How many times has someone suggested that you “go out and get some fresh air” when you weren’t feeling great? Well, there definitely is some good health advice behind that suggestion. But did you know it can also keep your house healthy…and it is required by German law?
Germany’s geolocation on the European continent provides the country with an ample amount of moist humid air all year round. The climate here is even affected by the Gulf Stream as it separates with one part going to the northeast U.S. and the other half going to Europe. All that extra humidity through the year means it is tougher to get things to dry out. It also means certain types of mold, specifically black mold, tend to grow very easily. It is this type of mold that can be very dangerous to your house and your health. Black mold can cause, chronic coughing and sneezing, headaches, eye irritation, nose and throat rashes and damage your metabolism.
If you rent in Germany, you are obligated to air out your house or apartment every day. In some cases, your landlord can take legal action against you if there is permanent damage to your rental. Regularly opening your windows and airing out your apartment will regulate the humidity inside and should be done two to four times daily, plus after showering, cooking, or mopping the floors. Unfortunately, this rule is not just for the summertime. In fact, it is extremely important to air out your abode in the winter even if it is cold outside. You may have noticed households with blankets and pillows hanging out the window as well. That is someone practicing “good house hygiene.”
Your sheets can also be a source of mold and mildew if not aired out on a regular basis. Practicing this type of daily routine can save you money on expensive clean-up services later on when your mold concern becomes a mold problem. Another reason mold can build up is forced air systems are not used in Germany like they are in the U.S.
Keep an eye out for the beginnings of mold problems in your dwelling. You may spot small occurrences of mold called “schimmel” behind couches resting against the wall. These areas should be dealt with immediately with a store-bought cleaner (easily found in your local grocery or hardware store) made specifically for this issue. Because air is such a vital part of keeping your house mold-free, furniture is required to be placed away from the walls to avoid mold from forming. During winter months, rooms that are north facing are usually colder and should be heated. Bathroom doors should be kept closed to the rest of the house while a window is open to allow all the moisture to escape from the house.
It is important to clarify that when you are airing out your house or apartment, you don’t just crack the windows open with the wonderful German window feature that is built-in. You need to embrace the outdoors! Open those babies fully and get fresh! You will be doing yourself a favor.