|Definitely a case for a professional to clean up!|
Prevention of damp is better than cleaning up afterwards particularly where mould is concerned as it is known to have a detrimental effect on human health, children and adults and particularly those with asthma and severe asthma. The reason for this is suspected to be partly due to increased amounts of allergens in the air that occupants of the house breathe in and there is accumulating evidence that fungi may start to establish themselves in the lungs and sinuses of some occupants causing asthma to become more severe (SAFS), causing sinusitus and sensitising occupants to allergies.
The World Health Organisation have released guidelines for the domestic user to help reduce damp and have released an extensive multifaceted report on dampness, moulds and its effect on human health entitled WHO guidelines for indoor air quality : dampness and mould.
Sufficient information has been gathered and we can conclude that dampness in the home is BAD for human health! We cannot yet pin down specific culprits with much confidence but there is a lengthy list of possible hazards detectable in a damp home and moulds are prominent on that list. There is also a strong suggestion that once damp has been eliminated & moulds cleaned up the danger to health is reduced - so the way forward is clear - dry out and remove moulds.
The first steps of any householder or landlord who has found damp or moulds in a home must be to find and eliminate the cause of damp - a process that may involve professional help to stop leaks or water penetration (in the UK competent professionals can be located via ISSE) as unless this happens no amount of cleaning will prevent further microbial growth.
Once stopped and dried out the next step is to remove microbial growth. If the growth is extensive or porous materials such as plasterboard have become infected then professional help may well be needed to remove mouldy parts of the building. Importantly if there is a person in the house who is sensitive to fungi, allergic, asthmatic or has an immune system that is not fully functioning (e.g. diabetic, immunodeficient, undergoing treatment for some cancers, very young or old) then they should not attempt to clean moulds or other microbes from their homes without medical advice.
If the growth is limited in size (i.e. less than 1square metre) it can be possible for the householder to effectively clean the mouldy areas and the disinfectants often used are based on sodium hypochlorite (commonly referred to as bleach). We have written a set of guidelines for the effective use of bleach as there are pitfalls to avoid - besides being an excellent disinfectant bleach is a caustic substance and has to be handled with care for best results.
Cleaning a domestic property that has become mouldy