Mould is a fungus that grows indoors and outdoors in wet or moist areas that are lacking adequate ventilation. In the right conditions of dampness, darkness and poor ventilation, mould can grow on walls/wallpaper, ceilings, bathroom tiles, carpets, and wood.
Common places for mould to grow indoors are on windowsills, fabrics, carpet, and walls and ceilings in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas where moisture occurs.
People respond to mould in different ways depending on the amount of exposure and their overall personal health. Mould produces tiny particles called spores, which can cause health problems if inhaled by people.
Exposure to mould spores can cause mild to severe reactions which may include eyes, nose and throat irritation, including coughing and wheezing, and allergic reactions creating symptoms of asthma. Mould can also release an odour which can be disagreeable, affecting personal wellbeing.
Showering, cooking, laundry activities and simply breathing can add moisture to the air in your home.
Simple ways to control moisture and prevent mould include:
- checking foundations, walls, windows, roof, plumbing, tubs and sinks for water leaks; repair and dry the area. Ensure surface water is directed away from the foundations of the house;
- installing insulation;
- opening windows while you are home;
- turning on exhaust fans or opening windows when showering, cooking or using dryers;
- drying washing outside rather than inside;
- opening curtains to allow the sun to come in;
- keeping the home warm throughout and ensuring good air circulation. Cold rooms encourage condensation to form, and surrounding materials to become damp. By keeping rooms warm and having furniture and other belongings away from exterior walls, warm air can circulate, which may reduce mould growth;
- laundering or throwing away wet and badly damaged musty-smelling items like clothing or mats;
- cleaning and drying surfaces inside the house that get wet or moist. Remember when removing mould, protect yourself from mould spores by wearing gloves, glasses or goggles, and a respirator or face mask. You must also follow the directions of the manufacturer of the cleaning product you are using.