Lots of homes in the UK can suffer from condensation, damp and mould, especially in the winter. Daily tasks such as cooking, showering and drying clothes release moisture into the air, which can lead to condensation and black mould growth.

On this page you can find information on how to deal with condensation and mould, and what causes it.

If your home has mould

If you find black mould in your home, first try buying a domestic mould and mildew remover from your local supermarket and cleaning the affected areas by carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you have extreme black mould or the initial treatment doesn’t work, get in contact with a professional black mould removal service.

Preventing mould

Maintain proper ventilation

  • use extractor fans and trickle vents in your windows. These don’t lose much heat so keep them uncovered
  • open windows for short periods in the morning to release moisture from your home
  • allow soft furnishings, such as sofas, room to breathe by pulling them away from the wall and not overfilling you wardrobe
  • if you’re drying clothes indoors, make sure there are open windows to allow moisture to escape

Heat your home

  • condensation is less likely to form if the temperature of your home is above 15oC
  • however, it’s recommended that rooms are kept at between 18-21oC to keep you warm and healthy
  • don’t turn thermostatic radiator valves off, always keep them on a minimum frost setting.
  • if you’re struggling to afford your heating, help is available. Visit the Switched On Portsmouth website for energy saving advice or call our Freephone number 0800 260 5907 to receive free energy and financial advice, as well as onward referrals into larger schemes

Keep moisture level down

  • Dry clothes outside or in a vented tumble dryer where possible
  • Take shorter showers
  • Add cold water first when running a bath – this reduces steam by up to 90%
  • Keep a lid on pots and pans when cooking
  • Wipe windows daily with a squeegee

Most daily tasks will release moisture into the air

ActivityLitres of water vapour
Breathing - active adult0.85 per day
Breathing - sleeping adult0.3 per day
Cookingup to 3 per day
Washing clothes0.5 per load
Drying clothes5 per load
Washing dishesup to 1 per day
Showers and baths1.5 per person
Unflued gas heaterup to 1 per hour

Keep hotspots clean

Kitchens and bathrooms are hotspots for condensation and therefore, mould as well. Keep on top of your cleaning routine to prevent the build-up of black mould from regular moisture in these rooms.

What is condensation?

Condensation is caused by moist air coming into contact with cold surfaces such as walls, windows and mirrors. It can also build up in places where there is little air movement, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards. Condensation can cause dampness and mould within your home which can create a distinctive musty smell.

What is damp?

There are two types of damp that can lead to the growth of black mould within a home. Rising damp is caused by ground water moving up through the wall or floor. Penetrating damp is caused by leaking water. This is usually caused by a structural problem in the building such as faulty guttering, or it can be caused by internal leaks, like pipes under the sink. This type of damp may expand across walls or a ceiling horizontally.

What is black mould?

Black mould is caused by a build-up of damp or condensation. Left untreated this can spread from walls on to furniture, curtains, and clothing. Black mould produces allergens, irritants, and sometimes toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes, and a skin rash.

Mould toxicity can lead to physical health impacts such as

  • fatigue
  • weak immune systems
  • loss of cognitive function and headaches
  • upper respiratory tract infections

Or mental health impacts such as

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • insomnia