
2. Get extra help
Exhaust fans counteract the steam produced by hot showers; many people have them fitted as part of a simple three-way lighting, heating and ventilation unit. If you suspect the humidity levels in your home are on the high side, a gadget called a hygrometer can test the air. Anything above 60 per cent can breed mould so in this case, consider using a dehumidifier. In cold weather it’s ideal to maintain a constant heating level as turning heating up and down when you come in or go out can cause condensation to form.
3. Clean it off
Completely remove any mould as soon as it appears to prevent permanent stains. You can buy a range of products that do the job. Home remedies range from tea tree oil to baking soda and distilled vinegar. If you catch it soon enough, sometimes a warm cloth will be enough.
4. Defend with paint
Mould-resistant paints contain antimicrobial ingredients that help prevent the growth of mould on painted surfaces. There are plenty of brands available and they all do pretty much the same thing. It’s important to make sure the area you’re painting is mould-free and dry before you start, as painting over mould won’t contain it.
5. Move your furniture
It’s best not to place large, heavy pieces of furniture such as wardrobes and sofas directly against external walls because trapped air can cause condensation to form between the two, and mould will be in among your shoes and clothes before you know it. Always leave a gap so the air can circulate freely.
NOTE: If you’re having serious problems with mould, it’s important to establish that it’s not being caused by rising damp, poor drainage or leaks from rain or dodgy plumbing.