A GP has issued a warning over 'serious' health risks presented by mould in winter. 

Homeowners will already know the headache that mould causes on their properties, especially over the Autumn and Winter months.

Not only is damp, mould, and condensation unsightly in the house but they can also impact our health. 

With this in mind, Toolstation has developed a comprehensive guide on how homeowners can keep their homes safe.

What is Mould?

Mould is a type of fungus that thrives in dark and damp environments.

It can lead to serious health problems, as well as structural damage to your home if left untreated.

There are many different types of mould, and they are usually categorised by colour. 

  • Mould Colour
  • Black mould
  • White mould
  • Green mould
  • Brown mould
  • Yellow mould
  • Blue mould
  • Grey mould

Stachybotrys Chartarum, a type of black mould, is known to be one of the world’s top ten most hazardous fungi and is known to cause health problems.

This type of mould requires very wet or highly humid conditions to grow.

The rate of growth depends on the level of humidity in the air, so it may develop within a matter of days or may take weeks to grow.  If you notice black mould growing you should act quickly.

Although not all black mould is Stachybotrys Chartarum, Stachybotrys Chartarum is the most common type of black mould and is often found inside indoor environments.

If you are unsure about cleaning it yourself, it is best to check with an expert for a diagnosis first.

How dangerous is mould exposure?

Dr Neel Patel from Lloyds Online Doctor, discussed the health risks associated with black mould.

“Mould can affect the immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses like colds, flu and chest infections.

"If you’re living or working somewhere with mould, you’re more likely to experience respiratory problems or infections, allergies, and asthma.”

“Babies and children, as well as older people, are more sensitive to mould. 

"If you have a weakened immune system, for example, if you are undergoing chemotherapy, it is particularly important that you stay away from mould.” 

Which rooms are most likely to be affected?

Similar to damp and condensation, steamy areas like the kitchen and bathroom are typically the most likely to be affected by mould.

Keeping all the rooms in your home well-ventilated is the best way to prevent mould forming.

How to clean away mould

Sarah Dempsey, professional cleaning expert from My Job Quote, highlights four steps for effectively cleaning mould:

Protect yourself – “It is important to protect yourself from any potential mould spores by wearing gloves, a face mask, and goggles. Open your windows but keep all the internal doors closed to prevent the mould spores from spreading to different areas of the home.”

Discard mouldy items – “Have a plastic bag to hand and remove any soft furnishing, soft toys, or clothes that may have gathered mould. You will need to get these professionally cleaned or throw them away.”

Carefully wipe mould away – “Fill a bucket with water and a mild detergent such as washing up liquid or a detergent used for handwashing clothes. Dip a cloth in the soapy water. Use the cloth to wipe the mould away gently and carefully. Be careful not to brush the mould as this may release mould spores. When you have finished, you should then use a dry cloth to remove all the moisture from the affected area.”

Call a professional – “If you have tried to clean mould, but it keeps reappearing, it is best to call a professional to come and deal with the mould issue. Professionals will be able to identify the type of mould issue that you have and deal with it appropriately.”

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How to protect yourself when cleaning mould

When cleaning mould yourself, it’s important to listen to the experts for your own safety and protection.

Wearing the correct PPE will help to protect you from harmful spores.

Be sure to wear safety goggles and face masks any time you are in close quarters to mould, as leaving yourself unprotected can do serious harm to your health.