Sub-zero temperatures during the winter months present several challenges when it comes to maintaining your property, but one of the most common is the emergence of mould. Our own research suggests that three in 10 Britons currently have mould in their homes, and nearly half have experienced it in their property over the past year.
Whilst mould can arise anywhere in a property, it is often particularly prevalent in bathrooms. Despite being the room we associate with getting squeaky clean, the high moisture content of bathrooms provides the ideal environment for mould to grow.
In addition to being unsightly, mould can cause structural issues in a property and implications for our health, particularly for those with increased vulnerability such as infants and the elderly. If left untreated, it can also spread to other areas of your property, so it’s important to act quickly to treat signs of mould as soon as they are spotted.
Causes of mould in the bathroom
Mould tends to flourish in places where dampness lingers for more than six hours, which allows spores to begin germinating. The most common cause is condensation, which occurs when warm moist air meets a cooler surface causing the moisture to condense out at what is known as ‘dew point’.
Condensation is often present in bathrooms as this is an area where our daily bathing, showering, or washing routines produce moisture. Bathrooms may also lack good ventilation meaning that the warm moist air in them becomes trapped until it meets a cooler surface such as a mirror, wall, or window. What’s more, many spaces and surfaces in bathrooms such as tile grout, around taps, sinks, and shower heads offer the perfect hiding place for mould spores.
Whilst mould is an issue year-round, it is often particularly prevalent over the winter months as stark differences between indoor and outdoor temperatures create a higher likelihood of condensation forming on windows and external walls. This, combined with increased time spent indoors with windows and doors closed reducing ventilation and airflow, creates the perfect conditions for mould to grow.
Spotting signs of mould in the bathroom
Mould spores are microscopic, making it impossible to spot them as they linger awaiting the correct conditions for growth. But, some key visuals and odours can indicate the presence of mould. Discolouration, peeling, or crumbling of bathroom tiles and walls are key indicators, with mould often appearing as dark stains.
How to treat mould in the bathroom
Provided the proper safety equipment is worn, several common household products can be used to remove mould from the bathroom, including vinegar, baking soda or bleach. However, simply cleaning visible mould from the surface of affected areas may not be a long term solution to prevent further growth. The key to combating mould is ensuring your bathroom is properly ventilated – reducing moisture and encouraging airflow.
The best way to improve the ventilation in your bathroom is to fit a modern extractor fan and make sure it is switched on when bathing or showering to reduce the risk of condensation forming. Even better, use the trickle vents on windows or keep a quarter light open for background ventilation.
A good extractor fan or ventilation system will make a difference, but eventually, mould could return if steps are not made to reduce humidity and condensation in your bathroom. Some small, easy steps can be taken such as fixing any leaky pipework, insulating walls, windows, and pipes, avoiding the use of radiators to dry towels, and airing the room regularly.
A two-way approach of increasing ventilation and reducing the humidity and condensation inside your property’s bathroom should stop the return of any long-term mould issues. But, if this approach does prove insufficient, there are specialist treatments available. Peter Cox, provides targeted mould removal services that provide long-term and effective solutions for your property.