Unless you’ve been totally out of the loop, you know that vast areas of Australia have been experiencing record amounts of rain and widespread flooding. As well as the water and the damage it causes, there’s another problem to deal with - mould. In fact, it can be a problem anywhere that’s been exposed to dampness.
Here are 5 things you need to know – and need to do – if mould invades your home:
#1 Mould is a living thing
It’s a type of fungus (sometimes referred to as mildew) that reproduces and spreads by shedding tiny spores into the environment. You probably won’t notice it at first but when it starts to grow on walls or floors, or in the fibres of carpets, damp clothes or couches, the musty smell will probably hit you first. Then you’ll see it. It’s often yellowish or brown and looks like a spreading stain.
What to do: Deal with it straight away - it grows quickly!
#2 Mould LOVES damp conditions
Mould spores are always around, but they need moisture to reproduce and if it’s also quite warm they spread like crazy! Mould will appear as early as 24-48 hours after areas are affected by damp.
What to do: After the water’s gone, it’s important to dry everything out as fast as you can. Keep the humidity as low as possible (ideally between 30% and 50%). Some thermometers (available for just a few dollars) also have humidity sensors. And don’t forget to let that sunshine in, whenever possible!
#3 You CAN get rid of the smell
Luckily, it’s not difficult to get rid of that musty, mouldy odour. Just don’t stop there.
What to do: A few sprays of your favourite Mask Air Freshener will let you breathe easy again! (Hint: nothing says fresh and dry like Baby Powder). When you can, also let in some fresh, dry air to ventilate the house. But don’t forget - the smell might be gone but the problem is probably still there.
#4 You must stop it in its tracks
Given the right conditions, mould will continue to grow – especially in places it has already found.
What to do: Throw away any badly affected items. Use a dehumidifier or a powerful fan to get rid of moisture in the air which will make it difficult for mould to thrive. Don’t leave any damp clothes, fabrics or other natural materials lying around. Treat floors, walls and other surfaces with an anti-mould product or household disinfectant. You can alternatively, make your own natural treatment by filling a 750 ml spray bottle with white vinegar and add 20-30 drops of clove or tea-tree oil.
#5 Mould can make you sick
If someone at your place is sensitive to mould, touching it or inhaling the spores can cause itchy dry skin, sneezing and coughing, a runny nose, headaches or irritated eyes and throat. Mould allergies, or exposure to some toxic moulds, can lead to even more serious symptoms.
What to do: Avoid contact with mould and use a mask and gloves when treating it. Investigate any ongoing symptoms you suspect are associated with mould. Spray and wipe down any surfaces that are frequently damp with one of our delicious Hand and Surface Sanitisers - it will kill germs, deter mould and give you a burst of fragrance – all in one hit!
Mould is a menace. To eliminate it from your life, take a no-mercy approach and use these top tips to stay safe.