Jamie Woodhall, Technical and Innovations Manager, Rentokil Specialist Hygiene and Initial Washroom Hygiene, said: “Students living together for the first time in shared university residences may encounter hygiene and mould problems during their tenancies. Such problems may not only result in damage to personal belongings but can also cause health issues. In order to help prevent mould growth, it’s essential to make your living areas resistant to the growth of mould.
For the students spending more time indoors during the colder months, a few simple tips are listed below to help reduce the potential for mould to thrive:
Reduce humidity levels:
Mould grows in humid environments, so it’s important to reduce humidity levels in your living space where possible by turning on the extractor fan (if one is fitted) when cooking and using the bathroom fan, or opening a window when showering or bathing to reduce humidity levels. You may also want to consider using a dehumidifier to help remove excess moisture from the air.
Keep your space ventilated:
If an indoor space isn’t properly ventilated, moisture can build-up and cause mould to develop. For those air drying their clothes indoors - and during periods of colder weather and with the current economic climate, this is likely to be the preferred option for many university students - it’s important to keep your residence as well ventilated as possible. Opening windows and doors for just 15 minutes a day allows fresh air to circulate and can help to reduce the build-up of excess moisture.
Report any leaks quickly
If there are any water leaks in your living space, it’s crucial to have them fixed as soon as possible. Mould thrives in damp environments, and so contacting your landlord or property manager as soon as you notice a potential leak is very important in order to help avoid water damage and prevent mould.
If mould or damp is spotted in a property, it’s important to address the situation to avoid any further complications. Unfortunately, mould will continue to grow unless the root cause is identified, cleaned and removed. It is crucial for residents and landlords to be aware of the implications of mould growth, taking care to remove it properly to prevent it from returning.”
Rentokil Specialist Hygiene offers professional and expert mould removal solutions. Contact them here.
Paul Blackhurst, Technical Academy Head at Rentokil Pest Control, said: “Living in a university residence is often an exciting experience for students as they are living away from home, many for the first time. However, failing to stay on top of the washing up, establishing an effective cleaning rota or remembering to take the rubbish out may attract unwelcome visitors.
“Pest problems, in particular rats and cockroaches, can pose health risks and damage to personal belongings. Whilst bed bugs don’t cause health risks like other pests, having them in your home is a distressing situation. As with any pest infestation, prevention is always better than cure, and there are steps that university students can take to reduce the risk of a pest problem developing:
Keep living space clean:
Pests are typically on the hunt for a food source so one of the best ways to help prevent pest problems is to ensure your living area is cleaned regularly; including wiping down surfaces and sweeping and vacuuming the floors. By keeping spaces clean, in particular the kitchen area, you can eliminate potential food sources and reduce the risk of attracting pests. It’s also important to ensure that rubbish is stored in a strong bin with a lid that is large enough to prevent waste from overflowing. Rodents and other pests can easily tear through black bin liners to get to unwanted food.
Wash your bed sheets regularly:
To reduce the risk of bed bugs, it’s important to ensure any areas where people sleep are cleaned and vacuumed regularly; washing bedding in hot water. Bed bugs, despite their name, are not solely limited to beds and can take up residence in any crevices and gaps found in bedrooms such as behind headboards, side tables, in chairs, sofas, curtain linings and behind loose wallpaper. They thrive in areas with lots of people, rather than dirty environments, and can spread very easily through hitching a ride on humans or on second hand furniture. As a result, student residences can be prime targets for bed bug infestations. It’s therefore important to know the signs to look out for.
Bed bugs are small, flat oval insects that are about the size of an apple seed, and after feeding their abdomen swells to about twice the size. Detecting signs of their presence is often easier than spotting live bugs, so look out for dark/black stains resembling mildew on the mattress or surrounding area from their excreta, blood spots on sheets/mattresses, or an unpleasant, sickly, sweet smell.
Store food properly
Proper food storage is crucial in helping to prevent pest problems. Rats and cockroaches, in particular, are attracted to food and unclean areas, so it’s crucial to keep all food stored away, either in airtight plastic containers, glass jars or in the fridge. Avoid leaving food out on surfaces or in open containers, as this can attract pests.
Household pest problems can get out of hand quickly, and preventative measures are key. If you notice any signs of pests, such as droppings, it’s important to report it to your university’s maintenance staff or landlord, rather than trying to deal with it yourself. They can then assess the problem and take the necessary steps to eliminate pests.”