Woman having a shower

Five tips for avoiding mould in the home

Laura Bond
Authored by Laura Bond
Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2024 - 08:37

New research from property experts reveals the everyday habits that are increasing the chance of mould in your home. 

The study comes after finding that searches for ‘how to get rid of mould’ have increased 388% in the UK in the last 12 months. 

Matthew Jenkins, Heating Expert at MyJobQuote says, “Everyday habits play a significant role in the prevalence of mould in our homes. A combination of neglecting proper ventilation and careless daily habits can fuel mould growth.

"It’s crucial for homeowners to be mindful of their daily habits and take proactive measures to mitigate moisture levels. By encouraging ventilation and maintaining a clutter-free environment, we can reduce the risk of mould infestation. Ultimately, understanding how our daily actions impact indoor moisture levels is key to creating a healthier and mould free living environment.” 

The experts have issued the following advice: 

Leaving wet towels on the floor 

Wet towels left on the floor can be a breeding ground for mould, especially in a moisture-filled room like a bathroom. Mould thrives when towels are left in a heap on the floor as there’s little air circulation, a damp environment and low light for parts of the towel when screwed up in a ball. This makes them an incubator for black mould colonies. 

The time it takes for a towel to mould will depend on how hospitable your bathroom is for mould and mildew - but if conditions are right, your towel can start mildewing in as little as 12 hours. 

Ensuring you hang your wet clothes or towel on a towel rail significantly reduces the chance of mould. Furthermore, when the time comes to wash your towels, ensure they’re properly dry before throwing them in the laundry hamper or this can encourage mould growth in your hamper and on other clothes that it comes into contact with. 

Having longer showers 

Although the shower is an escape for most people, running a hot shower for too long not only significantly adds to your water bill, but can promote the existence of mould growth. The longer the shower, the bigger the moisture build up in your bathroom on walls, ceilings and tiles. If the bathroom lacks proper ventilation, the excess moisture from longer hot showers can become trapped, exacerbating the issue. 

That being said, we all love a hot shower - but be mindful and ensure the room has adequate ventilation after. Opening the door a crack, turning the fan on and opening a window all help to get rid of moisture following a long shower. If you find water spills on tiles or the side, either squeegee the towels or mop up with a clean, dry cloth. 

Improper use of dehumidifiers

Most people purchase a dehumidifier to help reduce moisture in the home, however MyJobQuote advises that incorrect use can actually do the opposite. Placing the dehumidifier in the wrong location too far away from the source of moisture - such as a bathroom - hinders the dehumidifier from removing moisture from the air, allowing mould friendly conditions to persist.

Neglecting to clean and maintain your dehumidifier regularly can also lead to mould growth within the unit itself. Dust, dirt and moisture can accumulate in the dehumidifier’s reservoir, providing an environment for mould spores to flourish. 

Additionally, it’s crucial to set your dehumidifier to the correct setting. Leaving it running continuously without monitoring can lead to excessively dry conditions - while it may seem counterintuitive, excessively dry air can cause certain materials such as wood to shrink or crack, causing small crevices where mould can take hold and grow.

Having a cluttered and poorly organised home 

Having an overly cluttered and poorly organised space can stop airflow, making it challenging to spot early signs of mould growth. This applies especially to areas that experience high levels of moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Whether your clutter is piles of clothing, too many empty bathroom products that you need to get round to throwing out, or just unused items laying around - these all create pockets of stagnant air where moisture can accumulate, fostering mould growth. Regular decluttering and organising can improve air circulation and therefore, minimise mould spores. 

Leaving laundry in the washing machine 

Ever take your clothes out of the washing machine to find they hold a damp, musty odour? The grim truth is that that odour is due to mould growing on your clothes! 

Leaving damp laundry in the machine for an extended period can create a moist environment conducive to mould growth in your washing machine and therefore, on your clothes. 

Mould can also grow inside in the washing machine when not in use - the washing machine is typically a damp environment and even after use, its best practice to leave the door open. Modern washing machines are designed to be airtight and this environment, combined with residual moisture can promote mould growth which can transfer to your clothes. 

Methodology: Searches were taken using Google Trends - within a 12 month period, daily searches soared from 548 to 3,225.



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