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DIY ways to prevent mould and moisture in your home

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Are your walls peeling or turning patchy? You might have a mould problem.

When your walls develop ugly discolouration and patches, or even worse, start bubbling and peeling, you know you have a mould problem. Your walls are not meant to remain moist, and any leakage inside the concrete and plaster means that you’ll soon see water marks appearing. Mould, which is essentially a fungus, will follow shortly afterwards, unless you take a few measures as soon as possible.

Mould looks unsightly on walls, and is responsible for weakening and ruining a perfect painted surface. But it’s even more dangerous for you and your family. It releases a musty odour as it sets in, and can spread very fast. Mould can cause allergies, irritation, runny noses, dermatitis, and it can aggravate respiratory conditions like asthma as well.

So how do you get rid of this evil growth?

In this case, prevention really is the best measure. Ensure that you have appropriate waterproofing solutions for your home at all times. However, this is a considerably large step, and you might not be able to implement it immediately.

In the meantime, there are two ways to tackle mould. Firstly, identify the source. Is water leaking through the exterior of your building surface and into the structure of your walls? This is most common during the monsoon. Do you have leakage coming in from the apartment above yours? Are there pipes inside the walls that are leaking water into the concrete? If you know where the moisture is coming from, you can take measures to prevent further seepage.

Next, remove mould as much as possible after fixing the leakage. Scrape your walls and scrub them clean with bleach and water or diluted detergent. Wipe it clean and allow the surface to dry thoroughly. Do ensure that the area receives full ventilation so that it dries, or the mould will grow back.

For smaller sized areas, this solution is possible. If you have large patches or sections of the wall that have been affected, you’ll need a professional.

Here are some tips to keep your home free of mould and moisture:

  1. Clean and disinfect areas that are exposed to moisture frequently. This means your kitchen sink and the cabinets under the sink, as well as the walls and floor of your bathroom. Allow these areas to receive ventilation regularly so they remain dry.
  2. Keep indoor spaces ventilated so that air can circulate and control humidity. Allow your windows to remain open as much as possible.
  3. When taking a shower, keep the exhaust running to prevent moisture from soaking into the surfaces, or air out the bathroom soon after use.
  4. Allow a small gap to remain between furniture and the wall so that there is proper circulation of air.
  5. Air out your clothes properly before storing in the cupboard. Any traces of perspiration, moisture or dampness can turn into mould when kept in an airless closet.
  6. Put your rugs, mattresses, pillows and carpets out in sun once in a while to air them and keep free from moisture.
  7. Throw away anything that has become mouldy. Porous materials like paper, wood, rugs and carpets, once contaminated by mould, cannot be restored easily. It is advisable to dispose of them as soon as possible. Items like tiles, glass, steel or plastic can be saved by washing and drying properly.
  8. Avoid painting over mouldy surfaces. Clean and dry the area thoroughly and then paint over it.
  9. House plants could gather mould do, in thin layers over the soil. This is especially true for plants in corners without sunlight or air circulation. There are solutions you can add to the soil to prevent them from growing mould.
  10. Keep the rest of your house clean and dust-free as much as possible. When your home is regularly tidied, it becomes easier for air to circulate and stay fresh.

Do remember, however, that mould is often a symptom of a larger problem that needs to be addressed. If you find that mould grows back frequently, call in a professional to advise you.

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