Cruel mistress La Niña ensured large parts of Queensland and New South Wales were drenched with water over the summer and autumn and, according to the BOM, the wet weather is likely to continue into winter.
The relentless moistness has ensured that even people in homes and businesses not devastated by flooding are now battling a serious mold and mildew problems.
For those not used to dealing with rampant fungi, it’s proving tough to get rid of, with tips flying all over social media about the best methods.
Lisa Bentley – of Lisa’s Eco Cleaning on Brisbane’s westside – has been gathering tips on the best way to remove mold for 17 years. Through extensive research and experimentation, this is the effective formula she’s come up with.
How to remove mold from walls and other hard surfaces
Ms Bentley says clove oil is key to killing the mold spores.
While some cleaners will use bleach, that simply discolours the mold for a while so it’s no longer visible, but it’s likely to return.
She says this technique will work on most surfaces, excluding limestone or marble:
- Put 1/4 teaspoon of clove oil into a liter of water – no more clove oil is necessary as it can discolour surfaces
- Use a spray bottle to lightly mist it onto the mold, then leave it for 24 hours
- After a day, wipe the surface over with a white vinegar and water mixture (three parts vinegar, two parts water)
- A 1-liter bottle of the formula should last about a year for the whole house.
Treating mold on leather or timber:
- Mix 1/4 teaspoon of clove oil into 250 milliliters of baby oil and shake
- Apply very lightly to leather and timber surfaces to kill the mold
- Do not overuse! – this small bottle should also last about a year.
Getting mold out of soft surfaces and fabrics:
- Put 1 kilogram of non-iodised cooking salt into a 9 liter bucket of water
- Stir with your hands until it dissolves
- Put the moldy item of clothing into the solution and soak overnight
- Take the soaking wet item and hang it on the clothes line to slowly dry
- The slower it dries the better – as the salt crystals reform, they expand in the fibers, pulling the mold out
- When it’s dry, brush off the mold.
Canvas awnings / umbrellas, etc:
- Dip a broom into the salt solution above and slather over the surface
- Wait for it to dry then brush off.
Prevention is always better than cure, of course, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.
Removing the dampness and humidity is the key to stopping mold, as it needs moisture and nutrients to grow.
Read more tips on how to mold-proof your home here.
The Queensland Health website says to take precautions when cleaning mold, as it can be dangerous to breathe in.
It suggests you “obtain personal protective equipment, including half-face disposable respirators with P1 or P2 filters, to avoid inhaling mold spores when cleaning.
“You’ll find these at hardware stores.”
It also says to place drop sheets on the floor and to make sure others are not around while you clean, if they do not need to be.
They say not to put dirty clothes back into your cleaning solution, and “always use a different cloth with each process and throw them away after, or the mold spores will spread and mold will reappear”.
Other formulas to remove mold
Queensland Health has a few different suggestions:
- A solution of 3 parts vinegar and 2 parts water
- A solution of 70 per cent methylated spirits and 30 per cent water
- A solution of tea tree oil and water
- commercial products from the supermarket but ensure to follow the safety instructions to protect your eyes and skin.
Where to find clove oil?
Products like clove oil and white vinegar can be tricky to find at the moment, with so many people battling mold problems.
Clove oil – which one retailer described as “like liquid gold at the moment” – can be found, when available, at some chemists, health food and organic shops or through online retailers.
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