- The Dangers of Mould
- How to Prevent Mould at Home
- Removing Mould From Your Home
Scientists have identified around 100,000 species of mould.
The good news is that most of these moulds are harmless. In fact, some are even beneficial to humans and have given us wonderful things like penicillin and bleu cheese.
However, other moulds can cause adverse health effects like respiratory problems.
What causes harmful mould to grow in homes, and what can we do to avoid it?
The Dangers of Mould
Wherever there is moisture, there is mould.
Each spore has a diameter of two to 10 microns, which means they’re invisible to the naked eye. It’s only when multiple mould spores grow together that they become visible.
People who are sensitive to mould can display symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, and skin allergies.
About 80 of the 100,000 species of mould are considered harmful to humans, especially those that have asthma. Moulds can trigger serious asthma, even among those who aren’t allergic to mould. This makes mould a serious health hazard in South Africa, which ranks 25th worldwide for asthma prevalence and fifth for asthma mortality.
To prevent health problems, it’s crucial to take the proper steps to stop harmful moulds from growing in your home.
How to Prevent Mould at Home
Mould is found indoors and outdoors. It grows in humid, moist places, such as poorly ventilated bathrooms and basements, and around leaky roofs, windows, or pipes.
Mould flourishes most on paper and wood products, as well as ceiling tiles. It can also grow in wallpaper, drywall, carpet, dust, fabric, and insulation.
Thankfully, you can prevent mould by controlling the moisture levels in your home. This means fixing any leaks, thoroughly cleaning and drying any flooded areas, and properly ventilating laundry, shower, and cooking areas.
You can also lower humidity levels in your home by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier. As a rule of thumb, try to keep humidity levels below 50 per cent all day.
Removing Mould From Your Home
It’s impossible to totally get rid of mould spores indoors, but if you can already see or smell mould, you need to address this immediately.
Even though most moulds are harmless to humans, you should waste no time in removing any mould growth, especially because the effects of mould on people can vary.
Mould can also ruin the material it grows on, which means that it can damage a building’s structural integrity.
Getting rid of mould growth entails cleaning the mould and fixing your humidity levels. Cleaning up the mould without fixing your water problem won’t be effective, as the mould will probably just grow back. You don’t usually have to call in a contractor to clean up.
With over-the-counter commercial products like household bleach and soap, you can remove mould growth from hard surfaces.
When cleaning mould growths, protect yourself from mould spores by wearing a mask, gloves, and goggles. However, if your home has had a lot of water damage, or if the mouldy area is more than 10 square feet large, then you should call in the professionals.
Preventing mould from growing indoors is a matter of keeping your home clean and dry. This entails identifying sources of excess moisture and taking steps to get rid of these sources. By getting rid of mould, you can improve your health and maintain the structural integrity of your home.