Mould And Mildew

Mildew could cost you many happy customers, and this is the last thing an accommodation establishment wants.

Mildew in showers and bathrooms

Mildew is found on many different surfaces. It is a thin, black, or sometimes white, growth produced by mould. Moulds are simple plants belonging to the group known as fungi. Moulds are always present in the air, those that cause mildew need moisture and certain temperatures to grow.

They normally grow in humid conditions and where the air does not circulate enough, especially in closed and moist places such as cupboards that aren't aired frequently and especially shower cubicles.

As the moulds grow, they can cause serious damage. They leave a musty odour and discolour items and paint.

Preventing mildew

Keep things and places as clean as possible — any place where mildew is likely to grow. Showers, damp clothing and towels are a good place for mould to feed and grow. Greasy films, such as on kitchen walls, also contain many nutrients for mildew-causing moulds.

Get rid of dampness

Moisture condensation from humid air onto cooler surfaces causes dampness. Excessive moisture can indicate that repairs, additional insulation or some type of waterproofing may be needed. Make sure outside drainage is adequate and clear of any obstructions.

Good ventilation is very important. In extreme cases, an extractor fan may be needed to remove the humid air.
If a tumble dryer is equipped with a vent, have it exhausted to the outside to remove moist air.

Properly installed air-conditioning systems remove the moisture from the air. When using air-conditioners on hot days, keep windows and doors closed.

Circulating the air works well to remove moisture. When the air outside is drier than inside, ventilation allows dry air to enter, thus removing moisture. When there isn’t enough natural breeze, you can use a ceiling fan or even just a portable one. Also make sure that the windowsare open for good circulation.

Poorly ventilated cupboards get damp and musty during continued wet weather.  Try to air them by opening the closet doors or installing a fan.  Allow enough space around items stored in closets for the air to circulate.  Never store damp or wet articles.

Wet shower curtains left bunched up or sticking to the wall or bathtub will most likely cause mildew. Always close the curtain to minimise folds.

Musty odours

Musty odours, which indicate mould growth, are sometimes noticeable in showers. Take special precautions to get rid of musty odours as soon as possible, so as to prevent further mould growth. If the area is well ventilated and dry, usually musty odours disappear. If the odours remain, you may want to try one of the following treatments.

Non-porous surfaces

Bleach will kill mould and spores on non-porous surfaces, such as counter-tops, bathtubs and tiles.

Scrub tiled walls and floors in bathrooms with a diluted solution of sodium hypochlorite or other chlorine bleach from your local grocery store. Use 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid household bleach to 4 litres of water. Use in a spray bottle for easy application.  Rinse with clear water and wipe as dry as possible. Keep windows open until walls and floors are thoroughly dry. Work quickly and carefully on plastic and painted surfaces to avoid marks the surface.

Sprays for cleaning and sanitizing bathroom walls are also available from your local grocery store.  Spray on and leave for a few minutes, then rinse with clean water.

Bleach can kill all types of mould, including the spores, and sanitize the area.  Regular cleaning with bleach will also make an area resistant to mould growth.

Porous surfaces

Even though bleach does kill mould and spores on non-porous surfaces, the dead mould remains. Bleach only kills mould, it doesn’t remove it. So, even after using bleach, the area should be scrubbed to remove the dead spores. To clean the area:
Mix 1 cup of borax per 4 litres of water and scrub surface, this will loosen the dead spores.

A Bleach-Free Alternative

Another solution you may want to try is a vinegar solution.

  • Fill a spray bottle with 2 cups warm water and 2 cups household vinegar. The vinegar is a natural disinfectant that will kill the mould and any odour or bacteria.
  • Spray the mouldy and mildewed area heavily. Leave for two hours, and then apply another coat of vinegar solution.
  • Wet a nylon scrubbing brush with the vinegar solution and scrub over the mould and mildew. Use a toothbrush to get into cracks and grout lines.
  • Thoroughly rinse with hot water.

Tips & Warnings

Wear a pair of gloves and a mask when cleaning the mould.