Updated: Nov 20
I've written extensively on how to tackle condensation because it can be so damaging to homes and is prolific at this time of year.
What is condensation?
Condensation is water previously held in the air as vapour that has changed back into liquid form (condensed) after the moist air has hit a cold surface. As air temperature decreases, so does the volume of moisture it can hold. The exact surface temperature to cause this effect is known as the ‘dew point’ or condensation point.
Why should you prevent condensation?
Left untreated, condensation can turn into mould, which can be hugely problematic for the property and the people who live there. So when some helpful tips on how to prevent mould from growing in your bathroom and info about how to remove it if it does landed in my inbox from the cleaning experts at Drench, I thought I'd share it with you lovely readers in case it's useful. After all, the less time you spend tackling condensation and mould, the more time can be spent on the important things at this time of year like seasonal styling, planning the perfect festive tablescape, making DIY Christmas decorations on a budget and working out how to refresh a tired sofa for your impending Christmas guests!
We've all been there, you're in the bathroom minding your own business cleaning your teeth, or having a shower and you look up and notice those dreaded black spots appearing in the corner of the ceiling or along the edge of the bath. Here's what the experts at Drench have to say...
"Factors such as wet and humid weather conditions, lack of proper home heating, your shower and bath, smoking and even your own breath can contribute to a build-up of moisture that results in damp and humid conditions. Bathrooms are particularly at risk of dampness as moisture builds up faster than it can leave. The fungus that develops as a result can be unpleasant to look at whilst also being harmful to your health. Regardless of whether you or your family have allergies, mould can cause you to develop allergic reactions, asthma, eczema and other lung conditions just by being exposed to mould."
Okay, so we know it's undesirable and potentially dangerous, but how do we prevent mould from appearing in the bathroom?
How to prevent mould in the bathroom
1. Leave the window open
According to Drench, "the places you’re most likely to find bathroom mould growth are window ledges, bath edges, tile grout, ceiling corners, outward-facing walls, shower enclosures and directly above a bath or shower."
Their first piece of advice is to open a window, "One of the easiest and cheapest ways of helping moisture leave your bathroom is by opening a window. This is especially beneficial for the cold winter months as opening the windows if it’s cold outside (rather than humid) can help remove the heat out of your bathroom. It’s recommended to open the windows at least once a day to see the full benefits."
As we saw in previous posts, keeping at least a low level of heating is essential to prevent condensation and mould as it keeps the dew point higher.
2. Wipe down surfaces
The Drench experts advise that "Another effective way to prevent mould and dampness is to clear water from tiling inside the shower. When you’re having a shower, water accumulates on the tiles and in the grout which is where a build up of mould is likely to develop. Use a cloth where possible, especially in areas that get a lot of water residue. By following this method, it could eliminate up to 75% of moisture that will lead to mould." This is a top tip and to speed things up you can invest in a super cheap squeegee to dry the tiles and then mop up the water you've collected with a towel.
I always recommend using an extractor in the bathroom as they make a huge difference. it's best to leave them on for 30-60 minutes after you've had a shower or bath to remove the steam.
The Drench experts recommend using "an extractor fan with a minimum extraction rate of 54m3 per hour to help prevent airborne pollutants such as odours and stale air, the effects of dampness to your property and other potential hazards such as electrical dangers."
I shared an Instagram post last year about which plants to have in the bathroom to actively reduce condensation, as they are known to be a big help. The Drench experts agreed saying, "As well as adding a bit of decoration and colour to a room, green plants can help improve the environment. English ivy, peace lilies, palms, orchids and snake plants are all mould-busting plant and help suck moisture out from the air, which will prevent mould build ups."
Plants alone will not solve your condensation issues, but they are one tool in your armoury and work well in combination with the other measures.
I'm adding this one to the list because, in our house, it has been the biggest help and has made a huge difference to the air moisture levels all around our house, but especially in the bathroom. I put the portable dehumidifier in the bathroom after someone has had a bath or shower and leave it in there for about an hour. It completely dries the room, removes all the condensation and it always feels warmer afterwards, too, hence why it's on my list of ways to stay warm in winter without the heating on. Here's the detailed post I wrote about how to use a dehumidifier to stop window condensation.
What if you already have mould?
If you already have mould then you'll need to zap it first, then start taking all the preventative measures we looked at above. Did you know that vinegar is an eco-friendly harsh-chemical-free method of dealing with mould? Usually, you'd dilute it with water and spray onto the affected area before wiping with a cloth after about 30 minutes. If the mould is really bad or is embedded in the grout or sealant then you can apply neat vinegar for extra cleaning power.
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