With energy prices soaring and everyone looking to save money, more people than ever are turning down their heat and ditching their dryers. But as the weather in the UK is changeable at best, having to dry your laundry in your home could expose you to mold, which can affect both human and pet health and cause costly damage. repairs to walls, ceilings, window sills and the like. areas.
We asked several air quality experts for their advice on mold growth and what you can do to combat it. Mold in buildings is usually caused by a lack of ventilation and humidity. Fungal spores usually float naturally in indoor and outdoor air and are inhaled, and usually for most adults this is not a problem, although it can be dangerous for children and babies as well as people having breathing problems or a weakened immune system.
But when fungal spores land on damp surfaces, they turn into mold. It can cause allergies, chronic colds, skin irritations and aggravate asthma and eczema.
The best way to prevent mold from forming is to combat damp conditions in a home in the first place, in the simplest case by opening doors and windows. Extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens also help cancel steam generated from showers or cooking, while dehumidifiers used sparingly can also help minimize the impact.
Jenny Turner, Property Manager at Express Insulation warned that when drying wet clothes in the home, moisture from clean laundry evaporates and settles on ceilings and walls, compounding existing mold problems.
She added: “To minimize the risk of mold growth when drying wet clothes at home, always keep a window open in the room to allow excess moisture in the air to escape.
“Since mold can quickly build up on walls and ceilings, another way to prevent this from happening when you skip the dryer is to opt for a dehumidifier. A mid-sized residential humidifier can eliminate efficiently the humidity of the air in your home. and collect up to 7 liters of water in a day in a humid environment.”
Electric dehumidifiers draw in air, extract the excess moisture which is collected in a reservoir of water, and then exhaust the air to the atmosphere. While it might seem a bit counterintuitive to buy and run an electrical device to improve air quality and save money on drying, in the longer term it saves on the need to control mold.
The Duux Bora smart dehumidifier is app-controlled and holds up to 20 liters of humidity. It has a night mode and auto timeout, costs 13.2p per hour to run and is currently 25% off on Amazon.
But if you prefer inferior technology, there are simpler and cheaper options, although less durable. Dehumidifier jars are available from supermarkets and retailers like B&M and Rangewho sells one for just 79p.
Alternatively, you can purchase a five-pack on Amazon for £7.49although usually these type of pots only absorb three times their weight in water, so if you have to regularly dry clothes indoors with the windows closed, you will have to replace them regularly.
Jenny added: “For a dehumidifying effect without using electricity, try a combination of open windows and plastic window dehumidifier pots which can trap and collect moisture in the air.
“These inexpensive plastic pots can help eliminate the risk of condensation on windows that can occur when drying wet clothes indoors, adding to the humid atmosphere. Another inexpensive trick to wick moisture away from walls and windows is to place bowls of rock salt on the windowsill when drying clothes, as this will help absorb excess moisture in the air.”
If you already have mold, Ms. Hinch’s Facebook devotees recommend HG Anti-Mildew Spray as the best way to attack what exists. It’s usually £4.99 a bottle, but is available at 25% off on Amazon currently with subscribe and save orders. It has an average of 4.6 out of five stars from 23,686 positive reviews.
Francesca Brady, CEO and co-founder of AirRated warns that people discovering mold in their homes are part of a larger debate about buildings. She said: “It’s important that this gets covered in the media, everyone needs a basic level of understanding of the types of environments that are unhealthy spaces for us to live and work in.
“That being said, there’s a much bigger issue around housing stock that’s not fit for purpose, where it’s going to take more than changing behaviors to improve those metrics.”