There is nothing worse than cleaning out cupboards and shelves to find clothes and other valued belongings damaged by mould and mildew – a result of humid conditions which allow mould and mycotoxins to multiply and cause musty odours and unsightly shadows.
Mould is caused by a build up of moist air in rooms that have poor ventilation, or in places that are humid and damp.
Dampness in the home can be caused by a variety of factors including location, orientation, and poorly maintained external building structure.
Natural ways to get rid of mould and mildew in your home
Rising levels of dampness in your home during the summer and rainy season can spur growth of mildew and mould. The basement, attic, garage, cupboards, and bathrooms are particularly susceptible to developing fungi.
When Relative Humidity is high, can be caused by a combination of inadequate ventilation and water vapour condensation on cold surfaces such as windows in bathrooms and kitchens as well as the inside surface of external walls such as basements and below ground floor levels.
When the temperature in houses decrease locally (e.g. at window panes, unheated sections of the house or poorly insulated walls), the relative humidity rises and accelerates microbial growth according to WHO (2009).
The damaging affects of humidity in the home include damp patches on walls causing wood work and plaster work to be damaged, wallpaper to peel.
Mould spores can float in the air and then grow where they settle. It is a significant potential problem in homes where there is persistent dampness and high relative humidity levels. Dampness in the home is not only associated with mould spores, but also increased levels of house dust mites and cockroach infestations.
Most common mould spores are those relating to Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp. which grow well wherever the air reaches more than approximately 70% relative humidity.
to certain fungal genera is a risk factor for asthma, atopy and respiratory symptoms in children according to Garrettt (2001) and concluded actual measurements of fungal spores predict health outcomes better than reported dampness.
Mould allergies can cause serious health problems, triggering respiratory and hayfever like symptoms. You may find that you start sneezing or wheezing when you go into a basement or damp room with old, stored papers and clothes, you are possibly reacting to mould spores.
People with chronic allergic reactions encounter shortness of breath, coughing mucus, or in some cases, develop lung diseases. This is because airborne mould spores are very tiny, enabling them to easily invade delicate membranes of the nose and upper respiratory tract. Your body simply wants to get rid of the invasion and responds by these symptoms. Imagine, wind blowing leaves and debris into your home. All you can think about is get the broom and sweep it out, mop it up or vacuum.
Towards healthier living, Carol Parr ♥
As Building Biologists, we have acquired knowledge of adverse health effects and recommend effective strategies to reduce occupants’ exposure by eliminating and controlling as many sources of pollutants in order to create healthy indoor living environments that are as exposure-free and natural as practically possible.
Garrett, Rayment, Hooper, Abramson and Hooper (2001). Indoor airborne fungal spores, house dampness and associations with environmental factors and respiratory health in children. [online] Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1046/j.1365-2222.1998.00255.x [Accessed 29 May 2015].
World Health Organisation. (2009). WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality, Dampness and Mould. (Online). Available: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf
[Accessed 29 May 2015].