indexOne of the most common complaints I have come across from tenants and seen in properties is the issue of mould. The main causes of mould include; condensation, water leaks, penetrating or rising damp,  excessive water vapour or steam being generated through cooking, washing, bathing, showering and the most common one tenants clothes drying often on radiators with inadequate ventilation.

The mould fungi have been identified as health risks, as well as being very unsightly, it can affect your breathing especially if you are prone to asthma. The fungi have also been known to produce toxins which can trigger allergic reactions.

So whilst one might argue that the landlord is responsible for some of the issues, water leaks, penetrating or rising damp, and other building issues, the tenants also need to take responsibility and ensure that the property is indeed well ventilated. The most common cause of mould is condensation caused by lack of ventilation. As an agent you can advise tenants or small things that could make a difference, for instance if there is a window in the bathroom open it after use, if there is a garden dry clothes outside on a washing line or clothes horse, if you have to dry clothes inside as there is no garden or the weather is bad ensure that the room is well ventilated.

It is important to rid mould as soon as it appears and it can spread very quickly, there are bleach based products available from most well know supermarkets and DIY stores. Here is some useful alternative cleaning information in the fight against mould and mildew

If you would rather use something less toxic and more organic try Tea tree oil, an essential oil found in most health food stores, is expensive, but nothing natural works quite as well for mould and mildew. This broad spectrum fungicide does have a strong smell, which usually dissipates within days, so use the following recipe on mouldy ceilings, musty bureaus and rugs or mouldy showers. Combine 2 teaspoons tea tree oil and 2 cups water in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes about 2 cups and lasts indefinitely.

Vinegar is another natural mould and mildew remedy and by far the cheapest. Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mould so pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the mouldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

For light stains, dilute the vinegar with an equal amount of water. You can also prevent mildew from forming on the bottoms of rugs and carpeting by misting the backs with full-strength white vinegar from a spray bottle.

Just because your plastic shower curtain or liner gets dirty or mildewed doesn’t mean you have to throw it away. Try cleaning it in your washing machine with two bath towels on the gentle setting, adding 1/2 cup baking soda to your detergent during the wash cycle and 1/2 cup vinegar during the rinse cycle. Then let it drip dry.