Whether you like it or not, you probably have mould quietly lurking in your home. When it finds a damp place to grow, it can contribute to poor indoor air quality and health problems.
To eliminate mould, clean affected areas that are less than the size of a standard large garbage bag folded in half (1 square metre). Put on protective wear including a long-sleeved shirt, appropriate and properly fitted dust mask, safety glasses or goggles and rubber gloves. These items are generally available in local stores.
Prepare a bucket with water and a bit of dish detergent (preferably unscented) and another with clean water. If you’re cleaning drywall, you can use baking soda instead of dish detergent. Use this solution to clean the surface.
To prevent mould from growing in your home, follow these simple steps:
Look for damp spots. Check basements, closets, windowsills, roofs and around sinks, tubs and pipes.
Fix damp spots right away. Repair any water leaks as soon as you notice them. Clean up immediately after any flood.
Keep your home well ventilated. Open windows in dry weather or use fans as needed and turn on your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans when cooking or showering. Let the fan run for a few minutes after you’re done. Make sure your clothes dryer, stove, kitchen and bathroom fans all vent to the outdoors.
Seal tubs and sinks. Make sure the seal is tight, so water doesn't leak into the walls.
Throw out basement clutter. Cardboard boxes and old clothes are great places for mould to grow.
Reduce humidity. Keep humidity low, about 50 per cent in summer and 30 per cent in colder weather. If needed, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce humidity levels. You can use a hygrometer – an inexpensive tool available at most hardware stores – to measure humidity.
Clean often. Regularly clean and disinfect anything that holds water, like humidifiers, de-humidifiers and air conditioners.
If you have a lot of mould, (greater than 1 square metre), if it comes back after repeated cleanings or a family member suffers from asthma or other respiratory problems as a result of mould, consider hiring a professional to clean it up. Remember, a large amount of mould is often the result of a bigger problem, like a leak in the foundation or a major flood, which you may need a professional to help fix.
Find more information at canada.ca/healthy-home. (NC)