Managing condensation and mould
There are some simple ways you can deal with condensation and mould in your home by reducing moisture in the air, improving ventilation and using your heating efficiently.
Mould is caused by excess water and, in a home, is often the result of condensation. If you don’t deal with mould it can lead to problems which can damage the condition of your home and even affect your health.
The good news is that most problems with condensation and mould can be sorted out quickly if you reduce the moisture in the air and find where mould is growing and clear it away properly.
What causes condensation?
Adding moisture to the air is inevitable – when you sleep your breathing can release up to a pint of moisture into the air. But the main causes of condensation at home tend to be drying laundry indoors and heating water for cooking, baths or showers.
Where does mould grow?
Mould can grow on any surface, so if you spot any mould it’s important to take early action as it can spread quickly.
Mould can typically be found on or next to windows, in the corners and edges of rooms, and behind and inside wardrobes and cupboards (especially if they’re against an outside wall). It can even grow on clothes, bags and shoes if they’re put in wardrobes when wet, or stored too tightly to allow air to circulate.
- Cook with pan lids on and turn the heat down once the water is boiling.
- Run the cold water in a bath first – this can reduce steam by 90%.
- Hang washing outside to dry if you can.
- If you dry clothes inside, use the bathroom or kitchen with the door shut and a window slightly open or with an extractor fan on.
- Don’t put wet clothes on radiators – using a drying rack is much better.
- If you have a tumble dryer, make sure it’s vented correctly.
- Dry condensation from your windows and sills each morning; wring out the cloth rather than drying it on a radiator.
- Fit condensation channels or sponge strips to windows – these collect water and prevent window frames from rotting.
- Open a window, even if only for a short time each day.
- Cross-ventilate by opening two windows at the same time on different sides of your home for about 30 minutes.
- Make sure window vents are always open, especially when someone is in the room.
- Put furniture against internal walls, not outside ones which are much colder.
- Leave a gap between furniture and walls so air can circulate.
Bathrooms and kitchens
- When you bath or shower, keep the extractor fan running and the windows shut, or allow steam to escape by opening a window.
- When you cook, use your cooker hood or extractor fan, or leave a window slightly open and close the kitchen door.
- If your home is under-heated you’re more likely to have issues with condensation.
- Use your thermostat to keep your heating at a steady temperature (18-21C). Find a setting that gives you the heat you need without increasing your heating costs.
- If you have thermostatic radiator valves, put them at a lower setting in rooms you don’t use much.
- In bathrooms and kitchens keep your heating at a constant low temperature – this can be very effective.
- Never use a gas cooker to heat your kitchen.
- Avoid using paraffin heaters – four hours of use can produce six pints of moisture.
If you have an alternative source of heating, such as electric or storage heaters, please contact us for advice on managing condensation in your home.
Tips for clearing mould
- Wear protective gloves and a face mask, along with old clothes you don’t mind throwing away.
- Open windows in the room you’re cleaning and shut the door.
- Use a domestic cleaning product or mould remover – you can buy these from supermarkets and DIY stores. Carefully follow product guidance and safety instructions.
- Some natural products, such as vinegar or baking soda, can tackle mould.
- After clearing the mould, clean all surfaces by wiping down with a wet cloth to remove any spores that may have spread, then dry the surfaces.
What not to do
- Don't use a vacuum cleaner on the affected area as this can transfer mould spores.
- Avoid using bleach as this can sometimes make the situation worse.
- Don’t use washing up liquid – it’s not powerful enough.