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There is natural concern about indoor air quality with the skyrocketing number of high-rise buildings in Malaysia. Mould in the home is a concern as studies show a definitive link between indoor air quality and a wide range of respiratory, dermal, and ocular symptom.
In fact, back in 2004, the newly opened Hospital Sultan Ismail was devastated when it had to close its doors due to a deadly mould contamination.
Therefore, we will go through the types of mould you can find in your homes and how to get rid of mould in general. Along with preventative measures as well so that the problem is nipped in the bud.
Table Of Contents:
What Is Mould?
According to the CDC:
Mould or mildew is a fungi that prefers to grow in damp areas. There are actually different species of mould too (with varying colors).
Mould can grow indoors and outdoors and there’s no way to truly avoid mould (and the airborne spores by which they proliferate by) completely. Not even in sterilized rooms like a surgical theatre!
The presence of mould is often caused by untreated water damage, leakage or sometimes just in areas that not well as ventilated such as bathrooms.
Types Of Mould
There are several different moulds that can grow in the home. These can range from mild to high in toxicity levels. Regardless, all must be removed.
Also known as black mould, this highly toxic mould is often found inside the home and can produce toxins that can be fatal to infants and animals! Often times, black mould goes undetected because it typically grows behind walls!
You will find this kind of mould on wooden surfaces and it frequently causes allergies. Which could cause a serious asthma attack or even lung infections! It is especially dangerous for those with weaker immune systems.
This is another type of mould that could cause or worsen asthma. It is a common mould that has many variating species.
Geotrichum is a white mould, powdery in texture with a fast rate of spreading! This is because the spores spready easily through the air. This mould is often linked to causing tuberculosis as well as pulmonary infections.
Trichoderma is white with green patches and grows well in moist areas. It causes allergic reactions as well as liver and pulmonary infections. Furthermore, it will destroy the integrity of buildings as it tends to go after textiles, paper as well as wood which will ultimately rot.
This musty smelling mould grows well in dark and wet environments and you will often spot it under carpets, baseboards or even wallpaper.
While it looks similar to black mould, it is from a different species. Nonetheless, it has been linked to neurological damages, allergic reactions as well as autoimmune diseases!
Bipolaris has a grey-brown or whitish colouring and over time, it turns into an olive green colour.
The texture of this mould often looks fluffy and soft and it grows outdoors on grass or soil. Although it can also grow on carpets, houseplants, or other water damaged items.
This mould also causes allergic reactions like asthma and wheezing.
Cladosporium is an olive-green coloured mould that thrives in both warm and cold environments! It can cause asthma, lunch infections, sore throats, skin infections, sinusitis as well as itchy eyes.
You might find this mould growing under carpets or floorboards because it thrives well in dark moist spots.
Why Is Mould Bad?
Mould in the home is a common problem and has the reputation of causing health concerns as well as structural damage.
And seeing as how Malaysia is an extremely hot and humid country, poor ventilation and moist environments only encourages mould to thrive!
The most common affliction that mould can cause in humans is allergies. This can be triggered in some people by inhaling the spores or by touching the mould directly.
Symptoms include sneezing, itchy/ runny eyes and nose, or a skin rash according to the EPA.
Mould is especially bad for asthma sufferers, as it can bring on asthma attacks.
Other Reasons You Don’t Want Mould In Your Home
Besides how they can cause allergies, there are other disadvantages of having mould in your home:
- Destroys leather goods
- Smells bad
- Looks unsightly
- Damages wallpaper
- Damages building structures
- Ruins your air-conditioning
- Tarnishes your tiles
- Contaminates your carpets
How To Remove Mould In Your Home
Before you start grabbing the bottle of bleach and a sponge, take a minute and read about the right way to remove mould in your home.
First of all, find the source of the mould and target it.
A rule of thumb is to look for mould in any frequently moist places. Or rooms with poor ventilation. Hence, this be the bathroom, laundry area and kitchen.
Also keep in mind that leaky plumbing, air conditioners, dehumidifiers as well as humidifiers can also contain mould. And to make matters worse, the latter can spread the spores into the air.
Now, for mould on the walls, here is a tip that you can try:
What you will need:
- Face mask
- Non-ammonia-based soap
- Hard scrub brush
- First, mix a solution of non-ammonia-based soap – use several brands of dish soap if you wish
- Dip the brush into the mixture and scrub on the afflicted spot
- Rinse off the area well with water
- Mix 1 cup of bleach and mix with 4l of water and dab the infected area
- Allow good ventilation so that the wall is completely dry
Alternatively, there are other items you can use instead of bleach (i.e., hydrogen peroxide or chlorine). Like distilled white vinegar, rubbing alcohol or borax with baking soda.
How To Prevent Mould
Regardless of whether you live in landed property or even a high rise, mould will always find a way to proliferate as it’s almost always in the air.
There are ways to clean mould and but as we all know; prevention is always better than cure!
1. Keep The Space Dry
Keep areas that are prone to mould as dry as possible. If it’s somewhere that is harder to maintain, like the bathrooms, maintain a weekly wipe down with the same solutions above.
2. Regular Maintenance
Additionally, go a step further and have regular maintenance for your AC done as well as checking your pipes for leaks.
This could be anywhere from once every 6 months or more frequently depending on the severity of the moulding issue.
3. Look Into Cross Ventilation
If a particular space tends to grow mould more often than other areas of your home, chances are that the area is always wet and isn’t able to dry fast enough.
To combat this, make sure air is flowing in and out of the room so that the walls and floors are able to dry quickly.
Dehumidifiers, turning on the fan or opening windows will all help evaporate moisture faster.
4. Mould Resistant Products
Another great tip is to use mould resistant products. Mould resistant paint or wallpaper will help to ensure fewer moulding issues.
5. Invest In Air Purifiers
Air purifiers can be great addition to a home that has no access to fresh air!
Look for air purifiers with HEPA filters to reduce the amount of mould (and airborne dust or smoke particles) in the air while you sort out managing the actual source of the mould!
Remember that for large spaces, you have to get an air purifier capable of broad coverage.
Mould in your home is always a nightmare to handle. Sometimes, you can do all the right things and mould will find a way to attach itself to your walls or sink cabinets, etc.
Educating yourself as well taking into account, your building’s structure will help you in more ways than one.