CHARACTERISTICS OF MOULD

WHAT IS MOULD?

Mould is a living organism, a fungus that proliferates in damp areas. Given our wet climate, mould has become almost synonymous with New Zealand (although, we can thank this for our lush greenery too.) Considering the health risks posed by mould, it’s incredibly important to be able to identify it in order to successfully remove and prevent it.

Extreme close up of mould

WHAT DOES MOULD LOOK LIKE?

If you can see it, it’s most likely worse than it looks as mould begins to grow deep under the surface and when it becomes visible, harmful spores can be released. This fungus has a fuzzy or slimy texture and presents itself in a variety of different colours. Typically we see green, grey and black mould; however, it also dons brown, black, white, pink and red disguises. According to The Ultimate Mould Guide, the colour varies within each species and is thus not always a clear indication as to whether it’s dangerous or not, so it’s best to assume they all pose a health risk.

WHAT CAUSES MOULD?

Mould most commonly appears as a result of excess moisture in the home; and condensation, high humidity and water leaks can be attributed to this. Insider maintains that leaving water damaged areas unresolved are cause for mould “problem[s] for a long period of time after the flooding takes place”, thus it becomes essential to address flooding as soon as it occurs by seeking out professionals.

Condensation on a window inside an apartment

(Photo: Flickr)

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF MOULD ON MY HOME?

Mould is designed by nature to break down decaying materials, making it extremely dangerous to the structures we create in our moist environment. Mould tends to embed itself into our walls, floors and ceilings and slowly threatens their structural integrity by breaking them down.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF MOULD ON MY HEALTH?

Mould is notoriously a hazard to your health. Some noticeable symptoms of mould ingestion include: lingering cold or flu symptoms, headaches, respiratory problems, fatigue, joint pain, asthma, diarrhea, memory loss, blurred vision and even heart problems and depression. Furthermore, the longer you are exposed to the fungus, the more likely the symptoms will worsen and lead to long term health problems.

Young boy blowing his nose

HOW DO I GET RID OF MOULD?

Mould is a strong organism that needs to be removed using harsh products. Tenancy Services offer some great home-made mould removal remedies using bleach and vinegar. Alternatively, commercial mould removing products are readily available. It is important to wear a mask should you brave this task yourself. Dilute vinegar with water at a ratio of one part vinegar to one part water, to avoid any damage to surfaces, and apply it to the affected areas with a cloth or spray bottle. Leave this for a few days to soak into the materials before wiping off surface mould with regular soap and water and a clean cloth. Alternatively, you can dilute one part bleach with three parts water and apply this mixture to the affected areas. The bleach mixture only needs to be left for about 10 minutes before being washed off with a clean, water-soaked cloth or sponge.

Gloved hand scrubbing mould off a wall

(Photo: Cleanipedia)

HOW DO I PREVENT MOULD?

Mould needs moisture to grow, so depriving your environment of excess water is the most effective way to prevent it. This can be achieved primarily through ventilation and insulation as well as heating, utilising dehumidifiers and extractor fans or keeping lids on pots when cooking, wiping condensation off walls and windows, hanging washing outside or ensuring your dryer vents outside, opening windows, drying wet surfaces, airing wardrobes, expanding the shower curtain and ensuring it drips back into the bath/shower, pulling beds away from walls and only keeping a few plants inside.

Home ventilation system in a roof

(Photo: Times Online)

YOU MAY NEED TO CALL IN THE PROFESSIONALS

If you have successfully identified the mould and unsuccessfully attempted to remedy the problem, it is extremely important to consult professionals to remedy the problems. Mould’s effects on our health and homes is tangible and lasting, and should be treated as a serious threat to be dealt effectively with by a flood restoration company with experience in sanitising affected areas.

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