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Mould is a health hazard in the home

Posted by Becky Thompson on

Mould is a health hazard in the home.

It can cause respiratory problems for the young, elderly and sick and trigger asthma attacks and worsen symptoms. According to the National Asthma Council Australia, 50% of people living in mouldy homes have ongoing upper respiratory symptoms that resemble hayfever.

How to get rid of mould without toxic chemicals

Here are the pros and cons of the best and healthiest options to get rid of mould in your house:

Hydrogen peroxide

Our Simply No Mould is an off-the-shelf solution containing 5% hydrogen peroxide and surfactants that help the hydrogen peroxide seep into the mould. Simply No Mould attacks and burns mould from the inside, breaking down to just oxygen and water in the process.

It can be sprayed and left in shower cubicles or sprayed, left for a few minutes then wiped with a microfibre cloth elsewhere in the home.

Pros: very easy to use; very effective against mould; plus mild bleaching action fades unsightly black mould over time.

Cons: recommended for hard surfaces but not fabrics because of bleaching action.                                          

Other healthy remedies are below but the process must be followed carefully to be effective:

White vinegar

  1. Mix 80% vinegar to 20% water in a bucket and apply with a microfibre cloth and leave to do its work. Vinegar overfeeds mould, causing it to explode! The tiny fibres in microfibre cloths are great for getting into corners and crevices.
  2. Clean your cloth between applications in a 50:50 solution of vinegar and water, then in fresh water between applications to prevent recontamination.

Pros: cheap to use and readily available.

Cons: strong smell hangs around; leaves streaks on shiny surfaces, needs plenty of elbow grease and a 3-bucket process to be effective.

Clove oil

  1. Clean mouldy surface with detergent before treating.
  2. Mix ¼ teaspoon of clove oil in a litre of water and spray on.
  3. Leave for 20 minutes and wipe off, then spray again and leave for a further 24-48 hours to kill and dry out the mould spores.

Pros: seems to work well, although not scientifically proven. Can be used on fabrics (test patch first).

Cons: strong distinctive smell might not appeal and lingers for days; can stain grout brown; is expensive and in short supply during mould season. Avoid direct skin contact with clove oil and keep out of reach of children.

How to help prevent mould

  1. Use a squeegee in your shower. Send all that excess water straight down the drain after a shower.
  2. Ventilate. Use exhaust fans and open windows where possible in the bathroom and kitchen, to remove condensation during showering and cooking.
  3. Use moisture absorbers in small rooms, and wardrobes. Calcium chloride crystals absorb excess moisture in the air and are cheap, and safe for the environment.

Can I use bleach to kill mould?

Do not use chlorine bleach. This is the typical solution for tackling mould in the home but it comes with problems of its own. The jury is out on whether bleach kills all mould or just bleaches the colour away. Bleach can irritate your nose and throat and can make some people feel nauseous. It definitely affects people with respiratory health conditions. Bleach also corrodes your tapware and grout, which makes the surface more porous to further attacks.