Definition and principal sources

Molds are bacterial fungi grow best in warm, damp, humid conditions characterised by the presence of moisture. They spread through the reproduction of spores in both indoor and outdoor environments. Spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth. Species numbers are estimated to range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more.

Health effects

WHO is concerned about this situation because excessive dampness and mold are a threat to health (@). Occupants of damp or moldy buildings are at increased risk of experiencing health problems (@).
  • Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold. Allergic reactions may happen immediately or develop after a period of time following exposure. Both growing mold and mold spores may lead to allergic reactions. Symptoms of mold allergy may include sneezing, runny nose, coughing, wheezing, tearing and redness of the eyes, and skin irritation or a rash.
  • Asthma attacks may be caused by mold or mold spores in people who have asthma and are allergic to mold.
  • Eye, skin and airway irritation even in some nonallergic individuals. For example, the “black mold”Stachybotrys, along with some other types of mold, produces toxins known as mycotoxins that can cause irritation of the skin and airways in susceptible individuals.
  • Respiratory symptoms and respiratory infections,
  • Allergic rhinitis and
  • Asthma (@)

Some people are more sensitive to mold than others, and some groups are especially vulnerable. Additional effort should be made to keep away from damp and mold babies and children, elderly people, those with existing skin problems, such as eczema, or respiratory problems, such as allergies and asthma (@).

Tackling excessive moisture and preventing Mold growth

  1. Detecting and locating the source of the moisture problem;
  2. Removing the mould; and
  3. Taking action to control excessive moisture and condensation

1. Detecting and locating the source of the moisture problem

Mold only grows when their is sufficient moisture. Knowing the sources of moisture and maintaining those areas to reduce moisture is vital to preventing mold.

  • Moisture is most prominent around leaking pipes, roofs, windows, rising ground water or poor insulation. Ensure these are adequately maintained

2. Removing Mold

It must first be decided if this is a job that can be achieved by ones self or if a professional is needed. It is recommended that an area of mold below 1m by 1m can be treated at home if they area is free of sewage or contaminated water.

  • If you yourself are undertaking the task of the mold removal, use a protective mask which covers your nose and mouth, wear goggles (without ventilation holes) to avoid getting mould or mould spores in your eyes, and protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves, preferably long ones.
  • The process of cleaning will release mold spores into the air. Open any windows in the area but close doors tightly to help prevent the spores being spread to other areas of the house. Leave the windows open during and after the clean up activity.
  • Prepare a bucket of water, some mild detergent, such as washing up liquid or a soap used for hand-washing clothes, and some rags that can be thrown away after removing the mold.
  • Carefully wipe the mould off the wall surface with the soapy rag. Take a dry rag to wipe
    down and remove the moisture following the cleaning process. Put the rags in a plastic
    bag prior to disposal.
  • After mould removal, all surfaces in the room should be thoroughly cleaned either by
    wet wiping or by vacuum cleaning preferably with a HEPA filter to remove spores that have spread during mould removal.
  • Now make efforts to prevent that the mold doesn’t reappear (@)
  1. Preventing Mold – Recommendations
  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50% — all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low (Recommended during humid months).
  • Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, if possible (@)
  • The key to mold control is moisture control (@)
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before application
  • Clean bathrooms with mold killing products
  • Do not carpet bathrooms and basements
  • Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery
  •  Adequately ventilated buildings (@)
  • Well insulated buildings to maintain appropriate temperature

If you have a concern about mold in your home Contact Us


WHO – Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould



What’s in the Air

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