Once the mold has settled in, it becomes difficult to get rid of it. It is all the more important to prevent mold. Because that requires little effort, just a little attention, this article gives some essential tips on how to avoid mold from the start.
Don’t wait for the mold.
Again and again, one only thinks about mold when it is already there. A few decisive and often simple measures can help to prevent mold effectively. But once the mold has appeared, it is important to fight it immediately. Because watching the mold growth is not a solution – especially not for your health! How to fight surface mold is demonstrated in our instructions on how to remove mold from the ceiling.
So that it doesn’t even get that far, we are going to list a few tips here on how to prevent mold growth in your own four walls. To be able to spread on suitable surfaces – and this includes most of the – mold spores need one thing above all: a lot of moisture. So the most effective way to prevent mold is to prevent excessive moisture in your own four walls. And that starts with the humidity.
Avoid mold with proper ventilation.
During the day, a lot of humidity accumulates at home when, for example, showering, bathing, or cooking release large amounts of haze and water vapor, and damp towels are also hanging to dry in the living space. The simplest and most effective measure to prevent mold in your own four walls is and will remain the right ventilation. This is indispensable, especially with modern low-energy construction methods. Because the windows are now usually built tight and no longer allow a natural exchange of air. The result: Moist air accumulates in the room without being able to escape even minimally. Suitable for the energy balance, but inadequate for preventing mold. This is why it is all the more important to ventilate well several times a day.
Simply tilting the window permanently to prevent mold growth is not a solution, especially in winter. The moist air can only escape moderately. Instead, heating air is lost, and the window joints cool down excessively. After the next bath, condensation will form here, and the mold will be happy! As always, the answer must be: ventilate! The windows are opened wide for 10-15 minutes. That is enough to guarantee a reasonable exchange of air, but not to extract heat from the walls. By opening the doors at the same time, the exchange of air between the rooms is made possible. Then close the windows and doors again. The whole thing is repeated at least twice a day and after every shower or bath. In summer, it is important not to ventilate cooler rooms such as pantries or basements. Otherwise, a lot of moisture will flow into these rooms with the warm outside air and condense on the cool walls. Not a good measure to prevent mold …
Prevent mold from scratch
Proper ventilation is critical to prevent mold from forming. But measures against mold that are effective in the long term must begin with the building process so that the fight against mold does not become a constant issue. Waterlogging in the building must be prevented from the start. The foundation of a house must be carefully insulated, for example, by scarfing. Otherwise, moisture will pull up from the floor into the walls. The ground also has to be insulated underneath tiles, because joints are not waterproof. In the bathroom and kitchen, make sure that all splash water zones have an insulating layer in the building.
Mold particularly likes to set in places that are permanently cooler than their surroundings. Because water vapor quickly condenses there. To effectively prevent mold, it is essential to ensure that the insulation is good and complete when building or renovating. The insulation is often broken through on ceiling struts or window lintels so that thermal bridges are created there in exchange with the outside air. In the long term, mold infestation occurs here again and again. Such weak points must be remedied immediately to avoid renewed mold growth.
Avoid mold in the bathroom and kitchen.
Even after moving into the house or apartment, many measures can prevent mold. Due to its function, the bathroom is particularly susceptible to mold. What to do? First of all: out with the moisture! This is especially important to avoid mold in the bathroom. After showering, the tiles should be stripped off with a rubber squeegee so that water droplets do not stand, but land in the drain. Then the surfaces are briefly rubbed dry with a towel. In the long run, this is particularly gentle on the joints. Correctly dimensioned ventilation is a must, especially in wet rooms without windows. Nevertheless, after bathing and showering, you should always ventilate the room by opening all existing windows and doors.
Other aids can be used to help prevent molds, such as the use of fungicidal wall paints and sealants. Once elastic joints have been affected, they should be replaced at the next opportunity. Because once mold has crept into or under the joints, there is no other way to remove it.
The rules in the kitchen are similar to those in the bathroom: When cooking, you should always try to use an extractor or, if necessary, ventilation so that so much water vapor does not rise. In any case, ventilate the room afterward! If, however, the food gets cold, it has been aired too long. After washing up, dishes and damp fittings are dried off with the tea towel and not simply left damp.
The same applies to the bathroom and kitchen: hang damp towels and tea towels outside! Otherwise, the moisture ends up in the room again.
Prevent mold in living spaces
Warm, dry air is a good guarantee against mold, but not necessarily comfortable for humans. Life is better with a certain level of humidity. But then how do you prevent mold? So that mold spores do not benefit from slightly humid air, it is important to ensure adequate air circulation in living spaces. The surfaces of the walls must be able to breathe. Furniture should, therefore, never lie directly against the wall. This is especially true for exterior walls. Always leave a few centimeters of space between the wall and the piece of furniture so that no moisture collects here! The radiators must be exposed and should not be covered with towels, flower pots, or other objects.
Particularly important in winter: the walls must not get too cold. Otherwise, water vapor will regularly condense on them. The temperature in living rooms should, therefore, not fall below 20 degrees. This must be taken into account when heating and, for example, speaks against continuous ventilation as a safety measure. If there are cooler rooms right next door, keep the doors closed. If these rules are observed, a lot has been done to prevent mold.
Attention must also be paid to the wall covering. Wallpapers with gummed adhesive surfaces are difficult to let moisture out of the walls. This can end badly if, for example, water trickles into the wall from a defective pipe. Here the wallpaper acts as a dam, and the damage only becomes visible when the wallpaper is lifted from the wall by the mold growing underneath. When painting over, the following principle also applies: lacquer paints are only suitable as wall painting for lovers of the moist biotope. If despite all measures, there are places where mold cannot be avoided, a coat of lime paint can be helpful.
Avoiding mold means changing habits.
To avoid mold, the above principles must somehow be reconciled with your own everyday life. Leaving the house without ventilating after a shower is not an option. So plan a little more time! In principle, everything must always be done to avoid excessively humid room air. This also includes, for example, not drying freshly washed clothes inside living spaces.
However, if you take all the tips in this article to heart, you should lead a relatively mold-free life. Correct ventilation alone can make a big difference and requires comparatively little effort. It is better to ventilate briefly three times a day than to tear open the wall at some point to dry out mold nests. Last but not least, preventing mold also means living healthy!