It’s that time of the year again. The weather is turning cold, the sound of rain can be heard on the roof at night while we go to sleep and it’s time to snuggle up with our loved ones in our comfy homes. But with this rain and cold comes dampness and mould. Mould is common in homes at this time of the year, but breathing in cleaning products filled with harsh chemicals that often are used to eradicate mould is not a good option for our overall health and wellbeing. 

There are obviously some dangers of living in a home that has a build-up of mould and mildew. Breathing in spores from mould can lead to nasal congestion, skin irritation, wheezing, chest tightness and inflamed airways. Being exposed to mould over the long term can lead to more serious health conditions such as asthma and reductions in lung function. The World Health Organization attributes 300 million cases of childhood asthma across the globe to exposure to mould and indoor dampness. So it is essential to find ways to rid our houses of any mould that creeps in.

Fortunately, there are several practical methods that you can use to remove mould and mildew from your home without turning to traditional cleaning products made up of harsh chemicals such as bleach. 

Dampness and mould are more likely to occur in housing that has insufficient heating, insulation and ventilation. So the first thing that we can do to protect ourselves from mould is to make sure that our homes are properly ventilated and heated. When it’s not raining, let the sun in to your home, open windows and doors and let the fresh air in. At night when it is cold, close windows and doors and cover openings with heavy drapes to keep the warmth in. 

Also, ensure wet areas like kitchens, laundries and bathrooms have proper air-flow to remove excess moisture. If you live in an exceptionally damp home that is prone to mould and mildew another great way of removing dampness is to get yourself a dehumidifier, that ensures all moisture is removed from the air. 

Mould can spread quickly so we need to make sure that affected areas are cleaned straight away. Here are five natural solutions that you can use to clean mould affected areas around the home:

Soap and water – The first solution is the simplest. Many mould types will disappear when washed away with soap and water. However some mould types are more stubborn and need something a little stronger to be removed.

Vinegar – Vinegar is a natural antimicrobial solution. Use a spray bottle with 150ml of white vinegar, fill with water and apply to the affected area, leave for a few moments then wipe away with a soft rag. Vinegar will kill the mould spores and leave the area clean and fresh. Vinegar can also be used in mould prevention. Try keeping a spray bottle of vinegar and water solution in the bathroom and spray the shower area down after each use to keep mould from growing in this area. Apple cider vinegar also works a treat, click here to buy.

Bicarbonate Soda – Bicarbonate soda is a natural disinfectant and is quite good to use on surfaces that are made of material like rugs and carpets. Sprinkle the bicarbonate soda on the material surface, then spray with your vinegar and water solution. The result will fizz like a little science experiment. Leave for a short time and then rub the area clean with a rag or brush. You can buy bi-carb online via this link.

Tea Tree and Clove OilIf the mould is more stubborn and vinegar has not solved the problem, tea tree and clove oil are another great choice. Drop 15mls of tea tree or clove oil into a spray bottle and top with water, apply to the affected area, leave for two hours and then wipe clean with a soft rag. Although tea tree and clove oil are tougher on mould they have a strong and distinct odour that some people may not enjoy. Others, however, like these smells so it is a personal choice when it comes to this solution.

Hydrogen Peroxide – Hydrogen Peroxide is a mixture of water and oxygen. We can mix a solution of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar to remove mould from household surfaces. This solution will also prevent the mould from returning to these areas

Vodka – You can also spray straight vodka directly on to any mouldy area and wipe it clean.

So when it comes to protecting ourselves and our families from the perils of mould we don’t need to turn to harsh cleaning chemicals that are potentially bad for our health and the environment we live in. There are many ways of combatting mould and mildew naturally in our homes, usually from items that we may have in our cupboards already and you can find most of these items at your local Santos stores or online.

Written by:

Megan Lee

megan.lee@scu.edu.au

Instagram – meganlovingmeagain

Twitter – MeganLeePhD

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