Creating homes and places where people want to live

Damp, mould and condensation

What is condensation? 

Condensation is moisture or small droplets of water in the air, produced by everyday activities such as cooking, bathing and even breathing. When air containing moisture comes into contact with colder surfaces, it can appear as droplets of water. It’s most noticeable on windows in cold weather. 

Condensation can also appear on or near wooden external doors, mirrors, in the corners of rooms, behind wardrobes, sofas and beds, and in cupboards where air does not circulate as quickly. It forms on cold surfaces and places where there is little or no movement of air. 

Too much moisture in the air inside a property together with too little air circulation is the most common cause of black mould growth on walls and furniture, and mildew on clothes, curtains and other fabrics. 

How to avoid condensation 

  • Move furniture away from the walls so that warm air can circulate 
  • Don’t overfill wardrobes and cupboards; leave enough gaps between the walls to allow air to circulate 
  • Keep lids on cooking pans and use the minimum amount of water for cooking 
  • Hang washing outside to dry, or in the bathroom with the door closed and a window open, or an extractor fan on.  
  • Don’t be tempted to put any washing on radiators 
  • Make sure tumble dryers are vented to the outside 
  • Don’t use paraffin or bottled gas heaters 
  • Put cold water in the bath before the hot water to reduce steam 
  • Close the kitchen and bathroom doors to prevent steam going into colder rooms 
  • Open the kitchen and bathroom windows when cooking or washing, so that steam can escape.  
  • Use the extractor fan, if you have one 
  • Don’t cover over any air vents – they help moisture escape and ventilate your home 
  • Make sure the ventilation slots at the top of your windows are clear and working 
  • In colder weather, keep your home at an all-round constant temperature, try to leave the heating on a lower setting for a longer period of time. 

Watch our short film 

We've produced a short film showing you how to deal with condensation in your home. 

Treating mould yourself 

If you find that you have mould, don’t try to remove it by brushing or using a vacuum cleaner 

Wipe down affected areas daily – don’t use bleach or washing up liquid 

Apply a fungicidal wash available from most supermarkets and DIY stores, but make sure you follow the instructions. Dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo any affected carpets 

If you need to redecorate, use a good-quality fungicidal paint and a fungal resistant wallpaper paste to help stop the mould coming back. Remember that the effect of fungicidal or anti-condensation paint will be destroyed if you use with ordinary paint or wallpaper paste. 

Did you know… 

  • Cooking, washing, bathing and ironing can add to condensation
  • Two people at home for 16 hours will produce three pints of condensation 
  • A bath or a shower will produce two pints of condensation 
  • Drying clothes indoors will produce nine pints of condensation 

Daily ventilation 

For 30 minutes every day, you should open a window to the first notch at either side or each end of your house, and at the same time, open any interior doors. 

Remember to keep your home safe – don’t leave windows open when you go out. 

If you’ve taken all the recommended steps to get rid of condensation and you still have a problem, please call us on 0115 915 2222. 

Water damage after a leak 

Please read our one-page guide on how to clean up water damage after a leak.