Feng Shui Friday – How to efficiently fight mould

We’ve had a bit of a damp, wet streak here in Sydney. With dampness comes mould. Most people still use bleach as their go-to solution to counteract mould growing. Read on to find out how to fight mould naturally and why bleach is the worst thing you can use.

Mould is a type of fungus. It starts growing where it is damp, and it doesn’t need any light to survive. Once the mould is established, it actually doesn’t need any other moisture than what is naturally found in air to keep growing. So drying out an area that has been affected by mould is not an effective cure at all.

Fungi and their spores are abundant in air, on surfaces, in house dust and water, so the question is not where they are but whether they are growing. In a normal household mould is most commonly found in the kitchen and wet room areas as well as outside and in floor and roof cavities.

One of the first symptoms of being affected by mould is fatigue that is not improved by rest. Some other typical symptoms/health effects of mould are: recurring colds or flus that take a long time to get over, asthma, bronchitis, nasal congestion, runny nose, eye/nose/throat irritation, fever, skin rashes, headaches and allergies. If you have any of these symptoms for a prolonged time, it might be a good idea to check if you have extensive mould growing somewhere in your home. Most often mould that is causing severe reactions like these is hidden under your floors or in the roof cavity of your home, you won’t normally get that bad from the stuff that might be growing in your bathroom or laundry.

It’s very important to make sure that you have sufficient ventilation in your kitchen, bathroom and laundry as air humidity levels above 70% increases the risk of developing mould. With sufficient airflow you can reduce the risk of mould growing dramatically.

Something to be aware of around mould, apart from its adverse effects on our health, is that once a person becomes sensitive to mould it is often for life and for all types of mould, which is why it’s so important to avoid mould in any home or office to being with.

So mould can grow from any source of water. For this reason it is very important to have sufficient and working ventilation in your wet rooms and you kitchen as well. As a rule of thumb if any steam or smell of food is still present 10 minutes after showering or cooking, your ventilation is not adequate.

Most people use bleach to fight mould, or a commercial cleaning product containing bleach. This is what our parents did, and this is what we’re shown on TV etc. in clever marketing campaigns from the companies selling cleaning products. What no-one really talks about is this interesting little fact: bleach is a source of food for mould! So while cleaning products containing bleach will make it look like the mould is gone (as it has now been bleached and therefore you can’t see it anymore), the mould is still there and it’s growing, happily feeding from the bleach. So bleach is not only not good for your health, it is also creates a source of food for the mould! I know I go on about this a little, and there is really no reason what so ever to use bleach in the cleaning of your home. It’s toxic and it does nothing for you.

Use a naturally effective method to clean mould from your home instead.

Below is a recommendation on how to clean mould from the Mycologia website:

  • Protect yourself by putting on a respirator and gloves. (Note: In a normal home I don’t think respirator is necessary, unless you are over-sensitive to mould or going into the roof or floor cavities).
  • Vacuum the affected area with a HEPA vacuum (see Vacuum cleaner section below) to remove the mould spores.
  • Wipe clean the affected area using microfiber cloths with vinegar (80% vinegar, 20% water) or methylated spirits solution (70% methylated spirits, 30% water). NOTE: only use naturally fermented white vinegar as cheap imitation vinegar made from acetic acid is not effective.
  • Use a two-bucket system – one bucket with vinegar solution and the other with clean water (or rinse under running tap). Do not put the dirty cloth back in the vinegar solution – wash in the clean water bucket first. This avoids cross contamination.

 

The Mycologia website has a lot of great information on Mould and is a good starting point if you think you are affected by mould in your home or office.

Educate and protect yourself properly from mould. It’s worth the effort.

Take care,
Sara

 

Mould – it’s not very nice…

 

 

Feng Shui Friday – Use the “power position”

In Feng Shui we talk about something called the “power position”. This is a place in a room that gives you control, it lends authority to your presence and you will feel comfortable and safe there. It’s easy to identify this spot in any room if you follow a couple simple guide lines. And then if you make sure you are actually in the “power position” you will feel different about spending time in that space, be more creative, more relaxed and in the flow of things. It’s especially beneficial to work or sleep in this position as you are in control, feeling protected and at peace. Both sleep and work will flow more easily when you do.

So how do you get there?

The “power position” is really quite simple to identify. There are two key aspects that you need to focus on:

  1. Have your back against a solid wall (or the bed head of your bed in case of a bedroom)
  2. Make sure you can see the door clearly from where you are and that you’re not in straight alignment with the door

That’s it! Seems too simple? Well, give it a go and notice the difference it makes!

When you’re going for a job interview for example, often times they are conducted in a meeting room of some sort. If you’re lucky, the person interviewing you will show you to the room, open the door and ask you to step inside. If they do, you want to go for the diagonally far away corner from the door and sit down. This way you are in the “power position” of that room, and this will have an impact on how your potential new employer views you. I promise.

 

The far corner diagonally across from the door in a meeting room is the “power position”.

 

Imagine that you work in an open plan office, and for whatever reason, your team is moving floors. Make sure you get there first and stake a claim on a desk in a “power position” if you can. This can be tricky with open plan, and often these desks or workstations are found at the end of a cluster of desks, up against a wall. If you have to sit with your back to the room, place a small mirror next to your computer screen. That way you can see what is going on behind your back and you will feel a lot more comfortable.

 

Often the “power position” is at the end of a cluster of desks in an open plan office.

 

Make sure you follow these criteria when furnishing your bedroom at home too. Put your bed head against a solid wall, make sure you can see the door to the room when in bed, and notice the difference.

This bed is in the “power position”.

You can walk around any room and feel your way to the “power position” if you are uncertain. There will be a spot in that room where things just feel right, where you relax a little and feel more comfortable. That’s where you want to be spending your time.

So get out there, identify your “power positions” at home and at work. Let me know how you go, I’d love to hear about it.

Happy Feng Shui Friday,
Sara

 

 

Feng Shui Friday – Why Space Clearing rocks!

Space Clearing, or creating sacred space as some call it, is an awesome tool. It’s a way to get any space back into balance. It’s a way to create a fresh start. It’s a way to let go of what has been and move on. You can say that Space Clearing is a process by which you balance your energetic and physical environment to support you on all levels.

There are many different ways to perform Space Clearing. Some use mainly their hands to stir up and shift energy. Others use sage, fire, salt, incense, essential oils or sprays, tibetan bells, singing bowls… The list of tools that work goes on and on. Then we have various techniques, rituals and ceremonies that you can use. All of them can be highly effective when used correctly.

The important thing when you decide to do a Space Clearing is that you use tools and actions that you like and that resonate with you. Space Clearing is all about connecting in with the energy and shifting it. You also need to be able to energetically protect yourself so that you don’t “pick up” the energy you have just released, but rather can be a guide for it and release it and let it go.

When it comes to what tools and rituals work the best, I’m of the opinion that the person performing the Space Clearing is the most important of them all. If you’re doing it yourself, you need to be in a calm, balanced and connected state of mind. You need to feel strong, confident, grounded and “in the flow”. You will know if you’re in that zone or not! If you have a professional come in and support you with the process, you have to feel really comfortable with them as a person and trust in their abilities.

As I said, Space Clearing is a wonderful tool to be used in many different situations. Whenever you feel stuck in your life or that you have lost the flow, a Space Clearing ceremony can help you get things moving again. I personally like to use Space Clearing when moving into a new home or office, after an illness, on a yearly basis as an “energetic spring clean” and whenever else I feel it’s needed. Particularly when moving in to a new place I find Space Clearing very beneficial. It will help you get rid of any energetic “left overs” from previous occupants and events that have taken place in that space and leave you with a fresh start.

Living in a place that is Space Cleared regularly provides the ability for the body and soul to recharge and heal, contributes to emotional balance and enhances free movement of energy on all levels.

So why is Space Clearing important?

Well, this is what I believe: Everything that ever happens in a building gets recorded in the walls, floor, ceiling, objects and even the people and animals in that space. Whenever there is a repetitive pattern happening (like a couple arguing in the kitchen for example) that energetic vibration gets deeply imprinted and therefore creates more of the same. Sometimes these imprints are so strong in the environment that new residents in a home find that they always argue in the kitchen, whereas before they never did. They have picked up on an energetic imprint from the people living there before them. The best way to break out of a habit like that is to Space Clear and then consciously choose different actions and reactions.

Another really cool ting about Space Clearing is that you can use it as both a cure and an enhancement. So even if you think the energy in your home is awesome, you can still Space Clear with the intention of supporting a new project (for example) and this will lend new, fresh energy to that project and propel you further forward, as you are in energetic alignment.

Space Clearing supports you in getting rid of unwanted energies or feelings in a space, as well as bringing in new, positive energies and emotions that you want to have in your life. It’s a very powerful tool and I feel that what it does is like creating magic!

Next week I’ll be giving you a simple Space Clearing ritual to do at home for general cleansing purposes. In saying that, it’s important to note that clearing clutter is the very fist step to start your Space Clearing. Clutter holds on to energy and keeps you stuck in the past. For the best Space Clearing results I recommend starting with a really good “Spring clean” of your home, so that you and your home is ready to let go of the past and bring in fresh, new energies.

Why not start clearing clutter this week so that you’re ready for the Space Clearing next week? Please share what you’re going to do…

Here’s to awesome energy for everyone!

Happy Feng Shui Friday,
Sara

 

Tibetan singing bowls and Sage, great tools for Space Clearing.

 

 

Feng Shui Friday – Clean Green

Modern day cleaning products are a major health hazard. Most people don’t realise this. We’re so sold on the belief that germs are bad for us, germs are what make us sick. Did you know, that if your immune system didn’t have to deal with germs on a regular basis, you could fall and scrape your knee and die from that tiny scrape wound? All because your immune system hasn’t been exercised properly by dealing with some germs now and then!

Any conventional cleaning products that you use to kill the germs in your home will contain toxic substances and they leave a film of very unhealthy chemicals on the surface where you use them. In my opinion, these chemicals are even worse for your health and wellbeing than the germs you were getting rid of to begin with!

Imagine you’re using Pino Cleen to wipe down your kitchen bench. Next thing you make your kids’ lunch sandwiches on that same surface you just wiped. Guess where the chemicals from the Pino Cleen end up? Yup, that’s right, in the sandwich. So commercial cleaning products really make no sense, at least not to me.

Add to that the fact that cleaning products are not governed by any regulatory body at all, and manufacturers do not need to disclose their contents (Benis 2009). This means that by using conventional cleaning products at home you can be spreading an unknown number of health hazardous chemicals in your indoor environment, and you don’t even know what they are or what effect they may have on you. If you don’t know what’s in each separate product, there is no way of telling the compounded effect of these products used in your home. You could be mixing up a cocktail of unhealthiness in the effort of “cleaning”.

One of the most common house hold cleaners used in Australia today is bleach. According to Bijlsma (2010) bleach gives off toxic fumes which irritate the eyes, lungs, nose, throat and skin and may even cause burns and death. She continues to explain that when mixed with acidic cleaning products bleach may form chloramine gas which is lethal. I would recommend everyone to avoid using bleach at all costs due to this.

And it doesn’t stop there. As I mentioned, most (if not all) conventional cleaning products contain toxic substances. Some of these substances can leach through the container in which the product is stored and contaminate the indoor air, even if the container is stored in a cupboard (Benis 2009). So you don’t even have to actively use these products for them to be able to get into your indoor air and pollute your home environment. You only need to have them in a cupboard.

So what can you do? Luckily, there are some great, healthy and environmentally friendly alternatives to use for cleaning your home. The below is all I use in my home, and it works a treat. It’s sparkling clean, smells fresh (not that chemical smell from the perfumes in the conventional stuff) and healthy!

1. Microfiber cloths
Use damp for dusting. Keep separate ones for toilet and kitchen. Rinse in hot water after every use.

2. White vinegar
For decalcification and cleaning of toilet bowl. Mix with Baking Soda for cleaning of drains, add to hot water to clean hard floors. Can also be used as rinse aid in your dishwasher. Ensure you only use naturally fermented white vinegar as cheap imitation vinegar made from acetic acid is not effective. White vinegar will also kill mould.

3. Baking Soda or Bicarbonate of Soda
For stains, to clean toilet bowl, to shine up appliances.

4. Borax
Use for carpet cleaning, to make your own dishwashing powder, with hot water to clean hard floors.

5. Eucalyptus oil
Smells great and is a disinfectant and antiseptic too. Great for cleaning the bathroom and hard floor surfaces.

So there you have it. No need to use those nasty chemicals in your home any more. There are alternatives that are better for you, your family and the environment.

Please feel free to share what you use to clean green at home. I’d love to know!

Happy Feng Shui Friday,
Sara

 

Avoid commercial cleaning products and instead – Clean Green!

Sources:
Benis, K. 2009, Air Pollution – Cleaning Products, (DVD), Australian College of Environmental Studies, Melbourne. 
Bijlsma, N. 2010, Healthy Home Healthy Family, Joshua Books, Buddina Australia