Keep mold at bay

Mold is a common phenomenon and can be found in many homes. It can, however, be controlled with a few easy measures.


Mold develops due to improper ventilation and not controlling humidity, said Victor DiMarzo, special projects officer with the Directorate of Public Works’ Housing Division. Frequent ventilation is important, and cross ventilation is most effective.


Controlling the humidity is very important, he said. If the house is kept very warm in winter, long showers are taken and the windows stay shut, humidity will build up.


“Anything above 60% of humidity is considered wet,” he said.


In the winter time, the variance of temperature between the inside and the outside causes condensation, DiMarzo said. The moisture should be wiped away.


“If you let that condensation remain, it forms mildew,” he said. “Mildew is an organic substance upon which mold can grow.”


A small amount of mold in the shower caused by a lack of ventilation should not be a great concern, as long as it is removed, he said. People should follow the instructions, the housing office provides.


“You need to remove the mold from the affected surface by scrubbing the area with a stiff brush or sponge and then you would apply a solution of one cup of chlorine bleach to two gallons of warm water. Then, you wipe it with fresh water. With proper ventilation it should be eliminated,” DiMarzo said.


If larger areas are wet or moldy, this measure is not enough.


“Let’s say you notice in the living room the wall is wet,” he said. “That’s a sign that there is some sort of leak.”


In this situation, it would be necessary to call an expert to fix the leak. Then, it’s important to air out the area, he said.


People can buy devices and hygrometers that measure the humidity. There are even mold alarms, DiMarzo said. These devices help to keep humidity and mold at bay.