Preventing Condensation and Mould Growth

Photo of a glass pane with water streaming down it

Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather. Tiny droplets of water will appear on cold surfaces, such as windows or in places where there is little air movement, such as:

  • in corners of rooms
  • behind large items of furniture
  • on or near windows
  • inside built-in cupboards.

Condensation is usually the main cause of mould growth in homes.

High condensation levels and resulting mildew and mould problems can be prevented by following the simple steps below:

  • When you're cooking, put lids on saucepans.
  • Dry clothes outside, where possible. If you need to dry your clothes indoors, make sure the door to the room is closed and windows are open. If you use a tumble dryer, make sure it is vented to the outside. If you have a condensing dryer, make sure windows in the room are open.
  • Put a small amount of cold water in the bath before you turn on the hot tap.
  • Mop up any condensation you see on windows and sills
  • Shut kitchen and bathroom doors when cooking and washing to stop water vapour from spreading around your home.
  • Don't block permanent vents or airbricks.
  • Don't fully draught-proof a room where there is a cooker or a fuel burning heater, such as a gas fire.
  • Don't draught-proof windows in the bathroom and kitchen.

Treating mildew or mould in your home

You can clean and treat small areas of mould growth safely yourself, using the method below:

  • Before you start to clean, always protect yourself from mould spores by wearing goggles, long rubber gloves, and a mask that covers your nose and mouth. These can be purchased from a DIY retailer.
  • Ask other family members to leave and remove and pets from the room while you clean.
  • Open the windows within the room but keep internal doors closed to prevent spores spreading to other areas of the house.
  • Have a plastic bag ready to take away any soft furnishings, clothes and soft toys that are mouldy. Clothes and soft toys should be washed at a high temperature to kill any spores, and soft furnishings shampooed or dry cleaned.
  • Fill a bucket with water and some mild detergent, such as washing-up liquid or a soap used for hand-washing clothes. Specialist mould cleaning fluids are available from most supermarkets or DIY retailers, but hot soapy water works just as well.
  • Use a rag dipped in the soapy water to carefully wipe the mould off the wall. Be careful not to brush mould as this can release spores.

When you've finished, use a dry rag to remove the moisture from the wall.

Put the rags in a plastic bag and throw them away.

  • Wipe down all hard surfaces in the room, including furniture, to make sure you have removed all spores.

Repeat this at the first sign of new mould growth.

It's important that anything causing damp is fixed or you deal with condensation levels in your home, or the mould may return after cleaning. If you've followed our advice and taken steps to deal with condensation, damp or mould but are still having problems,  please get  in touch with us.

If there are large areas of mould growth (where more than a quarter of a room's surfaces are affected) you should contact us and we will organise for a contractor to clean this for you.

Identifying damp problems

Damp is usually caused by water entering your home from an external source, such as:

  • leaking pipes, wastes or overflows
  • rain seeping through the roof where a tile or slate is missing
  • a blocked gutter
  • faulty window or door seals
  • a cracked pipe
  • rising damp because there is no damp-proof course or it is damaged (if it's rising damp, you will normally see a white tide mark about a meter above floor level, if you live on the ground floor).

You can tell the difference between condensation and damp, as areas of damp will normally look like the surface is wet, or it will leave a white mark on the wall or ceiling surface.

Check outside your home in the area affected and you should easily see the cause of the damp.

If you think your home has a damp problem, you should raise a repair and let us know what you think is causing it.