Taking action on damp and mould
Preventing mould growth
Mould growth in the home is usually a symptom of moisture imbalance.
You need a balanced amount of moisture to maintain a healthy home. This means having a building which is not too dry and not too humid. Keeping your home in balance can be tricky as there are a lot factors to think about such as the moisture you generate in cooking, washing and so on, and your heating, ventilation and maintenance. This video from the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings explains how balance can be achieved. You can then use this Moisture Balance Calculator to help you assess the moisture balance in your own home and the factors at play. If your home is out of balance, you might be able to identify easy ways to regain moisture balance and create a healthier home.
Here is a helpful and easy to follow video: Mouldy Matters - avoiding condensation and mould
In most properties, dampness and mould are caused by condensation. Luckily you can do a lot to prevent mould forming by reducing the moisture vapour created in your home and ensuring your home is well ventilated.
Here are seven simple steps you can take to minimise condensation:
- Dry clothes outside or in a ventilated or condensing type tumble drier. If neither is possible, dry them in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or turn the fan on. Drying them on radiators will produce condensation.
- Unblock air vents and open trickle ventilation on windows.
- Open windows or turn on the extractor fan when cooking or taking a bath or shower.
- When cooking place lids on saucepans; and only boil what you need in a kettle.
- Leave space for air to circulate between walls and furniture (eg move beds and wardrobes away from external walls)
- Avoid using portable gas or paraffin heaters as these put a lot of moisture into the air.
- Keep your home warm by using the heating. To keep fuel costs down and to make sure that there are not cold surfaces that condensation will occur on, ensure that your loft space and walls have adequate insulation.
To kill and remove mould
- Carefully remove mould with a damp cloth and throw away afterwards. Do not brush mould as this releases spores into the air.
- Wipe down affected areas using a diluted bleach solution or fungicidal wash following the manufacturer's instructions.
- After treatment, redecorate using a fungicidal paint or wallpaper paste. Clothes and bedding can be dry cleaned or washed.
For further information, go to our Keep your home free from damp and mould page.
Damp due to deficiencies
If you live in a rented property and think that dampness is a result of the building rather than the way you are using it, or the building lacks the required heating, insulation or the ability to ventilate it, you should tell your landlord. If your landlord does not take action you can report issues to us.
All privately rented homes must meet minimum efficiency standards. If you are have difficulty affording to use your heating, see our keeping warm at home page, or speak to Oxfordshire Better Housing Better Health on 0800 107 0044 for free, impartial advice.