Damp and mould is a common problem in many student houses for two reasons; either the tenants aren’t heating and ventilating the property efficiently, or there is a defect in the property.
Black mould growth and condensation in your home is a sign there’s too much water in the air. As the winter approaches, you will notice more condensation in your rooms. Condensation can lead to damp and mould if not dealt with correctly. There are many factors involved in the cause of condensation and mould, the main ones being no air circulation in rooms, due to windows and doors being kept shut.
How to deal with a current damp/mould problem:
- Wash the area thoroughly
Use non-ammonia soap or detergent in hot water and scrub the entire area affected by the mould. Wet the surface first with detergent solution before scrubbing. Remember to wear rubber gloves when using detergent. Ask your local shop for the best product to use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely.
- Rinse and dry
Use a damp cloth to rinse any residual detergent off the treated surface.
Disinfectants are intended to be applied to thoroughly cleaned materials and are used to ensure that most micro-organisms have been killed. Therefore, do not use disinfectants instead of or before cleaning materials with detergent. To disinfect, put a small amount of household bleach in hot water. Wet whole area and keep on area for 10 minutes.
- Clean up
Discard any loose materials where mould growth cannot be removed or has been ingrained into the material. Bag and discard mouldy items. Place a fan heater near the affected area to dry out the treated materials. Dry for 2 -3 days.
Caution: bleach should be handled with extreme care! Wear gloves and make sure the area is well ventilated. Bleach fumes can irritate the eyes, nose and throat, so make sure the window is open after applying bleach to an area. Bleach can also damage clothing and shoes so be careful.
After removing mould, follow these steps to stop it from happening again!
Avoid condensation / mould by:
- Aerating rooms as much as possible to help prevent mould growing on walls, by opening windows. (But only when you are in, don’t leave windows open when you are out – this is a security risk!)
- Keep radiators on a low heating for a longer period of time rather than blasting out heat for a couple of hours. This will ensure heat is built up in the room and stored in the walls.
- Ensure you mop up water on windowsills and open your window, as this will turn into mould if left. Water on windowsills and condensation on windows are signs that windows need to be opened!
- Cover pans when cooking, don’t leave kettles boiling, and dry clothes outdoors (in the winter dry clothes inside but open windows to remove moisture).
Your landlord has the right to take necessary costs from your deposit at the end of the year if it is evident that damp and mould was caused by the tenants so please follow the advice given here.
If you feel that you are doing everything you can do to remove the mould and condensation issue and feel that work needs to be done in the property then please contact:
Housing Enforcement, Cardiff Council
029 2087 1762
For more information, download the Damp and Mould poster or read Cardiff Council’s information brochure