Prevent mould in your home

As the weather is cooling, homeowners and tenants throughout Sheffield spot patches of mould and mildew on walls inside their homes.

This is not only unappealing to the eye but there are also health hazards associated with mould and mildew in the home. Common places are in the bathroom, kitchen and bedrooms. We address the causes of this ghastly phenomenon and how to permanently prevent it from reappearing inside your home.

What is the difference between mould and mildew?

Typically, mould is raised and looks fuzzy or slimy in appearance. Most commonly, it is olive-green in colour but in some cases, it can be black, blue or red.

Mildew is usually flat in appearance and transforms into a white powdery-like substance. It has a musty smell similar to damp socks whereas mould smells more pungent.

What causes mould and mildew?

The 3 most common causes of damp providing the most ideal conditions for mould to grow are:

Condensation – The simplest way to explain this cause is when warm air comes into contact with a cold surface, it quickly cools down resulting into liquid droplets. The result leads to moisture on surfaces such as walls and windows. You may have noticed this phenomenon when served an ice-cold beverage in a glass and wonder why the exterior surface and base of the glass quickly becomes wet. The same principles apply here.

As mould is a fungus breaking down dead material, this artificially created moisture provides the ideal conditions for mould to grow as it feeds on carpet and dust particles.

The most common causes of condensation are:

  1. Central heating systems switching on during cooler hours (cold mornings and evenings)
  2. Bathing (EG. hot showers in a bathroom) and cooking (EG. steam from boiling etc)
  3. Drying clothes – especially wet clothes left on radiators to dry
  4. Poor ventilation – having windows closed during cooler times resulting in hgher humidity IE. The amount of water in the air

Rising Damp – This is something most homeowners fear as it can be costly to treat. As the name suggests, rising damp starts at the base of a wall and slowly moves in an upwards direction. The damp is drawn up through the porous brickwork, cement, mortar and pointing ultimately finding itself inside walls. If left untreated, mould spores begin to form.

Humidity – We have already discussed how condensation can cause humidity however, external factors can also have an impact such as a weakness in the external walls allowing moisture to enter the property or prolonged exposure to water on an external wall such as broken guttering and downpipes.

How can mould affect my health?

It is extremely important to treat mould as soon as it is detected. Its very presence is known to have adverse effects on healthy individuals however, it has wider reaching targets such as:

  • Infants & children
  • The elderly and infirm
  • People with respiratory problems EG. those who suffer from asthma and other associated allergies
  • People with skin problems EG. eczema; and
  • Those with weakened immune systems EG. those undergoing chemotherapy 

The common symptoms of mould present in your home are likely to be:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea

How to treat mould in your home

There are a number of ways to treat mould in your home.

Always protect yourself from mould spores by wearing goggles, long rubber gloves and a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Be sure to open the windows but keep doors closed to prevent spores spreading to other areas of the house.

You can make your own solution to remove mould from walls.

Step 1:  Mix one part bleach to four parts of water

Step 2:  Using a damp cloth, gently scrub and wipe the mould until the mould is gone.

Step 3:  Dry the affected area well with a soft cloth


Spray white distilled vinegar on the affected area and leave for an hour. Scrub with a soft brush and finally, rinse with a damp cloth; or

Dissolve ¼ Tablespoon of Baking Soda in a bottle of water. Spray the solution onto the affected area and rinse with a damp cloth. You may have to repeat the process and leave to dry

Tips to prevent mould in your home

Good ventilation is important. Open windows every day to allow fresh air into your home and moisture out

  • Always open windows and use an extractor fan when cooking, showering or drying
  • Dry clothes outside where
  • Wipe away any condensation around windows and window
  • Regularly maintain gutters and ensure water does not overflow on external 
  • Use a dehumidifier and moisture traps on windows
  • Window vents should be left open permanently
  • Try and keep the ambient temperature in your home constant throughout cold months by having the central heating on. Avoid sudden changes in room temperature

Whether you are a homeowner or tenant, we hope this short article will help you prevent mould and mildew in your home.

Need more information?

Whether you are a homeowner and have concerns about damp in your home or a tenant experiencing constant damp issues or simply looking for good advice on how to prevent mould and mildew at home, contact Nicholas Humphreys (Sheffield – Broomhill & Crookes) on 0114 470 4715 or e-mail at

Our office is open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm.