As promised, here is my post about mould... and boy have I had enough of mould. Maybe you don't or never have had a mould problem in your home, but please dear blogging friends, I urge you to read on and be prepared for when it might strike. Mould and damp is so destructive... but not to fear... it can be dealt with!
So I've mentioned previously that we had a water pipe burst - the water ran down through the ceiling, and down the back of the kitchen cupboards. This only happened for what we think was a couple of hours. All was fine when we went to bed, but when we woke up, there was the sound of dripping, and water on the kitchen worktop overflowing from some canisters against the wall that had filled up with water. Mr L quickly fixed the leak, and we dried the counters as best we could, emptied the kitchen cupboards, leaving the doors open so that they could dry. We were so grateful that we were home and could stop the leak because it seemed like there was hardly any damage to the kitchen or ceiling.
A couple of weeks passed and I noticed that the back of the kitchen cupboards were no longer sparkly white - and then the smell started. Every time you walked into the kitchen there was a faint smell of damp... we sort of knew something was happening, but we were in denial. Finally a month after the leak, we decided to take down the kitchen cupboards that Mr L and his dad worked so hard putting up a couple of years ago. This is what we found...
It was so much worse than we ever imagined! We never realised that so much was happening behind our kitchen cupboards with only a faint smell to give it away. We're heartbroken at being without half of our lovely kitchen, but we're looking forward to getting it sorted out soon too. We will have to replace the plasterboard on the walls, and then replace the kitchen units again, all I can say is thank goodness for house insurance! But poor mr L has allot of work ahead of him.
So, here are a couple of steps to take if you ever have a water leak, or discover mould! Don't hope for the best like we did, act quickly!
Step 1: If you have a water leak in the house - all surfaces need to dry-out properly. It seems obvious, but in the UK with high humidity almost year round it's much harder than you think. Carpets will need to be lifted, furniture needs to be removed from the area, and cupboards or selves will need most probably need to be taken down for drying out. Don't hesitate to hire a de-humidifier. This is the one thing that will help most at preventing mould!
Step 2: If you are at a stage where you discover mould - act quick! Mould will spread fast, a small area of mould is not too much of a problem, but when it gets bigger than a metre square area, the house occupants can suffer ill effects caused by mould. More specifically, asthma sufferers are at risk of having their asthma worsened. So once discovered, the mould will need to be cleaned away. If the area is manageable here is how to tackle it, but large areas of mould are best handled by professionals. The best non-industrial product I found here in the UK is the Dettol Mould & Mildew remover. But whatever product you choose to use, always wear a mask and gloves when cleaning mould. In order to prevent the spores from spreading too much, you will need to mist it lightly with a liquid such as the Dettol cleaner. This is to prevent the mould spreading around in the air as you wipe it off. Once you have sprayed it, use a cleaner or soapy water and a sponge to wipe away the mould. Keep rinsing the sponge and change the water regularly.
Wipe down all surfaces and areas around where the mould was, then use an absorbent cloth, or towel to remove as much of the moisture as possible. Using a de-humidifier at this stage will also help greatly (de-humidifiers can be rented in the UK for approximately £15-25 a day, but are worth it if you can save having to replace materials).
Step 3: Replace areas and surfaces that are irreparable, or potentially have more mould that you cannot reach. Then you will need to keep the area well ventilated for a week or two until you are sure that all surfaces are thoroughly dry, and mould areas have been cleaned and treated before replacing furniture, cupboards or shelves.
I hope this post will be a handy resource for anyone dealing with mould. Remember that untreated mould can pose health risks including allergic reactions, sinus infections and asthma attacks. It really boils down to drying wet areas out, and keeping damp areas well ventilated and clean before the mould has a chance to grow. But, mould happens, and when it does, it' handy to know that it can be treated.
I'll be back soon with another tip of the week. Thanks to Ivy for all her useful post ideas!
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