With all this wet weather, and winter on its way, so is dreaded mould. Mould can be a very common problem in units and homes that are not ventilated correctly. This time of the year humidity and condensation from driers, heaters, cooking or showering, combined with poor ventilation, creates the ideal environment for mould. Here’s how you can prevent mould from starting…
The problem with mould is that once you’ve got it, it spreads everywhere unless taken care of immediately. Mould can destroy clothes and other household items, like mattresses and furniture.
As a tenant, as per your lease, you have the responsibility to ventilate your property and provide airflow throughout. Mould loves moisture and will breed when there is a lot of it in the property, which is why ventilation is key. You need to open a window or two to ensure airflow when you use dryers and heaters; turn on the bathroom exhaust fans when showering; and use range hoods in the kitchens when cooking.
Here are some other tips to help prevent mould:
- Keep bathroom walls, showers, shower curtains, baths and basins as dry as possible.
- Leave the bedroom doors open to allow air to circulate through the room. Upon many inspections we find tenants leave their doors locked and closed up and blinds down during the day.
- Clean your bathroom and property regularly. Wipe away moisture on windows, window seals and walls to keep them dry.
- Allow sunlight into the property as much as possible. Open blinds and curtains, don’t leave them closed and the property locked up all the time, when you are home open the doors, windows and blinds.
- Ensure the property does not have any water leaks that are visible. If there are any leaks advise your agent as soon as possible.
- When using a heater try to ensure a window is slightly cracked open a little or when cooking in the kitchen do the same to that window so the steam doesn’t build up and create moisture.
Steps for mould removal at home
Small to medium-sized areas of mould may be removed at home. The following steps should be followed.
1. Remove the source of the moisture
The best way to control mould growth is to control moisture, so it is important to identify the sources of moisture and remove or control them, else the mould problem is likely to reoccur. Mould will only grow in damp unventilated rooms. Check for sources of water from roofing and plumbing leaks including damaged pipes and drains, and call your agent to discuss if you think a plumber is required for repairs.
2. Remove the mould
Dispose of any mouldy items that are unable to be cleaned including cardboard boxes and mattresses which should be disposed of.
Wash clothing, bedding and other soft fabric articles, such as soft toys, in a washing machine on a hot cycle. Items that have been mouldy for several weeks, like bedding may not be able to be cleaned and may need to be disposed of. Wash all the clothes you used for cleaning up separately to other clothes.
Other contaminated soft furnishings that cannot be put in a washing machine will have to be cleaned professionally. If this is not possible, they may need to be thrown out.
Thoroughly clean all affected hard surfaces. In many cases, household detergent or white vinegar will be sufficient. Use a microfibre cloth and rinse the dirty cloth regularly in a separate container of clean water to prevent spreading the mould.
If using a commercially available product, check the label to see how much to use and on which surfaces it can be used and always read and follow safety instructions. Do not mix bleach with ammonia, acids or other cleaners – this can release hazardous chlorine or chloramine fumes.
Apply the cleaner and give it time to work before you mop or sponge it up. Avoid getting areas too wet, and dry afterwards where possible. If large areas of mould regrowth occur, contact your agent.
To reduce the chance of mould regrowth, it is important to dry the area where the mould grew. The simplest way to dry a room is to open doors and windows to thoroughly air the house.
Mould is a serious health issue and needs to be treated and taken care of as soon as it is formed. Tenants need to advise their agents as soon as they can if they notice mould.