7 Ways to Prevent Toxic Mould in Your Bathroom (Your health will thank you for it)
Mould, it’s gross, it’s ugly and Stachybotrys chartarum, otherwise known as ‘Black Mould,’ can be extremely bad for your health and damage your home.
Moulds like black mould love warm, damp and humid environments and reproduce by spores. Mould spores are very hardy and travel to moist and ripe areas in order to reproduce.
There are many different types of moulds, non-toxic and toxic, but black mould is one that you really want to avoid, for the sake of your health. Black mould is toxic, a carcinogen and is immunosuppressive. People with weaker immune systems, asthma, allergies and lung diseases often succumb to the effects of black mould. Mhairi Collins is an example of the effects black mould can have one someone with a compromised immune system, a mistake by a plumber during renovations meant that pipes leaked in the walls for some time creating the perfect environment for black mould to develop. Symptoms may include nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, respiratory infection and asthma and allergic conditions can worsen.
The good news is that black mould, any any type of mould for that fact, can be prevented from growing in your bathroom. Here are some things you can do to keep you and your family or tenants safe.
Toxic mould prevention tips
Whenever you have a nice hot shower, the steam evaporates into the air. If there’s nowhere for this moisture to go and no way for the moisture to quickly dry out, mould will start to form. Ensure there are adequate windows to open and also consider the installation of an exhaust fan.
You can easily monitor the level of humidity in your home with a hygrometer. The National Asthma Council recommends a healthy indoor humidity of 30 to 50 percent. To lower humidity levels you can run an air conditioner or dehumidifier. To increase humidity levels you can use a humidifier.
Use a HEPA Filter vacuum
You may not have any obvious signs of mould but if your home did once have a mould problem it’s likely that it shed and has combined with the house dust. For peace of mind, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter (High-efficiency particulate air). A HEPA filter forces air through fine mesh and traps mould particles. Vacuums with HEPA filters can be purchased at a reputable cleaning and vacuum retailer.
Scrub the small stuff
Mould can go from being quite small to quite big and nasty in no time. Get to it fast so it doesn’t have a chance to reproduce. While using protective gloves and a face mask, scrub small non-porous areas with water and detergent. Make sure you dry the area completely after scrubbing and use some bleach if required. It’s essential that you throw away any sponges and scrubbing brushes so further mould spores cannot be released.
Replace porous fittings
If you have porous fittings in your bathroom like wallpaper that are prone to harbouring mould spores, remove them and replace them with something non-porous.
Fix leaks straight away
It goes without saying, if you are aware of a leak in the bathroom, have a professional repair it as soon as possible because mould spores can start to grow within 24 hours in the right environment.
The leaks that you can’t see are always the scariest which is why it’s always a good idea to have a property inspection carried out by a professional if you suspect something. There may be a musty smell you’ve started to notice or rising damp, bathrooms are known problem areas. A property inspector will check things like leaking shower flashings, wall and floor tiles, shower and bath sealant, shower screen glass, floor waste installation, toilet rubber seals, cistern and toilet pans for any defects.
Toxic mould, it can have detrimental health effects on those vulnerable yet it can be easily prevented. Make time to carry out these preventative measures, your family’s health and back pocket will thank you for it.
Andrew Mackintosh is the owner and inspector at Action Property Inspections, Brisbane . Andrew has carried out over 20,000 building inspections, is a licensed builder, a licensed building inspector and a Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants.