Alongside wonky walls and uneven floors, one of the downsides to living in a characterful (listed) building is being on a constant mould removal mission.
After combating the underlying causes of damp in my home – which were high humidity levels and poor ventilation – I invested in three budget-friendly mould removal products to finish off the job. Thankfully, my efforts have been rewarded with palpably cleaner air and no sign of mould on my walls or ceilings.
If you're familiar with the pain of battling mould in your own home, I suggest trying the three steps below.
1. Invest in a quality dehumidifier
My first step in combating mould was to invest in a quality dehumidifier. Having reviewed both a budget vs premium dehumidifier I can safely say that you get what you pay for and it's better to invest in a premium model if your budget can stretch to one.
A mid-range dehumidifier like the 20L ProBreeze from Amazon will only set you back around £199 and it will hopefully save you hundreds of pounds in potential damages to soft furnishings and furniture caused by mould and mildew.
By running my dehumidifier throughout the day, I've noticed a marked difference in air quality and I no longer find myself wiping mould from skirting boards on a weekly basis.
2. Remove surface mould from your walls
The next step in my battle against damp and mildew was to remove surface level mould from my walls. I did this by spraying the affected areas with Ronseal 3-in-1 Mould Killer Spray from ToolStation and leaving it to sit for a while.
Within seconds I could see that the spray was working as it appeared to melt the mould spores away. After waiting for the recommended amount of time stated on the bottle I used a slightly damp cloth to wipe away the residual ingrained mould from the wall in a light circular motion. Thankfully, this seemed to do the job on my first try.
I used Ronseal 3-in1 Mould Killer but there are plenty of other products on the market that are highly reviewed including Dettol Anti-Bacterial Mould and Mildew Remover, Cillit Bang Black Mould Spray, HG Mould Remover Spray and Dryzone Mould Remover Scrub-Free Formula, all available from Amazon.
A word of warning about using shop bought anti-mould sprays: While some of these sprays may smell of citrus fruit, they often contain bleach as an active ingredient. Always ensure you use adequate PPE and have proper ventilation when using them. When in doubt, it doesn't hurt to throw on a dust mask like this Valved Disposable Dust Mask from DIY.com.
Of course, if your mould problems aren't as severe as mine and you're looking for a less abrasive alternative to bleach-based sprays, you can also use warm water and a mild detergent like washing liquid. This technique is handy for removing mould on wallpaper as it's less likely to cause damage to delicate paper.
3. Use an anti-mould paint to stop mould returning
Once my walls had been wiped clean of surface mould my final step was to apply a coat of Ronseal Anti Mould Paint, which is available from Amazon. This product promises to 'resist moisture and steam and stops common mould growing on your walls or ceilings for up to six years'.
Before applying my first coat, I prepared my walls for painting by ensuring that they were clean and 100% dry. It's important to don proper PPE and keep your room well ventilated throughout the painting process, as these products contain antimicrobial agents and it's best not to breathe the fumes in.
Ronseal Anti-Mould paint goes on pretty thin, so expect to use 2 or maybe even 3 coats if you want a completely white finish. It also has an unpleasant and strong odour that's similar to liquid latex, which I saw as a sign that it's good at resisting moisture.
A word of caution about applying anti-mould paint to walls: Your walls need to be 100% dry and free of underlying damp issues before you apply this paint, otherwise it will not dry properly and may peel away within a few hours (see slide 3 above).
Each of the 3 budget-friendly mould removal products listed above have helped me rid my home of mould for the past few months. However, as well as following these steps it's important you tackle any underlying causes of mould and damp as well.
If you are concerned about recurring mould in your home, I suggest you start by taking a humidity reading and reduce your home's humidity levels if they are too high. You may also need to address your home's natural ventilation before coating your walls in anti-mould paint.
If mould is only appearing on external walls then there's a high chance you are experiencing penetrating damp, which is damp caused by water pooling or running down the outside of your property. You will need to address such issues before you can realistically rid your home of mould or mildew from within.
However, if you have already addressed the above then I'm confident that these 3 anti-mould measures will positively impact your home without breaking the bank!
Can you paint over anti-mould paint?
Ronseal advises against painting over Anti-Mould paint, they state: 'Do not paint over your Anti Mould Paint, as this will stop it from working. Anti Mould Paint is extra tough and scrubbable so you can clean your wall without worrying about wearing away the paint'.
However, I did paint over my wall with a Farrow & Ball modern eggshell, to which I added a few drops of Dryzone Anti-Mould Additive from Amazon Prime. While this was difficult to do – because it's essentially like painting matt over silk – after two coats I had achieved the exact shade I desired and I haven't noticed any returning mould. If you are also willing to take this risk, I suggest you keep your dehumidifier running and regularly wipe your walls.
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Gabriella is Homebuilding & Renovating's Assistant Editor. She is a DIY enthusiast and a lover of all things interior design. She’s spent the past decade crafting copy for regional publications, award-winning architects, and leading UK homeware brands.
She has a particular passion for historic buildings and listed properties, and she is currently in the process of renovating a Grade II-listed Victorian coach house in the West Country. At Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine, Gabriella is responsible for curating the magazine's home case studies and regularly contributes to the Homebuilding website.