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Signs You Have Mould In Your Home

Rentokil Boecker® shares tips for how to spot and treat it.

If you detect mould in your home, you’re not alone – it’s more common than you might think, especially in humid parts of the world.

Mould grows in moist environments, so Middle Eastern homes are particularly susceptible due to their indoor humidity levels. Whether it's the black spots on your towel, the fuzzy white patches on your kitchen floor, or the slick orange film that forms on your pipes, household mould can be bad news for your family’s health, as well as unpleasant to look at.

Mould in home

What Is Mould And What Causes It?

Mould is a type of fungus that consists of small organisms found almost everywhere. Outdoors, mould plays an important role in nature, breaking down dead leaves, plants, and trees. It thrives on moisture and reproduces by means of tiny spores that travel through the air. Mould only takes 24 to 48 hours to grow in a moist indoor area. 

Spores enter the home through the air, like open windows, doorways, and ventilation systems, or by attaching to people on clothing, shoes and bags. The most significant contributors to mould are excess moisture from everyday living and poor ventilation.

You may be surprised to know how much water vapour is generated in the home from essential actions like washing, cleaning and even breathing – the average family of four can produce approximately four pints of water a day. As we can spend up to 90% of our lives indoors, this means moisture needs to be ventilated continuously. Homes with insufficient ventilation will always be more susceptible to mould. Water from faulty plumbing or leaks can also lead to mould if left over time.

Mould can grow anywhere – walls, floors, appliances, carpet, and furniture. It needs moisture to grow, so it is most likely in damp places such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and crawl spaces. For the same reason, homes on lower levels are more prone to mould growth as they are more exposed to moisture evaporating from drains, soil, and the ground when it rains.


The Impact of Mould

As well as being unpleasant to look at, mould can also fill homes with a musty, stale smell, sometimes described as being similar to the smell of decaying wood.

It can grow on a range of materials including furniture, due to a combination of excess humidity and poorly insulated exterior walls. For example, when a dresser is placed against an exterior wall, the airflow is restricted, and condensation can form. In time, this condensation creates an environment conducive to mould growth. Mould spores can easily spread to other damp surfaces, including other wood products. Different wood species are affected differently by mould, due to the wood’s stored sugar content.  Any untreated wood can be at risk of acquiring mould without the proper care.

This can wreak havoc on furniture, wallpaper, carpets, and upholstery which will need to be replaced if the mould is not treated early.

If not dealt with, mould growth can have adverse effects on family health, too. People are typically exposed to mould by contact, ingestion, or inhalation. Mould spores and mould have adverse effects on indoor air quality, which is especially dangerous for people with weak immune systems, allergies, or asthma. Some people, like children, older people, those with existing skin problems, those with respiratory problems, and those with weakened immune systems, are more sensitive than others.

Inhaling or touching mould spores can cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Mould can also cause asthma attacks.

Mould facility management

Eight Signs You Might Have Mould In Your Home

Mould can bloom quickly after the smallest damage, like a leaking shower, condensation under the air-conditioning unit, or water pooling in your crawlspace. But if spotted early, it can be easily treated to minimize the damage.

The eight tell-tale signs to look out for are:

  1. Musty Smell: Have you returned home one day and detected an unusual odour that lingers in the air? Try to examine the corners of your home, or damp areas. These carry a high probability for mould to multiply. The smell of mould is unpleasant, and it will grow stronger over time as the mould starts spreads. “Musty” and “stale” are the most common descriptors of what mould smells like.
  2. Dark spots on surface: This might be hard to spot on patterned or dark colored surfaces. Usually, it is more identifiable when it has become a large patch that is hard to miss. During your cleaning regime, try to check the corners or the rim of the surfaces.  If the structure of the wood looks damaged and discoloured, you may have mould.
  3. Black grouting in bathrooms or damp surfaces: One of the most common places to find mould is between tiles, because the porous nature of grout is highly susceptible to microscopic growth. In damp areas, these are stubborn black stains. When cleaning, it is recommended to wipe down dark surfaces with a light-colored cloth to identify signs of mould.  If you notice black, blue, green, or pink growth appearing in water-prone areas, it's a sure sign you have mould issues. Mould can also grow under tiles, weakening their hold and lifting them.
  4. Warped walls: Peeling wallpaper can also be a sign of mould. Unusual surface or peeling abnormalities such as crackling, or bubbling can be a sign of wall moisture. Due to condensation, these are easy places for dampness to occur and breed mould, so do pay particularly close attention to any warped areas of your walls that feel damp.
  5. Feeling fatigue: Do you feel consistent and unusual fatigue? Mould exposure, particularly at home, can cause people to feel tired or develop chronic fatigue. It's due to mycotoxins, which are toxins produced by mould, decreasing oxygenation in the body, among other reactions that cause people to feel tired.  Low energy and fatigue are common mold exposure symptoms.
  6. Allergy or asthma flare-ups: If you have a mould allergy and asthma, your asthma symptoms can be triggered by exposure to mould spores. In some people, exposure to certain mould can cause a severe asthma attack. Signs and symptoms of a mould-induced asthma attack include coughing, wheezing or tightness of the chest whenever you are in your home.
  7. Persistent cough or cold: Mould exposure can also cause coughing, upper respiratory tract symptoms, and wheezing in healthy people. This is one of the telling signs that mould is present in the air particles in your home. Those who are sensitive to mould exposure can also exhibit symptoms such as itchy or red eyes, skin irritation, and a stuffy nose.
  8. Headaches: Breathing in mould spores can irritate your mucous membranes and immune system, leading to headaches, migraines, and other health issues. Generally, a mould exposure-induced sinus headache feels like intense pressure on your forehead, nose, and inner ear.
mould daycare

What To Do If You Have Identified Mould?

With mould, homeowners should always try to prevent it as much as they can.

Keeping indoor humidity levels as low as possible by using a HEPA dehumidifier is key to maintaining humidity no higher than 50% to prevent the growth of pathogenic microbes of mould and to improve your indoor air quality. Rentokil Boecker highly recommends the use of an industrial-grade industrial dehumidifier with HEPA filter, as key maintenance after thorough mould remediation.  

Homeowners should also pay attention to ventilation to keep air moving freely, especially in parts of the home that naturally tend to have higher humidity levels like kitchens and bathrooms. If possible, installing exhaust fans that vent outside your home is recommended too, as is drying clothes outside.

Homeowners should fix leaks quickly, add mould inhibitors to paints before decorating, clean bathrooms with mould-killing products and remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried immediately.

Treat It Safely With An Expert

Once mould has set in, you might require professional help to remediate it before it spreads further and impacts your family’s health.

Rentokil Boecker has a dedicated team of industry-certified mold remediation experts who can assist in inspecting and treating any mould within your property.

mould treatment

Our remediation process by our expert professional uses a non-toxic chemical, providing lasting protection against mould and mildew without leaving a harsh odour in your home and safe for the environment. 

Take proactive actions today to prevent mould - book a routine check to avoid preventable and potentially hefty remediation costs. 

The Experts In Mould Remediation

This service reduces over 90% of the pathogens in the air and is applied based on a customized mould control plan, after in-depth inspection of sources, infestation and affected areas.

  • 100% Safe & Environmentally Friendly
  • Deodorising Power
  • Disintegrates Biofilm
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