To hope I can stop the spread of the dreaded mould

(77 Posts)
puzzledbyadream Sun 06-Mar-16 18:58:40

Arghh so I decided that as i'd just come back from the launderette with a load of tumble dried washing that I'd do a touch of konmari-ing on my chest of drawers. Knickers went great, so did socks and tights. Then I pulled out all my t shirts and leggings and seemingly at random lots of them seemed to be covered in this funny brown mould and felt damp. Cue having to throw away some perfectly nice t shirts.

Now I think I know why this has happened. I live in a titchy flat and my landlord has only provided me with one "electric fire" in the living room to heat the living room, bathroom and bedroom. I have my own oil filled radiators that I used instead of this, but obviously this is not central heating. So my flat is quite cold and I have been loathe to open windows. So yes, the steam from my shower is probably the culprit here. I have been trying to open windows a lot, lot more recently but it's such a difficult balancing act between airing out the flat and keeping the heat in. Quite often I don't even use any heating in the bedroom and just sleep under a duvet and two blankets.

I have a favourite top which has been ruined and that I have put through the washing machine to no avail. Is there any way I can get the brown mould out? Also is opening windows really the answer to this? Feeling very frustrated right now!

charlestonchaplin Sun 06-Mar-16 19:07:23

Can you afford to run a dehumidifier? There are some that use less energy (e.g. Meaco platinum) but I can't give you any idea of how much they cost to run.

MrsRogerSterling Sun 06-Mar-16 19:07:43

This is great at absorbing extra moisture from the air if you don't want to splash out on a dehumidifier. Also yes try to open your windows daily.

IdaJones Sun 06-Mar-16 19:11:16

Poundland had some moisture absorbers like the one Mrs Roger Sterling posted above. They are a different brand and i don't if they are as good as those ones but i bought a few to dot around. Obv they won't be as effective as the electric dehumidifiers.

charlestonchaplin Sun 06-Mar-16 19:15:49

I have to say, MrsRoger, that I didn't find those very good at keeping condensation from developing on single glazed windows. They may work well enough to avoid mould developing on clothes, but then again, they also didn't do a very good job of stopping mould in my conservatory which is temporarily without heating. I'd say, try them to start off with, especially if your room sizes are small, but consider a dehumidifier if they don't work.

akindofmagic Sun 06-Mar-16 19:19:48

Our house isn't cold but the ventilation is poor. We have an electric dehumidifier which doesn't cost that much to run (and better than mould and ruined clothes). I've also put moisture absorbers (refillable ones, £5 from the range) in the wardrobes. What colour is the top? Sometimes a Milton solution will remove mould stains but it can bleach certain fabrics.

Lurkedforever1 Sun 06-Mar-16 19:20:12

It's a ventilation problem. Can you leave bathroom window open and the door closed to keep the heat in the rest of the flat as the shower is the main culprit?

Believeitornot Sun 06-Mar-16 19:22:05

Open the bathroom window after a shower!! Or insist the landlord gets an extractor fan.

tacal Sun 06-Mar-16 19:33:39

When I lived in a flat with similar problem a good dehumidifier resolved the problem.

Junosmum Sun 06-Mar-16 19:57:56

You need to properly air the flat- that means opening all windows AND put your heating on - the oil radiators, fire and any heaters you can borrow. Mould is not only a damp issue but a cold issue.

Doing the above will remove the need for a dehumidifier, as it does the same job- drying out, removing the damp air and replacing it with fresh air.

flumpybear Sun 06-Mar-16 20:18:07

Ventilation problem. Do you have wet Windows in th morning? You can buy window Hoover things to get rid of the water, regularly ventilate through the day and use those dehumidifier machines or throw away/refill things but you'll need a few

SaucyJack Sun 06-Mar-16 20:41:04

Unless you are absolutely on the bones of your arse, then buy a dehumidifier.

Life is too goddamn short to sit in a damp, cold flat with the windows open in winter.

Ours also pumps the air out warmer than it goes in, so it works as very low level heating too.

SonjasSister Sun 06-Mar-16 20:57:39

Definitely yes to shutting the bathroom door during and after, and open the window. Also, always use lids on pans when cooking. Don't dry laundry indoors - or if you have to, do so in bathroom with door shut and window open. And worth spending that bit extra on the tumble drier. Does your launderette have an iron? - that's how our grandmothers made sure stuff was put away 100% dry. Ironing at home is probably better than not ironing laundry if in doubt, as easier to vent the moisture from the room here you've ironed in, than the drawers, IYSWIM

Your landlord really should fit an extract fan - recommend a continuous extract as they actually move more air than the intermittent sort over 24 hours, but are a lot, lot quieter. Is there any mould on the walls? - if so, they will be saving themselves money for redecoration in the long run. I hope you can persuade them to do this?

Failing that, is it safe to leave windows open a crack when you are out? One each side if you have more than one side?

If your flat is really damp because landlord has not provided proper heating and ventilation (and that should not mean freezing to death with the windows wide open) and l'lord still won't fix it, then the environmental health dept of you council may be able to help by writing to them requesting ventilation is fitted. Or they might advise you how to ask?

Good luck, and sorry this has happened to your stuff, its not nice is it.

InWithTheOutlaws Sun 06-Mar-16 21:00:39

Dehumidifier (we have a Meaco) has changed my life! This whole house feels different. I can't rate it enough.

NaiceVillageOfTheDammed Sun 06-Mar-16 22:00:46

Try not to dry washing in the house. If you have to, get a spin dryer.

Spin dryers are amazing. They work much, much better than the spin cycle of a washing machine.

1. Open windows - helps to get rid of moisture and improves air quality in house. Open first thing in morning then you won't waste heated air later in day.
2. Wipe windows/ledges down if you have build up of condensation. Open kitchen window whilst cooking on hob and keep lids on pans.
3. Spin dryer.
4. De-humidifier.
5. Heating.

puzzledbyadream Sun 06-Mar-16 22:02:11

I unfortunately can't afford a dehumidifier as on minimum wage but I might ask to borrow one! Currently got the washing that can't go in the tumble dryer on the airier in the bathroom with the window open which is making going to the loo quite a challenge.

Thanks for all the suggestions! Will try out the damp removing thingies and I do have my own iron!

travailtotravel Sun 06-Mar-16 22:15:25

I leave a window open a tiny crack the whole time. We do have a dehumidifiers too. Goes on when we hang up the washing but should prob go on every day.

Can you see if and FB selling threads or freecycle has one?

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 06-Mar-16 22:24:47

Check out ebay, freecycle, local freeadd type places. I've picked up several good dehumidifiers from £10 - £20. They're cheap to run and far cheaper than replacing clothes.

If you can stand your furniture a few inches off external walls that can help with air circulation too.

If your mouldy clothes are plain then dilute milton/ cheap steralising solution can work well ideally combined with sunshine then rinsed out. It is a bleach though so can make things paler.

NameChangeEr Sun 06-Mar-16 22:50:23

Windows open every day, then put heating on and wipe the condensation every morning religiously from the windows as soon as you get up. Dehumidifiers are wonderful.
Even if you don't have one and have a cheap air fan, aim it behind furniture on outside walls to push the air around and try and dry out the fabric of the flat.

puzzledbyadream Sun 06-Mar-16 23:45:42

I have messaged a man about a dehumidifier on gumtree! £15, it's a mini one but it sounds decent.

Thanks for the tips re the clothes, I may rescue my plain pink top out of the bag. My favourite top is a printed t shirt but it is only mouldy on the back so Milton may work for it too. All windows will be open tomorrow and i'll stick a few pounds in the meter so I can out the heating on (I have a pound coin meter. It's like living in the 70s!

Esspee Mon 07-Mar-16 07:37:22

I would be looking for alternative accommodation if I was you. Remember heat alone is not the answer. Hot air holds more moisture. You have got to ventilate every chance you get. Good luck.

Oysterbabe Mon 07-Mar-16 07:41:38

I would definitely move.

diploddycus Mon 07-Mar-16 07:43:25

I had a dehumidifier from Aldi that was £30. It wasn't as good as the £££ one I have now but it was good for the price. Maybe keep an eye on Aldi/Lidl.

salsamad Mon 07-Mar-16 08:13:59

As others have said use a dehumidifier regularly during the day/evening.. Always shower or bath with the bathroom door shut and window slightly open, then open window fully when finished in shower and squeegee/wipe down shower walls to remove moisture - leave bathroom door shut/window open until bathroom clear of moisture.
Make sure all washing is fully dry before putting away in drawers/cupboards.
Pull drawers/cupboards wardrobes away from walls and check behind them for mould growth - clean the backs of them with Milton solution or similar. If you can refigure your room so any affected furniture sits against inside walls rather than outside walls, if you can't do this make sure the furniture is a good few inches away from the wall.
Wipe all windows clear of any condensation every morning and open windows to air all rooms thoroughly. We never had any issues with mould in our house until we had cavity wall insulation fitted, it has caused us so many problems. We have brought specialist mould cleaning additives and added them to emulsion paint too prevent mould spores appearing on walls/ceilings.

ohtheholidays Mon 07-Mar-16 08:24:14

We have the poundshop dehumidifier's and they work really really well!
Honestly you wouldn't believe how much water they collect.

Our house is awful for damp,we have had to treat it loads of time's over the years.But with those dehumidifier's we don't have to do it anywhere near as much.I wish they'd sold them years ago.

With your property being a private rent I'd also have a word with the landlord as it would be in his best interest to get some decent heating in to lower the chance of damp otherwise he could end up with the damp doing permanent damage.

Is there an extractor fan in the bathroom?If not he needs to put one in if he can.If you have a window in your bathroom make sure you have the window open a little bit whilst your showering/having a bath and leave the window open slightly for about 20 minutes afterwards as well.

With any non fixed furniture such as a wardrobe,chest of drawers ect make sure your leaving a couple of inches if you can between the furniture and the walls as this helps air circulate and should help stop any more of your clothes being destroyed by damp.

Try to air every single room in your flat every day for at least 20 minutes.
Also if your on the top floor(so directly under the roof)it would be worth looking if you can from outside(if your not to high up)or going into the attic(if you have access)just to see if there are any loose tiles on the roof or if you can get into the attic you should be able to see if there are any leaks coming in from the roof and you should be able to check that the attic is insulated.
I know that should be the landlords job but we've private rented in the past and our landlord was about as much use as a chocolate Teapot.
If yours is a decent landlord then ask him to check those things out.

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