Condensation and mould
What is condensation?
Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather. There’s always some moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it, and when moist air hits a cold surface tiny drops of water appear. You can see this when the mirror mists up when you have a bath.
It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air, such as in corners, on or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards and in rarely used rooms. It often forms on colder, north facing walls.
Condensation can lead to mould which can contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems.
How can I produce less condensation?
If you deal with the basic problem of condensation, then mould should not appear.
To kill and remove mould on washable surfaces, wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash readily available from shops. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. Disturbing mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning can increase the risk of respiratory problems.
Other items such as fabric materials can often be washed, although this may not always remove the mould staining.
After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring. Note that this paint is not effective if it is overlaid with wallpaper. The only lasting way of avoiding severe mould is to follow these steps to eliminate condensation.
- To prevent condensation on mirrors or windows rub a cloth with a small spot of washing up liquid over the surface. Try this at home or in the car – taxi drivers have been doing this for years!
- To prevent condensation on windows, cut a potato in half and rub across the surface then buff with a cloth.
- Protect yourself from mould spores by wearing rubber gloves when cleaning affected areas. Open windows, but keep doors closed to prevent the spores from circulating around the house.
- Have a plastic bag ready to take away any soft furnishings, clothes and soft toys that are mouldy.
- Soft furnishings should be shampooed and clothes machine washed on the highest setting the clothes label will allow. If there is extensive mould you may need professional help to remove it.
- Fill a bucket with water and some mild detergent, such as washing up liquid or a soap used for hand-washing clothes. Use a rag or a cloth, dip it in the soapy water and carefully wipe the mould off the wall. When you have finished, use a dry rag to remove the moisture from the wall. Afterwards, put the rags in a plastic bag and throw them away.