If you’ve ever had mould in your house or bedroom, you’ll know it’s an uncomfortable experience which can affect more than just the smell in your home. Mould has several physical health implications, so avoiding the growth of fungi is paramount.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take to avoid mould growing in your house or sleeping area. If these fail, or you’re reading this, and mould is already festering on your walls, there are also various ways to fight mould and thwart it from returning.
To give you the knowledge you need to go to battle with mould, we’ve got this guide. Here you can learn how to get rid of mould and stop it from coming back so it only returns on fancy cheese or out-of-date bread.
How to get rid of mould
If you discover mould in your home, then it's crucial to act quickly and fight it before it becomes a problem. There are some great DIY methods which can help you do this.
While DIY methods can work for small-scale mould issues, knowing your limits is essential. If you're dealing with extensive mould infestations or toxic mould, it's best to hire a professional mould remover. Here’s how best to fight mould:
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1. Safety first
Before you begin any mould removal, you have to ensure your own safety. Start by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including a mask, gloves, and eye protection. This will protect you from inhaling mould spores or having direct contact with them.
2. Isolate the area and improve ventilation
If possible, isolate the affected area to prevent the spread of mould spores to other parts of the house. Seal off the area with plastic sheeting and tape. Then open windows and use fans to improve ventilation in the area.
3. Remove mouldy materials
Any porous materials heavily infested with mould, such as drywall, insulation, or carpets, should be removed and properly discarded. Bag the materials in plastic and dispose of them following local regulations.
4. Scrub mouldy surfaces and apply treatments
For non-porous surfaces like tiles, glass, or metal, scrub the mouldy areas thoroughly with a mixture of water and detergent. You can also use a commercial mould cleaner, but avoid using bleach, as it may not be entirely effective and can release harmful fumes. After cleaning, apply an approved antifungal solution to the affected areas to prevent mould from regrowing.
5. Dry the area and monitor the humidity
Use dehumidifiers and fans to dry the space completely because reducing moisture is crucial in preventing mould recurrence. Then continue to monitor humidity levels in the area and keep them between 40% and 60% to discourage mould growth.
6. Fix the underlying issue
Investigate and address the source of moisture that caused mould growth in the first place. It could be a leaky roof, plumbing issue, or poor ventilation. Fixing the root cause is essential to prevent future mould problems.
The best mould removers
Here are our top mould-removing products to help you fight mould:
- No Nonsense Mould and Midrew Cleaner, £7.49, Screw Fix: This mould cleaner is perfect for targeting funghi on walls and is great for use in bathrooms, kitchens and garages. Just spray it on mould, let it soak for a few minutes, wipe it off and then your mould should be gone!
- Sandtex Fungicide Liquid Algae & Mould Remover, £14, B&Q: This mould remover is great for cleaning outside walls, patios, and fencing. Just scrub the liquid onto the mould and let it dry. It can be used on inside walls but shouldn’t be put on fabric or carpets.
- Furniture Clinic Mould Remover, £9.95, Amazon: If you’ve got mould on your furniture or carpets, then this remover promises to kill spores instantly and protect your sensitive fabrics/surfaces. Just spray on the affected area, leave for 15 minutes and wipe off.
- Barrettine Knockout Mould & Mildew Cleaner, £11, Wickes: This mould cleaner is good for both indoors and out, killing mould spores and algae. Simply soak the mouldy area by brushing on the liquid and then wash it off after 20 minutes. It is suitable for use on wood and plastic but shouldn’t be used on carpets or furniture.
How to prevent mould in the house and bedroom
When it comes to mould, it’s better to prevent it rather than fight it. We have some top tips to help you do this and fend off those fungi.
1. Ventilate rooms properly
Regular ventilation is the easiest way to prevent mould. When it comes to airing out your house, the best way to go about it is through cross ventilation. This involves opening several windows in opposite rooms at the same time, so there is a draught through the house.
This method of ventilation is much better than keeping a window continuously tilted open, as this isn’t very effective. It doesn’t allow for much air exchange, and you lose heat (which sucks up moisture) with your room then cooling down. It is better to use the cross-ventilation method three to four times a day with the windows fully open.
2. Heat your home evenly
Another way to prevent mould from becoming a problem is by heating your flat and doing so evenly. Warm air is able to absorb more water than cold air, so can suck up moisture which mould thrives in. The ideal temperature for mould protection is around 20 degrees in the living room and 16 to 18 degrees in the bedroom.
The temperature differences between the individual rooms in the house should not be greater than five degrees. If you have a vacant property or are going on holiday, you should also consider warming it whilst you’re away to avoid mould.
3. Measure the humidity
High humidity in the house is a major contributor to mould growth. Therefore, regularly check how high the humidity is with a hygrometer (a humidity tester). This ThermoPro is a great one if you’re looking for inspiration.
When you’re checking your hygrometer, you want your house to be at a humidity of between 40 to 60 percent. If the outside temperatures are very low in winter, you want this to be below 50 per cent.
It’s important to note that the humidity is not the same everywhere in the room. Therefore, it is best to measure in the middle of the room. As soon as the humidity exceeds 60 per cent, you need to act, see our fighting off section (anchor text) to see what to do.
4. Place your furniture correctly
When setting up your home, it’s always important to keep air circulation in mind. This is especially important when it comes to furniture and decor. You don’t want to place furniture against outer walls, or it will stop/disturb circulation, and this then encourages mould. For the best set-up, which promotes the most circulation, aim for a 6cm gap between the wall and furniture.
How to prevent mould in your bedroom
As bedrooms are often more prone to mould than the rest of the house, there are some extra tips you can use to further protect your sleeping area from fungi, here they are:
- Pull the duvet back: Each morning, you should pull the duvet to the foot of the bed and open the window for five to ten minutes as soon as you get up. In the evening, before going to bed, ventilate again for five to ten minutes. This helps moisture escape from the bedroom and prevents areas from becoming moist.
- Choose the right mattress: You should use a washable mattress cover on your mattress and make sure to clean it regularly. This cover will trap moisture, prevent it from penetrating the mattress, and stop it from becoming damp.
- Air your mattress: To do this, take it out of the bed frame and lean it against the wall at an angle - this way, it can also dry from below. This drys off excess moisture (remember to ventilate the room, though!).
- Air your duvet: This works the same way as air your mattress. To do so, regularly hang the duet out of the window for a few hours, on a clothesline or on a drying rack.
- No laundry hanging: If possible, do not dry laundry in the bedroom, as this promotes dampness and moisture. If you have no place to dry laundry other than your bedroom, place a dehumidifier in there with you.
Common problems caused by mould
If you’ve spotted some mould in your home, then it’s important you act quickly to rid your house of it. This is because living with mould can have numerous negative side effects, which may lead to nasty health implications. Here are the main dangers of continuous exposure to mould:
Probably the main danger of living with mould is that it can be detrimental to our breathing systems. When mould is growing, it releases tiny spores into the air, which can be inhaled into the respiratory system.
For individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), exposure to mould can exacerbate their symptoms and lead to more frequent attacks. Some types of mould can also cause respiratory infections, particularly in individuals with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions.
Another breathing-based implication is that prolonged exposure to mould can contribute to the development of asthma in individuals who were previously unaffected. It can increase the risk of new-onset asthma or worsen existing asthma symptoms. Especially for younger babies and children, mould can cause asthma to develop as they grow up with the fungi around them.
Allergic reactions and skin irritation
Mould spores can trigger allergic reactions in some people, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, and skin rashes. Even people without previously known allergies can develop sensitivity to mould over time. Direct contact with mould or mouldy materials can also cause skin irritation, redness, and itching.
Fatigue, cognitive issues, and discomfort
Prolonged exposure to mould has been associated with symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems. Living in an environment with mould can lead to a general feeling of discomfort, difficulty sleeping, and increased stress levels.
If you would like to read more expert-recommended round-ups, check out our household page, where you’ll find more home recommendations and guides, including our declutter your home checklist, how to tidy your wardrobe, and the best drawer organisers.
Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.