If your house has black mould on the internal walls, this could be a warning sign which suggests your property is suffering from penetrating damp and unless dealt with quickly, can seriously affect your health.
For our USA followers, this is about mold and mildew and how to cure it.
We bring experience since the 1980’s to give you some advice and a few top tips on getting rid of damp and mould in the home.
Mould and dampness is not something people generally enjoy living with and in some cases, constant dampness inside a house can lead to serious illness and breathing diseases, so this article is important for you to read and is NOT a thinly disguised sales pitch either!
By the way if you are one of our readers from the USA, this article refers to “damp, mold and mildew” and is just as relevant for you as it is from our British and Irish readers.
Let’s get rid of that damp!
We are going to show you some tips for getting rid of damp in the home, but firstly let’s look at damp; what is it and why is it important to take action as soon as you find damp?
Damp in the home is generally best summed up as water or moisture getting in where it should not be.
The exterior walls, foundations, windows and roof of your property, if maintained correctly, will give years of trouble free existence and prevent against damp or mould appearing.
If any of the above items are not kept in good condition, getting damp in the house is, to be honest, your own fault.
OK, let’s not be judgmental, after all, you could have just bought the house, or only discovered the existence of a problem in the structure, but whatever reason, it needs to be cured.
What is damp?
Damp is, as above, where water has got into the home, and onto surfaces, or into places, where it’s existence will encourage spreading of the affected area and the problem becoming much worse.
Damp comes in two main forms, penetrating damp where the water comes in through the walls, and rising damp, where the water in the ground that would normally be stopped by the damp proof course, somehow makes it way past that and into the house, always appearing at lower parts of the wall, no higher than 5 feet.
There are some steps that you the home owner can take to get rid of mould, but in many cases, work would need to be done to the house to stop the cause of the problem, or any damp removal will be in vain because it will only come back again over time.
Black mould spores
When your internal walls become wet, they are an ideal breeding ground for damp mould spores, the worst kind of which are known as Stachybotrys chartarum , and this is a deadly strain which exists in an alarming number of homes in the UK.
The mycotoxins (naturally occurring chemicals produced by Mould) are toxic and can cause people to suffer toxic symptoms including: Respiratory and breathing problems, Haemorrhage problems, inflammation of the skin, Irritation of the mucous membranes, constant tiredness or the feeling like you are going to be sick.
Even if the source of the water is found and stopped, the mould can become powdery and this is when it starts to release the spores in the air inside the house.
THE MOULD SPORES ARE WORSE FOR YOUR HEALTH THAN SMOKING.
How to cure rising damp.
Rising damp is caused either by a faulty DPC, or the lack of one. It can also be caused by blocked airbricks and mud piled up against the house, breaching the DPC. If the latter is the case, simply trench back with a shovel, the earth away from the walls and make sure it does not build up again.
A faulty or missing DPC can be easily remedied by the injection of a chemical compound into the lower part of the wall after drilling a long section of holes, spaced around 5 inches apart with a special machine, pictured below.
The chemical, when injected, will dissipate around the DPC level and settle inside the wall, giving a barrier against damp rising up.
How to cure penetrating damp.
If the damp mould or wet patches on the walls are higher than 5 feet, or even wet walls upstairs, this indicates that the outside walls have lost their weatherproofing qualities and are now letting water into the wall, which is coming into the house and causing problems.
You may notice a stale or musty smell inside the house, or in certain rooms. Your clothes and soft fabrics may also be affected and feel soggy. The house may also feel cold even with the heater on.
A quick examination of the walls outside will often show cracks or hollow rendering with flaking paint or even green mould or mildew, indicating there is a problem with the walls of the house and that is why you have wetness inside.
If you cannot see the damp or diffused moisture, then it is best to investigate by looking behind furniture, at the back or wardrobes, and anywhere the walls inside feel damp or wet, or maybe where the paintwork inside is flaking away or becoming powdery.
“One of the best ways to cure penetrating damp is a damp-proof exterior wall coating, which is available in coloured or clear, and available from NEVER PAINT AGAIN UK by calling them FREE for advice on (0800) 970 4928″
Tips you can take to get rid of mould.
Now we have explained the work needed to get shot of the mould, we would encourage you to speak to a damp proofing company and get someone around to check the dampness out.
When you have had the work done, you need to get rid of the mould that is already in the house, because if the source is fixed, the problem should not come back. If all else fails, call the British damp proofing association on
Here are some tips to assist with the process and how to clean off mould that you find in the home.
DIY mould removal tips.
There are various ways that you can keep the mould at bay, but remember if you don’t deal with the CAUSE of the dampness, it’s going to come back.
Cleaning the damp off the wall.
To clean the damp form the wall, you need to get some suitable old clothes to wear and face and hand protection from the chemicals you may be using.
Tip one: Ventilate the house.
Mould spores don’t like fresh air and yes even though it may be cold outside, you can start by getting some fresh air into the house.
If your bathroom has mould, this is an indication of bad ventilation inside the bathroom and you should always in future open the windows after having a bath or shower, to allow the damp air to dissipate out the window, and not to condense on the colder wall surface.
In future, if your windows have trickle vents, open them!
Tip two: Invest in a good mould cleaner.
To put to bed a popular misconception, you should not use BLEACH to kill damp on the wall as it will only work when you try and clean mold and mildew from tiles or other non absorbent surface.
If you use bleach to clean damp and mould on a wall, it will CREATE MORE DAMP because the water in the bleach will be sucked into the wall, giving the damp the water it needs to start growing again.
To remove mold from interior walls in the home, use something like a mould remover kit for £29.95 from Twistfix (item #MCSKITBOX) which includes all the protective wear needed too, or a cheaper option would be to buy Domestos Professional Mould Free Cleaner 750ml Ref 7517945 from ukofficedirect.co.uk for only £4,54.
Tip three: Rent or buy a Dehumidifier
This is a short term solution for getting rid of the moisture and damp in the air, inside the house. Once again, it should only be used when you have had work done to stop the cause of the ingress.
You can rent a heavy duty industrial dehumidifier for about £270 a week from http://www.hss.com or if you like, you can buy one, a smaller but less powerful one, from www.screwfix.co.uk for about £150.
Tip four: Invest in new fabrics and clothes.
I’m sorry to tell you that if your home has been suffering from the kind of things we are talking about here then it’s likely that your carpets, bedding and soft furnishings have inherited a horrid smell.
There are various cleaning companies who can at least try and rescue beds and sofas etc., but in many cases, the damp eats away at the fibres in the fabric and its often best to throw it all away and buy new.
You will never get the smell out so don’t waste your time and effort, and of course do this AFTER you have had the damp problem addressed.
Tip five: Seal tiles and grouting
Mould growing in bathrooms, wet rooms, kitchens and utility rooms is a very common occurrence of the nasty stuff, often because showering, or during clothes etc, produces moisture, after all that’s what happens when you dry a wet towel, the radiator will make the water in the towel evaporate into the air but sometimes that water settles on a cold wall and that’s when the mould appears.
To prevent this happening on your home, spray the walls with a dedicated antimicrobial treatment and then seal the grouting lines around the tiles with two coats of grout sealer, available from B and Q.
If you take the tips above, and the advice on getting a damp proofing company in to fix the issue, you should not have any further problems with damp. If the problem persists, we can give you a free advice so send the team an email here.