WHAT IS MOULD?
Mould is a type of fungi that are naturally occurring organisms playing a major role in the earths ecosystem. It grows best in damp and poorly ventilated areas, and reproduces by making spores. Moulds are present virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors and can grow in and on materials such as food, furniture, fabrics, carpets, walls, paper, timber and plumbing.
HOW DOES MOULD GROW?
Mould growth occurs when there is a water source (food source) or moisture present in an environment with limited or no sunlight. Building materials such as gyprock, wood, carpet and other household or residential material that are exposed to moisture in an indoor environment provide an ideal place for mould growth to occur.
Mould is a type of fungus that comes in many shapes and colours including green, black, grey, or even brown.
Black mould is particularly unsightly and can eventually cause permanent damage to your home’s panels, paint, furnishings, clothes, and other belongings.
Black mould removal is a critical part of maintaining your property because the black mould indicates problems with moisture in the home. If left untreated mould can lead to expensive repair bills and a lowering of your property value.
Effective black mould removal requires a multi-prong approach and is best undertaken by professionals.
Your average DIY approach will not get to the root of your mould problem and will at best only temporarily remove the mould stains and may even spread the mould spores.
If you try and undertake black mould removal yourself you also risk overlooking the deeper cause of your mould problem. The reality is black mould can indicate serious structural issues or leaking plumbing in your home.
If left untreated these leaks can create extraordinarily expensive repair jobs down the line. And guess what; some insurance companies may refuse to pay out for this type of damage.
Avoid this expensive mistake and call in the mould removal and remediation experts: Mould Cleaning Australia.
How to Kill Mold – Natural Remedies
Bleach can kill virtually every species of indoor mold that it comes into contact with, along with its spores, leaving a surface sanitized and resistant to future mold growth.
Unfortunately, however, using bleach is only effective if the mold is growing on non-porous materials such as tiles, bathtubs, glass and countertops. Bleach cannot penetrate into porous materials and so it does not come into contact with mold growing beneath the surface of materials such as wood and drywall.
Using bleach on these materials will kill the mold above the surface but the roots within the material will remain and the mold will soon return.
Bleach produces harsh fumes so make sure the area is well ventilated before you begin. You should also wear gloves during the process to protect your hands.
- For killing mold with bleach use a ratio of one cup of bleach per gallon of water (ie about 1 part bleach to 10 parts water).
- Apply the solution to non-porous surfaces with mold growth either by using a spray bottle or by using a bucket and a sponge or cloth.
- You don’t need to rinse the surface afterwards (unless it is used for food preparation or a surface which may be touched by small children or pets) as the bleach will inhibit mold growing in the future.
Vinegar is a natural acid. It’s also non-toxic (it’s even safe to drink) and harmless for the environment.
Vinegar also happens to be very cheap. You can also use vinegar undiluted or mix it with other cleaners such as baking soda.
Washing clothes in vinegar can be an effective method for removing the mould but it’s best if you can leave items soaking in the vinegar for 60 minutes or so.
But if you are trying to remove mould from furnishings or carpets you run the risk of staining the material especially if you leave the area damp or have to rub vigorously to remove mould markings.
Vinegar can work well to remove mould from non-porous surfaces particularly glass, tiles and other smooth surfaces.
A classic vinegar cleaning recipe is 2 parts baking soda to 1 part of white vinegar. However, do not mix vinegar with bleach: it produces chlorine gas, which is extremely dangerous and potentially fatal.
One of the disadvantages of vinegar is that you have to use a lot of elbow grease because it lacks the more potent (and more toxic) effects of other cleaning materials.
When you have to do lots of scrubbing you can very easily damage or scratch surfaces and remove paint. These scratches also provide safe havens for mould spores to hideout in and to repopulate the area.
To sum up:
Vinegar is a great home remedy for light mould infestations but you really need the experts to test whether there is a more serious hidden water problem and deal with the mould spores that will cause the mould problems to reappear.
Vinegar simply cannot clean up a serious mould problem.
Getting rid of mould in your home takes time and elbow grease – and you probably won’t be using that ‘miracle’ mould killer you picked up at the supermarket.
It’s important you don’t just ignore mould growing in your home. It can give off toxic spores and vapours which can be dangerous to your health – possibly resulting in allergic reactions, asthma and flu-like symptoms.
Assess the damage
Before starting, work out what kind of surface the mould has attached to:
- If the mould is on something that’s super-porous, like a textile, clothing or furniture, there’s a good chance it can’t be completely removed and it may need to be thrown out. Anything like wicker baskets, textiles, paper and cardboard or carpet needs to be chucked away – don’t even bother with these surfaces. (And don’t just let carpet dry out if there’s been water damage, as mould spores will be left behind, buried in the carpet fibres.)
- Non-porous surfaces such as hard plastics should be relatively easier to clean.
- Semi-porous surfaces will be variable.
Mould in the grout or silicone in your bathroom is worth a separate mention. Once mould gets its grip there, getting rid of it is almost impossible. When mould grows, it develops hyphae, or roots, which grow into the grout or silicone. You can clean the surfaces of the grout or silicone, but not deep into it. In those cases you have to replace the silicone or re-grout your bathroom.
Vacuum the mould
The next step is to vacuum up the mould, but your vacuum cleaner needs a good HEPA filter, otherwise you could be making the problem worse by spreading the mould around.
Remove the mould
Our experts recommend using diluted vinegar, which causes mould to overeat and die.
How to use vinegar to clean mould
- Pour a concentration of 80% vinegar to 20% water into three buckets.
- Grab a microfibre cloth, dip it into the first bucket, then use it for cleaning a patch of mould.
- The same microfibre cloth should then be rinsed in the second bucket, then rinsed again in the third to ensure cross-contamination doesn’t occur.
- Microfibre cloths, which reach deep into tiny crevices and have a slight electric charge, can be bought cheaply and washed on a hot cycle in the washing machine with vinegar up to 100 times.
- After using vinegar there may still be streaks or discoloration on surfaces which you should be able to remove with bleach.