How to prevent mould growth this summer
Preventing Mould in Summer
The Summer months on the Gold Coast not only bring our beaches to life with great conditions to enjoy the hotter months, but they also bring the Storm season and high humidity.
Water Damage to our properties and the high humidity combine to provide the optimal growing conditions for mould. Under optimal conditions a single mould spore can germinate and produce a fungal colony with hundreds of thousands of spores in 4 to 9 days. To grow and thrive mould requires organic matter and water. The organic matter can almost be any carbon-containing material, such as plant matter, cotton, wood, hemp, wool, leather, soil, house dust or paints, even children’s dirty hand prints. Water can be in the form of standing water, condensation, dampness, or high humidity. Mould can survive in humidity ranges from 0% to 100% but flourish in the 65% to 85% range.
Indoor Mould Spores
Mould colonies may not be large or colourful enough to be seen with the naked eye, but mould growth should be suspected in the following locations:
- Areas where “musty” or “mouldy” odours are detected
- Areas with poor circulation, such as garages, unventilated walk-in-robes, and other storage areas; closed-up cabins, summer homes and boat cabins.
- Locations where flooding has occurred, especially on rugs and under padding, wood floors, baseboards, paperbacked wallboard (gypsum board), wallpaper.
- Sites where constant dampness is a problem: leaky plumbing around toilets, under sinks and dishwashers; leaking roofs; poorly sealed basements; inadequately ventilated bathrooms; poorly vented clothes dryers; refrigerator drip pans; air conditioner or dehumidifier condensate reservoirs.
- Indoor house plants and aquariums.
- Stuffed furniture, pillows, mattresses, old stuffed toys, wool carpets, stored paper products (books, magazines), stored clothing and bedding.
- Anywhere dust or soil accumulates in the home. (Counts can be very high during vacuuming).
How to Get Rid of Mould:
- Investigate your home or office for moisture leakage. If you find any moisture leaks, clean them up with a dry towel immediately and find the source of the leak. Consider hiring a professional if the leak does not stop or if you are dealing with a plumbing issue. The leak is not covered by Home Insurance but the damage that the leak causes is – for example damage to walls, gables, floor coverings and contents. Controlling moisture leaks in your home or place of work will reduce the mould’s ability to thrive.
- Mould loves warm and wet places. If you live in a place with humidity levels of 70% or more, you must particularly take heed to prevent toxic mouldy air. Invest in a high-quality dehumidifier and test your home for mould over-growth.
- Temperatures above 23°C, as well as poorly lit rooms and unmoving air, can actually create more mould. Keep fresh air moving in your home, as well as bright sunlight coming in through your windows. This will help reduce toxic mould.
- Open a window while you take a shower, if possible.
- Change air filters regularly in heating and air-conditioning vents.
- Make sure your clothes dryer has an anti-humidity vent.
- Check walk-in-robes for mould growth – this first signs can be found on leather shoes as they are an excellent food source for mould. This is especially important if you have ever placed wet or damp clothing in your wardrobes. If you find mould in your wardrobe, wash your clothes immediately to help clean any possible mould spores to stop airborne cross contamination.
- Protect your breathing passages when removing active or dead mould. Wear a mask (P2), eye protection and protective gloves that filter mould.
- When cleaning, slightly wet the mould to lessen the amount of airborne spores in the breathing atmosphere while you are cleaning. This can be done with a damp cloth.
- Scrub hard surfaces infested in mould with a Vinegar solution – 80% vinegar and 20% water is recommended.
- Porous surfaces can be cleaned and treated with Antimicrobials by a professional such as Westaway Restorations.
- Remember, the best prevention for mould is to KEEP THINGS DRY and well ventilated.