“Mouldy is great to take to a party. Why? Because he is a fun-guy…”
Mould is a type of fungus that decomposes material. It is an important organism that helps maintain the cycle of life. As well as growing on dead material it can also infect living animals and plants where the conditions are right.
What is mould?
When you see mould it may come in a few different colours. This depends on the nutrient source and how old the mould is. To know exactly what type of mould it is you have to test it. It is not possible to determine the type of mould just by looking at it with the naked eye.
Earth’s ecosystem relies on mould and other fungus to act as the recycle team of nature. They breakdown all the unwanted material to make it bio-available for plants and other organisms. They are found almost everywhere on the planet other than underwater, parts of the North and South poles and sterile environments.
Mould moves and spreads by releasing its spores and mould fragments. They are carried from one nutrient source to another through the air, water or via humans and animals.
What makes moulds grow?
The most important ingredient for mould growth is water! If there is no water available mould cannot grow. As well as this mould needs oxygen and a food source. These could be almost anything from natural materials to man made adhesives and paints.
Mould can grow on the surface of non-organic material such as concrete, metal and glass but only if there is some substrate or material like dirt to act as a nutrient source. Mould likes warm and wet conditions, yet it can use the water found in places with high humidity by taking it from the air. Most common places to find mould is where hot water is used such as bathrooms and kitchens.
The key to reducing or preventing mould growth is to minimise the water available. With no water mould cannot grow!
How Does Mould Spread?
There are two main ways in which mould spreads. One method is via tiny root hairs which extend from a colony, these are called hyphea. The other method is from mould spores. These are tiny seeds which can be carried by the wind or water.
When mould is dry it increases the release of spores. It does this to increase the chance of finding a new location to grow. If you are removing wet mould infected material from your home e.g. an old rag do not attempt to dry it indoors as this will release the mould spores.
What to do if you want to eradicate mould?
You can remove and clean mould from your home with specialised chemicals. These will stop the mould from returning after the visible surface mould has gone. Bleach will not kill mould and will only temporary mediate the problem. You can visit the Mouldy online shop where there is an excellent selection of anti-mould products that will remove and kill mould. There are also information booklets and DVDs that can be bought to help inform tenants on preventing future mould problems. Join Mouldy social media to help spread the word not the fungus.