You might be interested in

Mould Prevention & Removal

mould elimination

As property managers in Western Australia, we understand how mould management is not just about maintaining aesthetics; it’s crucial for safeguarding your health and the integrity of buildings. Mould can lead to health problems for tenants and cause extensive property damage if not managed correctly. Here’s a comprehensive guide, backed by facts and figures, on what mould is, how to prevent it, and the best practices for removal.

What is Mould?

Mould is a type of fungus that thrives in moist, warm environments. It reproduces through microscopic spores that are released into the air and can land on various surfaces, starting new colonies under favorable conditions. Common indoor mould types include Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and the notorious black mould, Stachybotrys chartarum.

Key Facts:

  • Growth Conditions: Mould requires moisture, organic material, and temperatures between 5°C and 38°C to grow.
  • Health Impact: According to the Australian Department of Health, indoor exposure to mould can lead to symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing, and in some cases, skin irritation.

Health Risks of Mould

Exposure to mould can cause various health issues, including:

  • Allergic Reactions: Approximately 10% of Australians are allergic to mould, experiencing symptoms such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and skin rashes.
  • Asthma Attacks: Mould spores can trigger asthma attacks in individuals with asthma. The National Asthma Council Australia reports that 2.7 million Australians have asthma, and exposure to mould can exacerbate their condition.
  • Respiratory Problems: Long-term exposure can lead to chronic coughing and wheezing. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 20% of respiratory infections can be linked to mould and damp conditions.
  • Infections: People with weakened immune systems may develop fungal infections from mould exposure.

How to Prevent Mould

Preventing mould is often easier and less costly than removing it. Here are key strategies to keep your properties mould-free:

  1. Control Humidity Levels

Mould thrives in humid environments. Keeping indoor humidity levels below 60% helps prevent mould growth. Use dehumidifiers in damp areas like basements and bathrooms, and ensure your properties are well-ventilated. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, high humidity levels in coastal and tropical regions increase the risk of mould growth.

  1. Fix Leaks Promptly

Water leaks from roofs, windows, and pipes create ideal conditions for mould. Regularly inspect your properties for leaks and repair them promptly to prevent water damage and mould growth. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that quick response to water leaks can significantly reduce the risk of mould growth.

  1. Improve Ventilation

Good ventilation reduces humidity and moisture levels. Ensure that exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens are functional, and promote adequate airflow by opening windows and doors when possible. The EPA recommends using exhaust fans in high-moisture areas and maintaining HVAC systems to improve air circulation.

  1. Use Mould-Resistant Products

During construction or renovation, consider using mould-resistant materials such as mould-resistant drywall or paint. These products are designed to inhibit mould growth and are particularly useful in moisture-prone areas. According to the National Association of Home Builders, mould-resistant drywall can reduce the likelihood of mould growth by up to 90%.

  1. Clean and Dry Wet Areas

Mould can start growing within 24-48 hours on wet surfaces. After any flooding or spill, clean and dry affected areas immediately. Pay extra attention to bathrooms, kitchens, and basements, where water exposure is more frequent. This is particularly important in areas prone to flooding or high rainfall, such as Northern Queensland.

  1. Monitor Indoor Plants

While indoor plants can improve air quality, they can also harbour mould if overwatered. Ensure plants are not waterlogged, and avoid letting water accumulate in trays beneath pots. A study by NASA showed that certain indoor plants could reduce indoor pollutants, but it’s important to manage their moisture levels to prevent mould.

How to Remove Mould Effectively

Despite your best efforts, mould can still develop. Here’s how to remove it effectively:

  1. Assess the Extent of the Problem

Before beginning mould removal, assess the extent of the infestation. Small areas (less than 10 square feet) can usually be handled by property staff, but larger infestations may require professional remediation. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene provides guidelines indicating that areas over 10 square feet should involve professionals.

  1. Gather Your Supplies

For small mould removal projects, you’ll need:

  • Protective gear (gloves, goggles, and an N95 respirator mask)
  • Plastic sheeting and tape
  • Cleaning solution (commercial mould cleaner, or a mixture of water and detergent)
  • Scrub brush or sponge
  • Disposable rags or paper towels
  • A spray bottle
  • Vacuum with a HEPA filter (for dry mould removal)
  1. Protect Yourself and Contain the Area

Mould removal can release spores into the air, so it’s important to protect yourself and contain the area to prevent the spread of spores to other parts of the property. Wear protective gear, seal off the area with plastic sheeting, and use a HEPA vacuum to clean up any dry mould before scrubbing.

  1. Clean the Mould
  • Non-porous surfaces: For surfaces like tile, metal, and glass, spray the cleaning solution directly onto the mould and scrub with a brush or sponge until the mould is removed. Wipe the area clean with disposable rags or paper towels.
  • Porous surfaces: For materials like wood and drywall, mould can penetrate below the surface. In these cases, spray the cleaning solution and scrub gently, taking care not to damage the material. If the mould has deeply infiltrated the material, it may need to be removed and replaced.
  1. Dry the Area Thoroughly

After cleaning, it’s crucial to dry the area completely to prevent mould from returning. Use fans, dehumidifiers, or open windows to speed up the drying process. The CDC emphasizes the importance of drying areas thoroughly within 24-48 hours to prevent mould growth.

  1. Dispose of Contaminated Materials

Dispose of any materials that were heavily contaminated with mould, such as rags, paper towels, or sections of porous materials that had to be removed. Seal them in plastic bags before disposing of them to prevent the spread of spores.

  1. Monitor for Recurrence

After removing the mould, monitor the area for signs of recurrence. If mould returns, reassess your prevention strategies and ensure all sources of moisture are addressed.

Professional Mould Remediation

For larger mould infestations or situations where mould has caused significant damage, professional remediation may be necessary. Professional mould remediators have the expertise and equipment to handle extensive mould problems safely and effectively. They can:

  • Conduct a thorough inspection to identify the extent of the mould problem and its underlying causes.
  • Use specialized equipment to remove mould and contaminated materials safely.
  • Implement measures to prevent future mould growth, such as sealing leaks and improving ventilation.
  • Provide recommendations for long-term mould prevention and maintenance.

Conclusion

Mould can affect the health of your tenants and the structural integrity of your buildings. By understanding what mould is, how to prevent it, and how to remove it effectively, you can maintain a healthy and safe living environment for your tenants. Regular inspections, controlling humidity, fixing leaks promptly, and ensuring good ventilation are key to preventing mould growth. If mould does appear, address it quickly and thoroughly to prevent it from spreading and causing further damage. For extensive mould problems, professional remediation is the best course of action to ensure safe and effective results. Read further here.

 

Would you like to know more how we can help? Get Your Free Property Appraisal Today.

LinkedIn
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest

Get Started Today

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Updates