If, like me, you have experienced a property with a Mould and Damp problems, then you probably already know that mould and damp will constantly keep re-occuring no matter how often you try wipe the black mould away.
Black Mould Spores are not only unpleasant, but can also be toxic and create further health problems in people who suffer from asthma or allergies, therefore black mould should be dealt with and removed as soon as it appears.
If you live in rented property, then dealing with damp and mould problems is nearly always a problem, often there is a 50 / 50 split onus on both landlord and tenant as to who is responsible for the mould formation in the first place and whether the tenant or landlord is wholly or jointly liable for the cause or the cost of removing the mould and treating the damp.
Of course, tenants can help prevent damp problems from occurring in the first place, and protect their deposit by avoiding drying washing over radiators, and opening windows whilst cooking. Landlords can also prevent damp problems by repairing guttering, fitting air bricks and extractor fans, and providing a damp course and a reasonable level of loft and wall insulation for the comfort of their tenants, and protection of their building against future damp and mould problems.
I once rented a property where the bedroom was over an open, unheated car port, having no wall insulation and no room underneath it the room was constantly cold, and damp. Soon it became obvious from the black mould spawning the walls and corners that it also had a damp problem, no matter how often the windows were left ajar, or how many heaters I left plugged in, the damp walls and black mould just kept returning.
These tips which I give here are based on my own personal experiences of living in a mould ridden, damp property, and how I managed to solve the mould issue or rather, effectively keep it under control.
You may read on the internet that a good way of dealing with damp and preventing condensation, is to ventilate the room, which is actually true. However how do you heat a room, and have the windows wide open when its -5c outside?. I tried this once, and woke up at 3AM freezing cold. So, yes it is a good idea to leave windows open a little in order to help ventilate the room and prevent condensation, however during the winter months, restrict this to when the room is not in use.
A much better way of dealing with damp and mould, especially if your windows are prone to condensation, or your walls feel cold or wet is to buy a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers are small electrical appliances which actually extract moisture from out of the air, and stop it forming as condensation on cold surfaces, such as windows and walls.
Dehumidifiers are actually THE most effective form of preventing condensation and solving damp problems in the longer term, after all, if all if the moisture has been sucked out of the air, there will be non left to settle on surfaces, and that is exactly what a dehumidifier will do.
But what if you already have walls and skirting boards covered in black mould?
Well, I managed to keep the toxic black mould at bay in my rental property, by doing the following.
1) First of all, buy a face mask, the type that is used to prevent breathing in dust when you are sanding, wear this mask and a pair of rubber gloves during the times you are cleaning off the mould spores or dealing with the chemicals involved. Black Mould caused by damp has toxic spores, which can cause illness or short term breathing problems. If you have asthma or other breathing related complaints, then you shouldn’t attempt to remove black mould by yourself, and should call in a mould removal company.
2) Next wipe off the black mould from all surfaces using a clean, lint free cloth and a solution made up of warm water and dissolved baking soda. Be sure to remove all of the black mould spores, including from edges of the skirting boards and carpet.
3) Obtain some Isopropyl alcohol (this is also known as isopropanol, IPA or rubbing alcohol) mix the alcohol solution in equal parts with warm water and rub over all of the affected surfaces, making sure that you rub in the solution well into pourous surfaces. Always ventilate the room well, when using Isopropyl Alcohol and try and apply it early in the morning, when you can leave the windows open for the entire day whilst it dries.
If you prefer not to use Isopropyl Alcohol, then you can use a commercial mould cleaner such as Dettol Mould and Mildew Spray, however in my personal experience Isopropyl Alcohol is far more effective and treatment lasts far longer than any of the commercial mould removers which I tried.
4) Throw out any furniture or mattresses which are badly affected by mould spores, however if only light contamination has occurred, materials can be cleaned using the Isopropyl alcohol solution above, and then washed on a hot wash with a mixture of washing powder and baking soda.
Once you have removed all of the black mould spores, and treated it by following the above steps, you need to follow some basic steps in order to help stop the formation of condensation and damp, and reduce the possibility of the black mould spores returning again.
1) Avoid drying washing indoors, hanging damp clothes over radiators and clothes horses indoors is a sure fire way of causing damp. Open windows when cooking or boiling the kettle and seriously consider fitting extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms.
2) Keep windows ajar to aid ventilation as much as possible
3) Buy a dehumidifier and run it for at least 8 – 12 hours a day, this will remove moisture from out of the air, and stop the formation of condensation on windows and walls. Black Mould spores, thrive on condensation and moisture.
4) Treat any surfaces which have black mould appearing on them as soon as possible, using warm water and baking soda, and then either a commercial mould removing solution or Isopropyl Alcohol mixed with warm water in a 50:50 ratio
5) Try and keep any room affected by mildew and damp as warm as possible. Dehumidifiers also work best in a room which is background heated.
6) Avoid pushing wardrobes and furniture right up against walls, as these will help form condensation traps and increase the chance of moisture forming on walls surfaces behind them
7) Replace any rugs, carpets, mattresses which have been seriously contaminated by mould
8.) Avoid leaving umbrellas, or wet coats hanging to dry in hallways or rooms, instead let them dry in a porch, shed or outbuilding if possible
9) Buy desiccant trays for window sills and in cupboards and wardrobes. These are small trays of desiccant gel which soak up moisture, and are ideal for small spaces like wardrobes or drawing away moisture from forming on glass
10) Avoid using gas bottle heaters such as calor gas fires, these produce large amounts of condensation.
11) Keep any airbricks or ventilation grilles open, and vacuum them in order to stop them becoming blocked by dust
12) If black mould is forming on walls which are external, then check for broken or blocked guttering, often interior damp problems can be caused by rain running down outer wall surface
If you have any tips for removing black mould and solving damp problems in rooms, then please leave them as comments.