Even if molds are completely natural and not in principle harmful – they should not multiply excessively in the dwelling nevertheless. Keyword: mould. We will tell you how mould infestation develops, how you can remove mould and how you can reduce the risk of mould growth in your home.
Due to the high humidity, mould occurs more frequently in the bathroom.
Mould in the home is one of the most unpleasant scenarios a tenant can imagine. Not only does it look extremely unattractive, but in the worst case it can even damage your health and lead to breathing difficulties or even asthma. But please don’t panic right now – with the right measures you can get rid of mould. We’ll explain what they are.
Mould – how it develops
First of all, moulds are completely natural and can therefore be found everywhere: in the ground, in the air, indoors. As a natural component, they ensure, among other things, that organic material is decomposed. It only becomes really unpleasant when they encounter moisture, which ensures that the spores begin to grow. The result: mould. The reasons for the moisture can be very different in nature. Such as, for example:
- Penetrating moisture over roof or walls
- Insufficient thermal insulation of the exterior walls
- increased wetness due to pipe breakage or other water damage
- Lack of ventilation or heating
A typical hazard zone for mould: so-called thermal bridges. In order to keep energy costs as low as possible for tenants and homeowners, modern insulation is indispensable nowadays. At the same time, however, it also harbours dangers – especially if it has weak points. The possible consequence: thermal bridges. Thermal bridges usually occur where heat escapes more quickly than in other places in an apartment or house. Windows and window frames, in particular, can prove to be a weak point. If the inside temperature sinks at said places, humidity can form, which provides for the fact that construction units are durchlaucht and in the worst case so damages at the building fabric – or even mould – develop.
Removing mould in the home
You have mould in your apartment? Then it’s time to keep calm and see how and where the mould infestation occurs. On materials such as glass, metal, paint or plastic, mould can simply be wiped off with a damp cloth and that’s it. The situation with ceilings and walls is not quite as simple, but can also be solved. If it is only about a very small area (less than half a square meter), you can try to work on it yourself. A classic and effective household remedy is 70 to 80 percent alcohol in the form of methylated spirits: Dilute it in a ratio of 3:1 with water, then apply it to the affected area, let it dry and paint it again with a brush. Alternatively, you can also use a three-percent hydrogen peroxide solution. Those who do not trust the household remedies will find various mould sprays in drugstores. In 2014, Stiftung Warentest investigated various products and found “FLT Mould Remover” and “MEM Mould Remover” to be good for mould control.
Removing mould in the bathroom
Who doesn’t know it: the once radiant white silicone joints in the bathroom or shower are now much more yellow and on top of it a dark, almost black film of mould has formed. What to do? Here, too, the solution is hydrogen peroxide. Not only does the combination of water and oxygen kill the fungi, it also has a bleaching effect. Then clean joints and surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner or scouring milk and then apply the hydrogen peroxide solution again. In the case of particularly serious infestation, it is possible that the mould film will return after some time. If this applies to you, the only thing that will probably help is to scrape out the old silicone and reseal the joints; an extremely time-consuming and not exactly easy undertaking. People with little manual skill should therefore get help from professionals, because improper action could only aggravate the problems in the bathroom.
Also very important: When eliminating mould, make sure that you protect yourself sufficiently. Work gloves, breathing mask with fine dust filter (P2, against fine dust, solid and liquid particles) and safety glasses as well as wide open windows are considered advisable. You can find even more tips for protective measures to eliminate mould at the Federal Environment Agency.
Remove large areas of mould from walls or ceilings
Mildew is never pretty. However, it often only becomes really critical when the affected area is larger than half a square metre. Without professional help from a specialist company, nothing is possible – and there are two reasons for this: A) For damage of this magnitude, proper investigation of the cause is essential. B) Can only professionals ensure proper removal and remediation and thus bring the damage under control? So off to the specialist!
How you can prevent mildew
Mould always develops where there is a lot of moisture. This can be caused, for example, by cold interiors, but also by heavy water consumption such as in the bathroom or kitchen. The possible consequence: increased air humidity. As a rule of thumb, above 60+ percent humidity there is an increased risk of mold growth. Airing several times a day, or even better: shock ventilation, provides good indoor air, a hygrometer, i.e. a measuring device for determining humidity, can help not to exceed the specified limit value. At the same time, sufficient heating is essential. Make sure that the temperatures in the apartment do not fall below 16 degrees, ideal values are between 18 and 21 degrees.
Mould – Reason for a rent reduction?
The answer to this question is not easy. In principle, mold in the apartment can be a reason for a rent reduction. However, we are quickly moving into a legal grey area here. If defective ventilation on the part of the tenant should have led to the mold infestation, a rent reduction would not be naturally justified. That can be determined again only reliably with the evaluation of an expert. It is always best to inform your landlord about the case and find an amicable solution for both parties. Demanding a rent reduction from your landlord can quickly prove to be a boomerang. The subject is far too complex and opaque for that. If in doubt, seek legal advice in order to avoid the consequences of excessive rent reduction claims.