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.