It can be tempting to put your wet clothes and towels inside to dry during winter, but it turns out this could be turning your house into a breeding ground.

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Health at the University of NSW Nick Osbourne explained to Kidspot that drying clothes inside could lead to the growth of mould and dust mites.

Dr Osbourne said that a damp house can trigger or worsen symptoms for those who suffer from asthma.

Dr Christine Cowie, a senior research fellow with the University of NSW, said that mould and other biological agents can have a negative health impact.

“From a health perspective … many biological agents are found indoors and they usually thrive on dampness and inadequate ventilation. They have found that dampness itself has been a good indicator of risk of asthma and respiratory symptoms. There are other studies that show inhalation of fungal spores … are linked to allergic sensitisation and asthma,” she said.

Dr Osbourne said that other lifestyle habits in winter also contribute to dust mites and mould.

“As far as winter time goes, we’re all coming inside with wet coats and hanging them up and people are inside a lot more,” Dr Osborne sa“Especially if there are a lot of people in a small dwelling. And add to that showers and cooking steam. If a house isn’t correctly ventilated moisture builds up inside and will condensate on windows and in walls.”

Dust mites thrive off moisture and a damp house will also create a mouldy smell.

Dr Osbourne explains that during winter, there are simple yet effective ways to reduce moisture in your home.

“If you’re cooking, remember to turn the extractor fan on. There could potentially be more hot meals served in winter.”

“Dry the dog off before you come inside and think about where you store your wet coats — put them on the veranda until they dry off.”

“If it’s sunny get your washing out and make sure if you use a dryer that it’s vented to the outside. It all adds up,” he said.

A warm and well-ventilated house will help keep mould and dust mites at bay.

Article created in partnership with Over60