2022-06-04 01:50:45 By : Ms. sales suranus

Where you should be looking for mould and how long it takes to start growing

With La Niña bringing lasting wet weather and high humidity, many people are finding mould in their homes. 

If you're worried there could be a mould infestation lingering in your home, here's what to do.

Garry Carroll, director of the Australian Cleaning and Restoration Academy, says it really depends on the home, the water exposure and the humidity. 

"Mould can start [growing] from 48 hours sometimes, if it’s got the right conditions," he said.

While there might not be mould in the day or two after heavy rain, a change in conditions — like a humidity hike — can accelerate growth.

Look out for dampness, a musty smell and condensation.

Mr Carroll says there are two ways that mould infests properties — high humidity and water exposure.

After months of wet weather, many people are struggling to contain mould. Here's how to get rid of it.

When water gets into your home from leaks or floods, mould can grow in places that haven't dried out properly.

Mr Carroll says there's a greater risk of mould when the humidity climbs beyond about 70 per cent.

"Once it goes above that, there’s more of a chance of things hitting dew point," he said.

"The air reaches saturation and can’t hold more water.

"Condensation builds up on materials, and then mould forms."

Any room with a water source in it — bathrooms, toilets and laundries.

Mr Carroll says it's also important to look in bedrooms that adjoin bathrooms.

Look at the entirety of the room, paying extra attention to the corners, ceiling cornices, window sills, carpets and skirting boards.

Check soft, porous surfaces like couches and mattresses.

But don't just do a quick once-over, inspect hidden places that aren't exposed to the air.

Lift up couch cushions, check underneath mattresses, pull back mattress covers, lift up rugs and look under your doormat.

And check out items that have no airflow around them — look in cupboards, drawers and behind dressers. 

If you've got an air conditioner, check the filter. 

There's also been reports of people finding mould behind picture frames and mirrors hung on the wall. 

"Behind a picture frame, there's no airflow," Mr Carrol said.

"There's usually cardboard backing or MDF timber — both of those are very absorbent."

And don't forget to inspect your indoor plants, as they are consistently damp (especially if you're watering them properly).  

"We recommend that, as soon as you see mould growth, you should act as swiftly as possible," Gerard Murtagh from cleaning company MouldMen said.

"Try and clean those areas, and keep your home dry."

Mr Murtagh says you can clean the mould yourself but if the growth is bigger than a dinner plate, it's best to call in an accredited expert.

What rights do renters have when it comes to mould growth and who should remove it?

Mr Carroll says if you're dealing with surface mould, it can be treated quite easily. 

But if that mould is growing through the gyprock or plasterboards in your home, say from a leak in the ceiling, it's going to be a bigger job.

Mr Carrol says it's important not to just kill the mould, but to remove the dead spores. 

So if you've wiped over some mould, don't use that cloth again because it'll only spread the spores.

The Queensland government says once you've cleaned the mould, you should go over the surface again with a new damp cloth and then dry it with another clean cloth.

Mr Carroll says a stabilised chlorine dioxide is the best commercial product for cleaning mould.

The Queensland government lists the following home remedies for removing mould:

Turning on the fans is a good place to start.

If you've got an air conditioner, run it on dry mode or consider using a dehumidifier.

Open up the windows to air the place out, but only if it's sunny and not too humid.

"You can't open windows and ventilate when it's [pouring] down outside, you're only letting high humidity in," Mr Carroll said.

Keep the humidity out and make sure your home is well ventilated.

Look out for any water leaks, fix them quickly and install exhaust fans in the laundry and your bathrooms.

After you've had a shower, open a window and run the exhaust fan for about 15 minutes to get rid of the steam. 

Freshen up the paint on your walls, because that'll provide a good protective barrier to prevent porous wall materials from sucking in moisture — the Queensland government suggests adding an anti-mould solution to the paint to help slow down mould growth. 

Keep your gutters clean, because this stops rainwater pooling during heavy downpours. 

Check the external walls of your home, clearing plants, soil and leaf litter from weep holes

And keep in mind that plants growing on or close to external walls can promote moisture. 

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