Mold in my apartment, what should I do?

Mold in housing is a problem that affects 14% to 20% of homes in France according to Anses.

Molds are actually small mushrooms that settle in the walls of your apartment. In addition to being unpleasant to the sight and especially to the smell, these small mushrooms represent a danger for the health of the inhabitants of the housing. The mold pollutes the air in the apartment to the point of causing respiratory problems for the inhabitants.


Mold can enter through openings to the exterior such as windows and doors. The inhabitants of the dwelling can also bring humidity with their clothes and their belongings which transport external humidity.

The concentration of humidity in one place can then reveal mold that takes less than three days to develop. It can settle in the walls and in the floor of an apartment or a house.


Studapart has gathered all the tips for you to avoid mold but also the procedure to follow in the event of the appearance of these small fungi.


What causes mold?


The only cause of mold in an apartment is humidity. If the cause is unique, there are actually many ways to let humidity enter an apartment or a house.


Ventilation fault


The ventilation of the rooms of a housing must be checked regularly in order to avoid a malfunction which can have unpleasant consequences. Indeed, a lack of ventilation can lead to the appearance of mold in an apartment.


This is why it is important to regularly check that the controlled mechanical ventilation (VMC) of the bathroom, for example, is in good condition. Otherwise, you must notify the condominium in the case of a common ventilation, or call an electrician who can repair the ventilation.


Water leak


A water leak can also be a reason for the appearance of dampness in an apartment. These water leaks can come from several places in the home, but most of the time it is the kitchens and bathrooms that are the most affected. These rooms are generally equipped with household appliances such as the refrigerator, the dishwasher, the washing machine, etc. All this equipment is likely to have operating failures that can cause water leaks. If these leaks are not observed quickly, they can become embedded in the floor and in the walls and create areas of very intense humidity. These areas can quickly lead to the appearance of mold.


If the accommodation is located in an apartment building, the appearance of damp spots on the walls or on the ceiling may mean that your neighbor has suffered a water leak. In this case, it is strongly advised to alert the neighborhood so that the leak is controlled so as not to spread the mass of humidity in the building and in all the neighboring apartments.


Bad insulation


Poor insulation of a home can lead to what is called a thermal bridge.


Good to know: a thermal bridge is a cold zone inside the normally heated and insulated housing.


A thermal bridge may appear on window sills or door sills. Proximity to the outside can allow moisture to settle in these places, which then become susceptible to the formation of mold.


Poor housing maintenance


A lack of ventilation can be a fairly common cause of the appearance of mold. When the apartment does not show any failure in terms of insulation or VMC, the owner or the tenant seems to maintain his accommodation, the answer to the appearance of mold can be found in the lack of ventilation of the accommodation. Indeed, a home that lacks ventilation is more likely to have a high level of humidity in the air and therefore to see mold appear inside. Airing your home regularly can simply avoid the inconvenience of mold.


It can happen that ventilation is difficult to envisage in an apartment. It may lack a window, have unpleasant smells outside if it is located next to a restaurant, or simply the cold winter does not allow the apartment to be opened regularly. In this case, there are indoor dehumidifiers that allow you to eliminate the humidity in the air without opening the windows of your apartment.


How to identify the source and treat mold?


When the occupant of the housing notices the appearance of mold, it is necessary to immediately identify the source of this mold and treat the problem in order to stop the phenomenon.


Areas of mold can appear absolutely anywhere in a home. It can be on a wall, on a ceiling, a windowsill or a door. The floor can also be touched, both with parquet and carpet.


There are several signs that can point to the source of mold. First, the smell is a good indicator. Fungi that form mold give off a very unpleasant odor that is quickly detected by locals.


Then, the multiplication of fungi often creates areas of green or yellow spots on the walls and ceilings. Even before the appearance of these stains, it is possible that the walls and floors will swell slightly due to the concentration of humidity.


To clean a wall that shows signs of mold, simply rub with a sponge soaked in water and bleach (very diluted), or water and white vinegar, or simply dishwashing liquid. This method makes it possible to effectively clean the wall but also to sanitize it and to avoid a return of the problem in the future.


If the cleaning of the area was done quickly after the appearance of the first signs, it is possible that a simple cleaning with a sponge will suffice. On the other hand, if the area extends more and more and exceeds 3 m2, then it is essential to call in professionals to eliminate the problem.


In any case, it is strongly advised not to cover the area with paint or another coating to hide the area attacked by mold. This option will be a real hide-and-seek that will only make the problem worse.

If the mold is cleaned quickly and the inhabitant adopts the few tips presented above, this problem is not likely to reappear in your home!


Tenant or owner: who should act?


The appearance of mold brings the debate between the owner and the tenant: which of the two must act to eliminate this problem? It depends on the situation.


In the event that the accommodation has been rented in a bad state and therefore dangerous for the health of the tenant, then the costs of cleaning up the mold are borne by the landlord. Indeed, the ALUR law requires owners to rent “decent” housing: this includes the absence of mold in the housing.


In the event that mold has appeared due to poor maintenance of the apartment, it is the tenant's responsibility to clean the accommodation, at his own expense. If the problem is related to an accident, such as water damage, insurance covers the financing of the cleaning.



By following all these tips and tricks, you won't risk seeing mold this winter. If not, Studapart has also provided you with all the solutions to make it disappear from your apartment forever!

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