Many Irish households are feeling the effects of the current cost of living crisis and are trying to save money by any means necessary.
With energy costs skyrocketing, some people have been air-drying their clothes instead of using the dryer.
The changeable Irish climate, however, means that it’s not always possible to use clotheslines outdoors, leaving the only alternative is to dry your clothes inside.
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However, this has its drawbacks and can cause mold, which can affect the health of humans and pets, as well as causing expensive-to-repair damage to walls, ceilings, window frames, and other areas.
Air quality experts spoke to our sister site Hull Live and gave their tips on how mold forms and what you can do to combat it.
Mold in buildings is usually due to lack of ventilation and humidity. Fungal spores commonly float naturally in indoor and outdoor air and are inhaled, and are not usually a problem for most adults, although they can be dangerous for children and infants, as well as people with respiratory problems or weak immune systems.
But when fungal spores settle on moist surfaces, they turn into mold. This can cause allergies, chronic colds, skin irritation, and aggravate asthma and eczema.
The best way to stop mold from forming in the first place is to combat damp conditions in a home, in the simplest case, by opening doors and windows. Exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens also help remove steam generated from showers or cooking, while dehumidifiers used sparingly can also help minimize the impact.
Jenny Turner, property manager for Insulation Express, warned that when wet clothes are dried in the house, moisture from the clean clothes evaporates and settles on ceilings and walls, making existing mold problems worse.
He added: “To minimize the risk of mold growing when drying wet clothes at home, always keep a window open in the room to allow excess moisture in the air to escape. As mold and mildew can quickly build up in walls and ceilings, Another way to prevent this from happening when you skip the dryer is to opt for a dehumidifier. A medium-sized residential humidifier can effectively remove moisture from the air in your home and collect up to 7 liters of water a day in a day. Humid climate .”
Electric dehumidifiers suck in air, extract excess moisture that collects in a water tank, and then release the air into the atmosphere. While it may seem a bit counterintuitive to buy and run an electrical device to improve air quality and save money on drying, in the long run it offers savings on the need to fight mold.
The Duux Bora smart dehumidifier is controlled by an app and can contain up to 20 liters of moisture. It has a night mode and automatic timeout, costs 13.2 pence (15 cents) per hour to run, and is currently 25% off on Amazon.
But if you prefer to use lower technology, there are simpler and cheaper options, although less durable. Dehumidifying pots are available at home goods stores like Woodies and Lenehans, as well as supermarkets like SuperValu and Tesco, and even discounters like Dealz, who sell one for just €1.50.
Jenny added: “For a dehumidifying effect without the use of electricity, try a combination of open windows and plastic window dehumidifying pots that can trap and collect moisture in the air. These inexpensive plastic pots can help eliminate the risk of condensation on windows that can occur when drying wet clothes indoors, adding to the humid atmosphere. Another cheap trick to draw moisture away from walls and windows is to place bowls of rock salt on the windowsill when drying clothes, as this will help absorb excess moisture in the air.”
If you already have mold, Mrs Hinch’s Facebook devotees recommend HG Mold Spray as the best way to combat it. It usually costs £4.99 (€5.90) per bottle, but is currently available for 25% off on Amazon with subscription and saver orders. It has an average of 4.6 stars out of five out of 23,686 positive reviews.
Francesca Brady, CEO and co-founder of AirRated, warns that people discovering mold in their homes are part of a larger debate about buildings. She said: “It’s important that this is covered in the media, everyone needs a basic level of understanding of what kind of environments are unhealthy spaces for us to live and work in. That said, there is a much bigger issue around building stock that’s not fit for purpose, where it will take more than changing behaviors to improve these environments.”
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