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Mould and mildew are one of the most widespread harmful fungi that live alongside us in our homes. We can’t escape them, and the battle for survival is constant. Every year, millions of people develop different pulmonary and skin illnesses, allergies and even depression, all caused by the negative effect of house mould. These adaptable fungi can spread like wildfire and are drowned to humid and wet places.
1. What Is Mould?
Mould is a combinatory name for a large group of fungi. They have a specific colour pallet and texture, love humid and damp places, and can live both in and outdoors. Mould reproduces by spores that travel by air. That is the main reason they affect the respiratory system of both humans and animals. Mould can easily make its way through wood and paper and can damage the structure of your house.
2. What Are the 5 Most Common Mould Types?
Several types of fungi live alongside us in our homes. Some are mildly dangerous, and others are downright toxic.
This is a very resistant mould type that can be found usually in the bathroom or the kitchen. It can sometimes spread into the upholstery, carpeting, mattresses and under your wallpaper. Chaetomium typically appears after the home is suffered from water damage caused by leaking pipes or flooding. It has a distinctive greyish-black colour and can be spotted fairly easy. Why is this fungus dangerous, you may ask.
- Every surface that has been covered by Chaetomium suffers serious damage and needs to be replaced.
- It can trigger various allergic reactions.
- The fungi pose a threat to people with respiratory problems and asthma.
The best prevention is to inspect your home annually and take good care of the piping system.
You can easily mistake this type of mould for another if you are inexperienced. Like most fungi, Ulocladium thrives in humid areas and spreads very fast. What are the negative effects this sort of mould has on your home and health?
- It can cause excessive damage to wooden surfaces.
- Ulocladium is especially harmful to people with a low immune system as it can cause a high fever.
- Eye infections are also a common side effect of having this type of mould in your home.
Cladosporium has an unusual ability to be able to live and grow in both warm and cold places. This means it can be anywhere in your home as long as there is enough humidity.
This black mould is quite dangerous for your kids and pets. It can cause:
- severe allergic reactions;
- skin rash;
- asthma attacks;
- allergic fungal sinusitis;
It is important to always wear gloves when cleaning the Cladosporium colonies as long exposure to this mould can result in severe skin irritation.
Contrary to common beliefs, Penicillin is actually quite dangerous. There is a big difference between the antibiotic extract and the live green-blue fungi. Penicillin can spread in your home like wildfire and believe us, it is the last thing you want.
- pulmonary and respiratory problems,
- swelling of the throat (anaphylaxis) even
- damages of the internal organs and eventually organ failure.
Thankfully, you can easily clean your home. Mix 1 part water and ¼ parts bleach and spray it onto the damaged surfaces. Leave it to dry off on its own.
Disclaimer: If you are attempting to purge the mould on your own, you must open all windows, wear protective gloves and a face mask at all times during the cleansing procedure. Bleach can be equally dangerous for your health, so take the necessary precautions.
This is the most hazardous common type of mould there is. Known as the “Black mould” Stachybotrys is a toxigenic sort of fungi, quite widespread in the UK. The best environment is one with limited light and high humidity. You can easily recognise it by its slimy texture and specific odour.
Toxic moulds are dangerous on a whole different level. They can cause:
- neurological problems in kids;
- pulmonary bleeding in babies and toddlers;
- numerous respiratory problems
- chest pain
- nose bleeding
- severe migraines
- behaviour changes
Do not touch Stachybotrys without gloves! If you have any doubts about how to handle the infestation, call a professional mould removal company immediately.
3. What Is Mildew?
By definition, mildew is a disease of plants caused by a specific type of microorganisms. In time this meaning expanded, and now it also refers to several other types of fungi and moulds. Mildew has a distinguished whitish colour and a slimy texture.
Mould and mildew are both fungi that love damp, humid places and can cause similar problems – allergies, asthma, etc. The main difference between the two are:
- Level of damage
You can best see them on the infographic.
5. What Do You Need to Know?
There are some important facts about mould that you need to be aware of before deep-cleaning your home:
- The 3 components creating the ideal environment for moulds and mildew are high humidity, water and an organic base. That is why you can find them everywhere in the home from your toilet corners to the apples in the fridge.
- Some mould species are classified as toxic and highly dangerous. They pose a trait to your children and pets.
- Cleaning a mouldy home is a dangerous job, so you must wear protection in all cases. If you have any suspicion about the type of mould you are dealing with, it is best to call a professional cleaning team.
- The top 3 reasons to have mildew and mould in your home are rotting food, window/wall condensation and house leaks (from the roof, pipe and drain problems). That is why you need to clean your fridge and food stashes regularly. Repair every roof or pipe damage immediately and make sure you know how to clean your windows properly.
- London is a high humidity city and to protect your home from mould use room or replaceable dehumidifiers. Remember to keep your room temperature in the cold months below 25°C.
- Seek medical help with the first signs of pulmonary problems or skin rashes.
- Everything from a severe migraine, trouble breathing or an eyesore can be an indication that you have a dangerous roommate hidden somewhere in your home.
6. Where Can You Find Mould and Mildew in Your Home?
According to domestic cleaning experts, one of the dirtiest places in every home is the room where you prepare the food. There are so many places where mould and mildew can grow:
- Coffee machines – Yes, there may be hot water going through its insides, but this doesn’t make it cleaner. It only creates more conditions for the development of different fungi. Wash your coffee maker diligently every week.
- Water dispenser – It is the perfect place for the development of mould. It grows inside the machine where it is dark, warm and humid. Purchase a specialised cleaning kit and thoroughly wash your dispenser at least once a month.
- Fridges – It is not surprising, the place you store your perishable foods is not as clean as you would like it to be. To avoid smells and mildew regularly check its shelves for rotten ingredients and wipe them clean with a soapy solution.
- Dishwashers – Similar to the coffee machines, the majority of people think that if boiling water is involved, all is good. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Small food scraps and greasy residue often accumulate on the bottom of the machine and the inner edges of the door isolation. And there, mould and mildew make their home. Use a specialised detergent to wipe them clean.
- The back of your cabinets – You should check more often the ones around your kitchen sink. The humidity is high, and overall they present the perfect environment for the growth of a fungi colony.
We can all agree the bathroom is the usual suspect when you think about mould and mildew.
- Drains – The area around the floor drains usually gets neglected when you are washing the bathroom. However, remember, mould can find its way to the smallest of crevices.
- Towels – The damp fabric and the small particles of shed skin are ideal for growing all types of fungi. Wash them every week.
- The inside of your sink cabinet — Yes, we know there is a lot of stuff stashed there, but remember — this is a dark, damp place with high humidity levels and almost constant temperature. You have no idea how fast a mould colony can overtake your vanity units, if you don’t clean and arrange them monthly.
- The corners of your shower cabin – Do you see the black spots? Well, now you know they are not just a discolouration of the material. You have a mould problem on your hands.
- On the shower curtains – This one of the favourite hiding places of all fungi. They will create a thin slimy coating on the surface of your curtain. Make sure your bathroom has good ventilation and regularly wash the material with soap or cleaning detergent.
Make sure to check regularly:
- Under your heavy furniture – If your wardrobe or bed are tightly pressed to the wall, there might be a mouldy surprise waiting for you. Always leave some room between your furniture and the wall/floor. Remember to vacuum and clean all crevices at least once a month.
- Carpeting – Rugs and mats are essential in the home, however, they tend to dry off slow when in contact with water. Avoid washing them by hand, and hire professional carpet cleaners when needed.
- Window frames – The condensation on the glass makes all window frames and insolation prone to develop mould and mildew. Use specialised cleaners and spray everything regularly. If you don’t take the correct measurements, the problem will worsen especially during the change of the seasons.
- Upholstery – Similar to carpets, upholstery is also hard for washing and cleaning. A good solution to avoid mould and mildew is dry cleaning. With this technique, almost no moisture is used, and your furniture will look as good as new. We advise you to get your upholstery washed professionally at least once a year.
Do you want to know more about how to keep your home tidy, mould-free and fresh-smelling? The experts at Top Cleaners have prepared a detailed home cleaning guide, especially for you.