My home currently has mould in it. If it’s not mould, it’s something that smells horrible – to the point where we can’t go in one room and I’m going to need the mask to remove the furniture and stuff that’s in there. All that stuff is going to have to be stored in the garage.
We’re pretty lucky, I guess. We have somewhere else to store the things that are in there (although it means the car has to stay outside) and I know how to clean the furniture to minimise the chances of mould infestation, and when it stops raining (if!) the clothes can all be washed and hung in the sun to dry. We don’t actually have anyone living in that room. If we did, they’d be sleeping in the lounge or something. But I can sympathise with those families who don’t have any spare room.
Having had to face the prospect of throwing out over 300 books (again, because of mould) and how to clean the soft furniture such as lounge suite, mattresses, chairs etc, as well as the huge task of cleaning wardrobes, chests of drawers, tables… you name it… I can also sympathise that it IS a huge task. And when you’ve got mould in your house, and it’s raining, and maybe some of the family or pets are sick, a monumental cleaning task is NOT something you want to hear or think about. I hear you! I’m feeling exactly that way too.
So what can you do?
Well, it’s something like eating an elephant, apparently. One bite at a time. Start with finding the source of the water – you have to stop that, or it’ll all come back. If that means closing the windows while it’s raining, so be it. At least mostly close them.
Then start with one room. Or even one corner of one room. One drawer, even. This may be a good time to sort through everything and declutter as well as clean. If you can do the whole chest of drawers at once, that’s excellent. Clean off the furniture while everything’s out – the inside, the outside, underneath, inside and outside of every drawer… everything. A cloth that’s damp, with a mixture of 70% vinegar and water will work well. You can add oil of cloves or tea tree or lavender oil to that, but the main thing is to make sure every surface is wiped clean.
There is no magic potion that will fix mould. You must physically remove it. (Think of it like cat hair – you can kill it as much as you like, but unless you remove it, it will continue to get up your nose and make you sneeze. And mould is much much nastier than cat hair, believe me!)
If the furniture is chipboard or mdf, vacuuming might be a better option – you don’t want to get those wet, even dampness isn’t recommended.
Once you’ve cleaned the furniture, and the clothes have been through the wash (soft toys can go in the wash too) and hung out to dry in the sun, then clean the walls and floor where the furniture lives or put it in another room, replace the clothes and toys. Then take another bite… move onto another spot.
I know it seems like a lot, but every bit of mould you remove is helping.
If the entire room is covered in mould, you probably want to wear a mask – P3 is the best kind (you can get these from a hardware or safety store). At the very least, wear disposable gloves, and wash your hands and clothing thoroughly after you’re done. If it’s the entire room, then open the windows. Have a fan facing the open window – the idea is to get the mould out of the room. Don’t face it towards the rest of the house.
Take regular breaks, and go for a gentle walk out in a park, or around your block. The idea here is to make sure you’re getting clean air into your lungs. Aim to be outside for at least five minutes for every half an hour cleaning.
Don’t panic, and don’t despair! You can do this, it will get better.
Tell us your mould story below.
Queensland's leading Building Biologist, helping you to detox your home or workplace and achieve a balance between today's busy & techno-dependent life and nature.