Merely removing moisture will cause mould to increase its release of spores in an effort to spread and preserve itself. So it’s actually best to get rid of the mould itself by using a household bleach like Domestos*, before addressing the source of the moisture! When using bleach, always take safety precautions – read the instructions, wear protective clothing, and ensure the area is well ventilated.
Mould on walls and ceilings is often taken as a sign of structural damp, but this isn’t always the case. Mould can bloom anywhere there is adequate moisture, with bathrooms being particularly susceptible.
Though generally harmless unless you’re allergic to its spores, a concentrated build-up of mould can begin to cause respiratory problems. The best way to deal with mould is to prevent it forming, but if you do find some lurking in a corner, this guide should help you remove mould from the ceiling and walls with relative ease.
What is Mould?
‘Mould’ is a term used to describe a number of fungus species that grow on old food or in humid parts of houses. While an essential part of the natural cycle where they aid decomposition, unfortunately they can also digest some artificial materials such as paints and plasters.
Mould spores are in the air all around us. Though harmless, this does mean that mould can potentially get anywhere that has the conditions to support a colony – cooking, washing, air humidifiers, condensation, and leaks from plumbing or outside all produce the necessary moisture, particularly when coupled with poor ventilation.
How to Clean Mould
Removing mould from walls and ceilings isn’t the easiest task, but it isn’t something that necessarily requires a professional service unless your case is particularly bad. Follow these simple steps instead:
- Mix together 1 part *Domestos bleach to three parts water. Not only does Domestos remove mould, but it kills all germs and bacteria, too. Household cleaning sprays with bleach as the active ingredient will also work.
- Scrub the affected area using a stiff-bristled brush and a little elbow grease.
- Rinse thoroughly.
Preventing Mould Formation
Identifying and addressing sources of unwanted moisture and improving ventilation are two of the easiest ways to avoid mould. A simple measure to take in the bathroom is to open a window, or leave the ventilation fan on for half an hour after bathing or showering in order to let most of the heat and humidity out.
There might be areas within the house that are poorly ventilated and where a build-up of moisture is inevitable, perhaps the laundry or utility room. Mould can be prevented here by a thorough cleaning of likely areas every few weeks with a common household cleaning product such as Jif cream, remembering to follow any instructions on packaging and test any new cleaning products on a small, inconspicuous area first. You’ll also find anti-mildew paints in your local hardware store.
If the mould comes back, don’t worry; it’s not uncommon for mould on problem walls to return. Now, at least, you are well equipped to deal with it!
Key steps – Keeping safe
Don’t just scrub away wildly – here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Ventilation: Mould spores and bleach fumes aren’t things you want a lungful of. Open windows or use a fan while working.
- Face protection: Getting up close and personal with mould means being exposed to more potentially harmful spores. A face mask is wise to help avoid this, particularly if you have breathing problems. Eye protection is also worthwhile.
- Gloves: Bleach is harsh on your skin, and contact with the mould could transfer spores to other things later.
Do not swallow; do not mix with other detergents or chemicals, particularly cleaners. Mixing may generate toxic chlorine gas. Ensure adequate ventilation when using, vapour may be harmful. Strongly alkaline and corrosive. Attacks skin and eyes so avoid contact. May produce severe burns. Wear protective gloves and eye protection when mixing or using. Do not mix with hot water. Store upright below 25 degrees celsius. Rinse containers with water before disposal.
*Domestos kills germs such as:
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Escherichia coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Proteus vulgaris