Keep your home free from damp and mould

There are different types of dampness that might affect your home. The biggest cause of damp and mould growth in the home is condensation.

This information will help you:

  • identify condensation
  • to help treat and prevent mould growth

The Environmental Health team has a duty to investigate houses which are in poor condition and take action where necessary. If you live in a rented house or flat, see how to report a problem with your housing conditions.

Types of dampness

There are 4 types of dampness that can affect your home.

You need to know what type of damp you have so that you can take the right steps to deal with it.

Common daily activities that produce moisture

Our daily activities add moisture to the air in our homes, in fact even breathing adds moisture to the air. The chart below gives some examples.

Activity Pints of moisture released into the air
a bath or shower 2
washing the dishes 2
2 people in the home for 16 hours 3
using a bottled gas heater for 8 hours 4
cooking and using a kettle 6
drying clothes indoors 9

Reduce condensation and black mould growth

1. Produce less moisture

There are lots of things you can do to reduce the amount of moisture in your home.

Drying clothing:

  • dry clothes outside if possible
  • if you have to dry clothes inside do it in the bathroom. Open a window slightly or put the extraction fan on while you're drying your clothes, and keep the door between the bathroom and the rest of the house closed
  • vent tumble dryers to the outside or use a condensing type


  • cover pans when cooking and open the kitchen window slightly
  • do not leave kettles boiling


  • do not use paraffin or bottled gas heaters. They produce lots of moisture as well as being expensive to run

2. Remove excess moisture

Wipe the windows and sills in your house every morning with a dry cloth to remove any condensation.

This is particularly important in the:

  • bedroom
  • bathroom
  • kitchen

Just opening a window will not be enough to get rid of the moisture on its own.

3. Ventilate

Ventilation helps reduce condensation by:

  • letting warm moist air escape
  • allowing cooler drier air into the home

You can ventilate your house without making it colder by opening windows slightly or using the trickle vents fitted to new UPVC windows.

To help ventilation:

  • when using the bathroom or kitchen, open a window to allow ventilation and shut the doors between the rest of the house
  • leave a window open for a short time after a bath or shower and after cooking and keep the door closed
  • open the bedroom window for up to an hour when you get up in the morning and throw back duvets to air the bed and bedding
  • keep windowsills clear so that you can wipe them dry easily
  • leave a gap between the wall and any furniture to allow air to circulate
  • consider fitting old chimneys or flues with air vents to allow air to circulate
  • make sure you have enough ventilation to meet requirements for gas appliances in a room

4. Keep your home a little warmer

When the weather is cold the best way to keep rooms warm and reduce condensation is to run your heating at a constant low background level. This is more effective than turning your heating on just when you're at home.

You can control your heating and manage costs by:

  • using timers and thermostats
  • fitting heating controllers on radiators

These organisations provide free advice on managing heating costs:

Energy Saving Trust

This is a non-profit organisation that provides free impartial advice.

It can help you to:

  • save money
  • fight climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from your home

For advice and information:

Tel: 0300 123 1234

Visit: Energy savings trust website.

Better Housing, Better Health

Better Housing, Better Health (previously called the Affordable Warmth Helpline) helps Buckinghamshire residents keep warm and well at home and improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

If you are struggling to heat your home or meet the spiralling cost of domestic fuel bills you can call for free, impartial advice on:

  • national and local government grants
  • loft and cavity wall insulation including the various grants available
  • switching energy suppliers to make sure you are getting the best deal
  • fuel debt
  • who to contact for a benefits assessment
  • home improvement agencies for vulnerable homeowners
  • support organisations in your area
  • energy efficiency to keep bills down

Visit: Better Housing, Better Health website

Call 0800 107 0044

Buckinghamshire Council also offers guidance for saving energy and tackling climate change at home and in other buildings.

5. Insulate your home

Insulating your home helps to keep it warm and to reduce the cost of heating bills.

You can consider:

  • insulating the loft to a depth of 270mm
  • installing secondary glazing or double-glazing to windows
  • improving cavity wall insulation

For advice:

Visit: Better Housing, Better Health website

Call 0800 107 0044

6. Remove black mould

Mould spores are all around us both inside and outside of the home but because they are so small we do not normally see them. The mould spores become noticeable when they start to grow and multiply on surfaces. Mould spores thrive in the damp environment caused by condensation.

Mould growth can appear on walls, ceilings, furniture and even toys and clothes.

To kill or remove the mould:

  • remove as much of the mould as possible with a damp cloth, then throw the cloth away - or use a vacuum cleaner and then empty it
  • wipe affected areas with a fungicidal wash or diluted bleach (use gloves and safety glasses to protect your skin and eyes)
  • use tea tree oil (a natural disinfectant) to soak mildewed items or target trouble spots. Use 3-4 drops in 2 litres of water. Wipe, then rinse off.  Always test a small area of the surface or fabric first before you use it.
  • after treating walls and ceilings redecorate using a fungicidal paint or wallpaper paste - do not use ordinary paint
  • dry clean any mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets

Getting rid of condensation and mould growth is not easy. If you only do one or two of these things it may not solve the problem.

Try to do as many as possible every day so that they become part of your normal daily routine

Contact the environmental health team