You may have noticed a thin veil of mould appearing on unexpected surfaces around the home lately – the result of the constant rain and humidity creating a perfect storm for airborne spores to grow and settle.
From leather belts and shoes, to window frames and even sofas and CD cases have all been reported sites for mould to grow lately. It’s harmful to your and your pet’s health – so what can you do about it?
Clinical Associate Professor Sheryl van Nunen, a Sydney immunologist and spokesperson for the National Asthma Council, who has many patients with allergies and asthma, has some great advice about mould and mildew in the home.
“One in ten adults have asthma and one in four pre-schoolers, and this may be exacerbated by mould,” she said. “The mould causes inflammation in the respiratory tract and this can trigger rhinitis and asthma.” Here are her tips for eradication and long-term prevention.
In the garden: remove overhanging trees and branches and clear gutters to reduce the chances of water collecting in your roof. Put indoor plants outside during damp weather as they’re sources of mould.
Ventilation: constantly open doors and windows, even in winter, to get air circulating and sunshine coming into your home. Mould hates sunshine!
Use a dehumidifier to dry out the home particularly in culprit rooms like kitchens, laundries and bathrooms. Also invest in a HEPA filter on your vacuum cleaner – it has an electrostatic particle filter so dust and pollutants get stuck in the vacuum rather than being blown out the back again into the air.
De-clutter: throw out anything not regularly used, like old magazines or forgotten toys, as they’re dust-gatherers.
When cleaning away the mould: use one part white fermented vinegar to four parts warm water to wipe down all surfaces with mould, including windows, walls and ceilings. It can also be used on fabric and leather sofas, on a cloth lightly dampened with the solution, though do a small test patch on an underside area first.
Don’t use bleach: it does not kill the mould spores.
Microfibres: always use these over standard cloths to physically clean mould away as they can reach into small crevices and remove more mould.