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Published on May 23, 2017 | Updated - Jun 2, 2023
Mould is one of the toughest things to clean in your home. It’s ugly, unhealthy and can return time and time again, no matter how often you clean it.
It’s crucial to arm yourself with as much information about black mould as possible as prolonged exposure to it can be detrimental to your health.
This article contains everything you ever wanted to know about mould, including how you can prevent it in the first place and when professional mould cleaning is needed.
Here is what we’ll be covering:
While black mould is common, you may encounter different types of this fungus in your home and garden. Here are some of the different mould types.
Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries advises that slime moulds will disappear when hot or dry weather returns but can simply be brushed or hosed off.
To grow, mould needs moisture, still air, warmth and an absence of UV light, as well as a food source. It thrives in warm, moist environments, such as your bathroom or laundry.
You can only see mould after it has been there long enough to grow and is big enough to be seen by the naked eye. Once you have visible mould in your home, unfortunately, there will be more that you cannot see.
While there are the usual suspects, like finding mould in bathroom areas, chances are if it is an area that gets wet and/or is poorly ventilated, it’s prone to mould.
It can be hard to discover where mould may be hiding but if there is moisture, there is likely mould. We explain why and where below.
The mould definition most people think of when they hear the word ‘mould’ is seeing it lurking in their bathrooms. Poor ventilation combined with moisture from your shower, bath or vanity creates the perfect storm for mould spores to spurt their noxiousness into the air. Those lengthy, steamy showers create condensation – without proper ventilation, that’s an open invitation for mould to come into your home.
For mould to thrive, it needs both moisture and an environment where the relative humidity is regularly above 60% - that’s why mould is so common in this area.
This problem is generally caused when you use too much water to clean your floors. Porous grout soaks up the excess water, creating a moist environment for mould and bacteria to flourish.
If there are leaky pipes underneath, filthy sponges or pieces of cloth regularly left in the sink, or dirty dishes piled up, the kitchen sink can be prone to mould.
A mould on the ceiling problem is usually caused by insufficient insulation or rain that has snuck through the roof. Combine that with darkness and restricted ventilation and you’ve got the recipe for mould! Cleaning mould off ceiling sections can be difficult but achievable by utilising our mould treatment options at the bottom of this article.
Whether it’s water leaks or rain from your car, your garage is susceptible to mould. It is generally damp in your garage with little ventilation and often an area where water may be standing for long periods of time. Mould can also get hidden by storage boxes, old tools, or machinery.
Sure, it looks ugly and can cause damage to your home, but it has detrimental effects on your health, too.
If you have mould in your home, then it is likely to be contributing to black mould symptoms such as respiratory problems, infections, asthma and allergies.
As it grows, mould releases microscopic spores into the air, which can then be inhaled by you and your family. These spores sit in our respiratory tract and lungs and may prompt all types of reactions.
The Victorian Health Department has advised that there are people who may be prone to more severe health repercussions including those with:
We recommend liaising with your healthcare professional if you have any of the above conditions and are worried that mould symptoms may be affecting your health.
Other studies, including those cited by Asthma Australia have also shown that children who are continually exposed to mould poisoning symptoms are more likely to develop asthma.
Mould needs moisture to grow, or an environment where the relative humidity is constantly above 60%.
Knowing how to prevent mould is always better than the costs and headaches of treatment. Our recommendation is to remove or minimise how much moisture is in your home, especially if you are dealing with a mould rental property issue.
Mould is known for getting worse in winter. But why is that?
Many of our winter activities cause condensation and keep it trapped in our home, creating the perfect conditions for mould to thrive. Things like hot showers, running the dryer regularly and keeping windows and doors closed often.
If you want to know how to prevent mould on ceiling areas during winter, following the below tips will certainly help.
Here are a few things you can do.
As mould treatment experts, we know how to remove these infestations, especially bathroom mould. While some infestations require professional intervention, there are several things to do to aid you in getting rid of mould.
Use a baking soda and water paste on your grout lines, let it sit for half an hour, and scrub away. Baking soda will remove some of the moisture that encourages mould growth but doesn’t penetrate deeply enough to be highly effective. That’s where vinegar comes in.
A 1:1 mix of vinegar will work well on mould; however, we recommend it only be used on sealed grout lines. Avoid getting the mixture on the tiles themselves if they are natural stones, as vinegar’s acidity can etch over time.
Here is a mould spray we recommend for smaller mould infestations in your home on walls.
Mix a 1:1 mix of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, generously apply the mould spray onto the mould, soak for 20 minutes, rinse and wipe down thoroughly. We recommend this process be repeated the following day for effective mould treatment.
Sugar soap will do a great job of treating any remaining marks.
The vinegar mould combination works well here because vinegar has antifungal and antibacterial properties that treat almost all types of mould. Importantly, it’s better for the environment, your family and a cost-effective option.
Vinegar is a great option for removing mould from your fabrics without harmful bleach. All you need to do is create a diluted mould spray and mist on the affected area. Just make sure that you rinse off afterwards.
Knowing how to remove mould from fabric such as upholstery is a tricky business because it can be hard to know how deep into the fabric the mould has spread. Your best bet is to give Electrodry a call on 13 27 13. After providing mould cleaning Australia-wide for decades, Electrodry technicians can use specialised equipment and products to thoroughly treat all kinds of lounges. We also have the knowledge on how to clean mould off leather.
If you want to remove mould from clothes, put a cup of white vinegar into your next washing machine cycle.
The simplest option for cleaning mould is white vinegar. Vinegar is a mild acid, and it is actually effective to kill mould without bleach.
Dr Heike Neumeister-Kemp, CEO and Principal Mycologist at Mycolab, Australia’s laboratory for Environmental Mycology (mould and fungi), said using vinegar for mould is so effective because it gets to the source.
"The vinegar attacks the fungi mechanically, so it actually, via osmosis, penetrates into the structure and explodes it, so you actually kill the fungi."
Vinegar works really well because it typically comprises about 5% acidity, making it a great cleaning acid with disinfecting and antibacterial properties.
It's a smart idea to get onto mould as soon as you see it occur, as the problem can spread if not tackled early.
Knowing how to get rid of black mould naturally means you have some safer alternatives when treating mould. We recommend tea tree oil as well because it has antimicrobial properties, making it an excellent natural mould killer.
If you want to clean mould with vinegar, ensure you don’t use it frequently on natural materials like marble, as its acidity can etch the surface.
Even though it’s the key ingredient in many mould cleaning products, bleach isn’t how to remove mould. It doesn’t work and could be doing more harm than good. In fact, Consumer website Choice awarded Exit Mould a ‘Shonky’ in 2012 for falsely claiming it can remove mould from your home.
Here’s why bleach isn’t what it’s made out to be.
For generations, bleach has been the standard for cleaning mould. While the mould might look like it’s been removed, all you’ve done is take the colour out of the fuzzy stuff on top.
The mould membrane underneath is still alive and strong, spurting out mould spores, but now it can’t be seen. The mould will likely appear on the surface again very quickly!
The mould must be treated properly but you also need to identify the reason the mould has occurred in the first place.
Bleach on mould can cause structural damage to your home, slowly wearing down the protective coating of the materials you’re using it on. This is concerning if you’re using it on your grout lines – it can make your grout become more porous and even more susceptible to mould.
It has health repercussions too. A strong solution can irritate the mouth lungs and skin, and in strong enough concentrations, it can actually burn human tissue (internally and externally).
Some of our research suggests that clove oil is an excellent way to get rid of mould.
It's important to follow the safety instructions when using oil of cloves for mould.
A clove oil mould busting method works because of its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. You only need a small amount (3 drops) to around a litre of water to treat mould, but you’ll need to leave it overnight.
It’s important to note that oil of cloves will work on hard surfaces but won’t be effective on fabrics.
Here’s how to remove mould from fabric.
A leak may be the reason behind a concentrated section of the mould. You’ll need to get in touch with a builder to discuss and rectify this issue.
Your Electrodry mould cleaning technician can provide general advice, but you will need to consult a tradesperson, such as a plumber, roofer or building inspector. If you’ve discovered mould that keeps returning despite your cleaning efforts, there may be a leak on the premises. Unfortunately, your mould is going to keep returning until that leak is resolved.
Black mould removal can be difficult, particularly when it’s a more severe infestation.
Our technicians know how to clean mould because they’ve undergone accredited training and utilise specialised equipment to measure the moisture in the environment. They can also ascertain where the mould is growing behind your walls for more effective treatment.
A professional mould remediator will also treat the airborne mould spores that mould emits, which can make you unwell when inhaled.
This service is also approved by insurers, all of our technicians are qualified in mould remediation and the service itself will take just one day.
Electrodry Mould Cleaning effectively treats mould without the need for re-painting and is guaranteed to keep the mould at bay for at least 12 months (warranty conditions apply).
For the best mould remover Australia-wide, contact the Electrodry team on 13 27 13, visit our website to learn more about our mould cleaning services, or book online.