Mould and mildew are two of the most common forms of fungi to appear in homes, offices, and commercial buildings, and they’re an unwanted sight no matter where they’re found.
Cleaning and preventing mould and mildew is important not only to keep buildings looking fresh and presentable but also to stop further growth and to prevent any health risks they can cause.
To remove them from your home and workplace, and keep them away, you need to know what exactly they are and how to deal with them.
What are mould and mildew?
Mould and mildew are very closely related because they’re part of the same family of fungi. Both can often be found in buildings, especially in areas with low ventilation or excess moisture, where they can cause problems with air quality as well as damaging walls and looking unclean.
Because of their similarities, they can be hard to tell apart. This can be a problem when it comes to treating them and preventing further re-growth, as they sometimes have different causes.
What is mould?
Mould is a type of fungus that’s distinctive, adaptable, and pervasive. It can appear in a range of different colours including black, green, and blue and it’s most often fuzzy looking. It’s made up of lots of filaments, which are called hyphae, and releases spores into the air.
The conditions that mould grows best in are warm, wet areas with low ventilation. It’s well known as one of the most adaptable fungi and can grow on almost everything, from walls to food, fabric to paper.
What is mildew?
Mildew is a member of the mould family but is distinguished from other forms mainly by its colour, as it mostly appears as a white growth. It’s also often a much flatter and smaller growth than other types of mould, but no less important to clean.
Mildew also likes to grow in warm and wet environments and likes the dark. However, it’s more commonly found on organic material such as food, paper, and wood, as opposed to mould which often grows on walls and ceilings.
How to clean mould and mildew
There are a range of methods and products that can help you when cleaning mould and mildew in your building. The most common way is to use a specialist mould remover product, however, don’t forget appropriate personal protection equipment:
- Put on a facemask, gloves, and goggles to protect your lungs, hands, and eyes from any spores that might get released during cleaning.
- Wet a cloth in warm water and wring it out so it’s just damp. Using specialist mould remover as advised in the instructions, wipe away the mould from the surface it’s growing on. Try not to use a rough scrubbing motion, as this can spread spores.
- Dispose of the cloth you used and use a new, dry cloth to fully dry the surface.
Alternatively, if you want to use a non-toxic mould removal solution for your home, you can make your own remedies.
- Vinegar is one of the most common non-toxic cleaning properties because of its mild acidity. You can use white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle to cover the mould growth, leave it to sit for an hour, and then wipe the area clean with warm water and a cloth.
- Baking soda is another non-toxic remedy for mould and has the added side effect of absorbing moisture. Add ¼ of a tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle of water and mix thoroughly before spraying the mould and using a cloth or brush to remove it. Then spray the area again and let it dry to finish off any remaining spores.
If you follow these instructions, you’ll have successfully (and safely) removed mould from your building. The next step is to keep it away.
How to prevent mould
The most important thing in the prevention of mould re-growth is to understand what the source of the problem was in the first place. Inspect the room you found the mould in, looking for areas with moisture build-ups and thinking about airflow.
If you find any issues that could be leading to mould, fix them urgently to avoid re-growth. This could mean adding a ventilation system to your bathroom or replacing a faulty shower-head to avoid water shooting onto walls.
Once the source of the mould has been removed or fixed, it’s important to keep up with maintenance by ensuring that windows are open when possible and water spills are dried immediately.