Preventing and removing mold in your vacation home

Here's what you can do about preventing mold in your vacation rental.

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As an owner of a vacation rental, you must ensure that your property is thoroughly cleaned and in good condition. Unfortunately, mold sometimes occurs in vacation rentals, which is not only a visual problem, but can also be bad for you and your guests’ health.

In our guide for vacation rental landlords you will find the best tips against mold in your vacation home.

How does mold develop?

Mold spores everywhere in the air. When warm, moist air meets cold walls and condenses, it creates an ideal breeding ground for mold. It becomes critical as soon as the air humidity exceeds 60%. Humidity ideally should be between 30 and 50%.

Danger to health

The dark stains on the wall or on crevices in the bathroom are not only unappetizing, but can also lead to health complaints from guests. Guests may report breathing problems, allergic reactions, irritated eyes or fatigue. This would not be good for your reputation as an owner and for the rating of your vacation rental.

Susceptible rooms

Bathrooms, basements (if there is a high water table or frequent flooding), and attics (after storm and thunderstorm damage) are particularly susceptible to the spread of mold.

How to avoid mold in your vacation home

A family of four releases over 10 gallons of water into the environment per day just by sweating and breathing. Guests often choose to stay in a vacation rental instead of a hotel because they want to cook or do their own laundry during their stay. However, this releases even more moisture.

Since vacation rentals are not usually cleaned daily, you as a landlord cannot always ensure that there is always good air circulation. However, there are a few points that you can influence.

As a owner, you can reduce the risk of mold growth with these steps:

Ventilate and heat properly

Proper temperature and humidity are key when it comes to preventing mold. Make sure that the room temperature is at least 57 or better 60 degrees fahrenheit and that the humidity is between 30 and 60%. Of course, humidity will be higher for a short period of time in the kitchen or bathroom. It is therefore important that these rooms are particularly well ventilated.

Replace susceptible products regularly

Carpets, sponges, shower curtains, etc. should always be well cleaned and changed regularly. Also check houseplants, cutting boards and air filters regularly for mold and replace if necessary.

Align furniture with distance to the wall

When furnishing your vacation home, make sure that there is always a few inches of space between the furniture and the wall. This is especially true for furniture on the outside walls. These walls cool down quickly when the outside temperature is low. If the air between the wall and cabinets or other furnishings cannot circulate properly, moisture will easily settle there and mold spores will find an ideal breeding ground.

Install ventilation devices

If the humidity is too high, you can install a dehumidifier. This will lower the humidity in your home. If the bathroom does not have a window, you should install a bathroom vent to allow the moisture to escape.

Check regularly

You should thoroughly inspect your vacation rental on a regular basis and take immediate action if necessary. A thermo-hygrometer will help you keep an eye on the room temperature and humidity.

Instructions for your guests

Set rules in your house rules for your guests to avoid mold. For example:

  • 2 x daily 10 minutes of shock ventilation: Air exchange works much better when windows are fully open than when they are tilted.
  • Prohibit drying wet laundry indoors. If your accommodation does not have a balcony or garden where you can hang the laundry, you should instead provide a drying room in the building or buy a dryer.
  • Adequately ventilate bathrooms or kitchens after showering and cooking to allow excess moisture to escape immediately.

Mold-resistant materials

If you frequently struggle with mold in your vacation rental, you should thoroughly renovate your property and install mold-resistant materials. There are special primers that are applied under the wall paint or waterproof wall panels that you can use to prevent mold growth.

You should also avoid carpeting in these areas. If the floor is damp, mold will easily form there, and carpeting is often difficult to clean.

Tips for mold prevention in your vacation rental ᐅ Guide

Removing mold in the apartment

Unfortunately, mold growth can’t always be prevented. What can you do if it does happen?

How do you recognize mold?

  • Musty smell
  • Damp walls
  • Stains and discolorations on walls or furniture

Cleaning agents and home remedies for removing mold

There are numerous remedies for removing mold. For solid surfaces, the fungus can usually be pretreated well and then simply wiped off. For organic materials such as wood, fabrics or wallpaper, it is often easier and cheaper to replace the infested furniture, window or wallpaper if the infestation is extensive.

Beware of mold removers with chlorine

Most commercial mold removers contain chlorine. While this is good for removing mold, it is also not good for your health. Therefore, when using such chemicals, you should wear protective equipment and ventilate the room well during and also after the treatment. If this is not possible, it is better not to use such cleaners.

High-proof alcohol

Small areas of mold infestation can be removed with high-proof alcohol instead. This household remedy reliably kills mold and mold spores, but should not be used on sensitive surfaces such as wood. Caution: After treatment with alcohol, the room should be well ventilated and under no circumstances should you smoke.

Rather not vinegar

It’s better to stay away from vinegar. It attacks all materials and often makes surfaces even more susceptible to the formation of new mold. Apart from that, vinegar often contains dyes, which leads to unsightly discoloration.

Mold in the bathroom

Bathrooms are especially prone to black mold because of the high humidity levels after bathing and showering. Therefore, it is important to ventilate well and install a ventilation system, especially in rooms without windows.

Mold often nests in the joints between the tiles. Here, a cleaner with hydrogen peroxide can work wonders. It not only removes the fungus, but also makes the joints shiny again. Often, several passes are necessary here until the mold in the joints is removed.

Mold on windows

Windows are susceptible to mold because cold air from outside and warm air from inside meet here. Especially in old apartments with poorly insulated windows or through incorrect ventilation (tilting instead of opening the window completely) mold can develop here. The spores can be easily removed from the glass with glass cleaner and then disinfected with high-proof alcohol. If the window frame is affected, the treatment depends on whether it is made of plastic or wood (see above).

Removing mold from walls and wallpaper

If mold forms on the wallpaper, removing it superficially is not a permanent solution. Often the area behind the wallpaper is also infested. In the case of small-scale infestation, it is usually sufficient to spray the affected area and tear it off. In the case of large-scale infestation, the wall should be completely renovated.

Conclusion: Prevent mold and act quickly in case of infestation

The best remedy against mold is preventative measures. Make sure that your apartment is regularly well ventilated and keep an eye on temperature and humidity.

If you do discover mold in your home, you must act quickly because visible infestation is only the tip of the iceberg. If the mold only appears in one spot, you can clean and disinfect the area yourself. If the mold infestation is extensive, you should get help from experts.

Block calendar during remediation

If you have to temporarily close your apartment, you should block your booking calendars for this period and offer guests who have already booked a free rebooking.

On Smoobu, an incredibly useful channel manager, you block once in Smoobu and it will automatically synchronize your calendars on all booking platforms.

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