Treating mould in your home
Last published 10 Nov 2017
How to safely get rid of mould and stop it from coming back
How to prevent mould
Mould is a type of fungus that lives in warm, moist conditions. It grows in damp, dark and poorly ventilated areas at home like bathrooms and kitchens, or cluttered storage or basement areas.
Things that help stop mould
There are a number of steps you can take that will prevent mould growing in your home.
- Open windows and doors to let fresh air in and reduce humidity.
- Open blinds and curtains during the day to let sunlight in.
- Turn on the exhaust fan or open a window in the bathroom, laundry and kitchen to get rid of steam.
- Wipe down tiles to clean off soap scum that mould feeds on.
- Wipe away any moisture on your windows and walls to keep the inside of your home dry.
- Dry your clothes and shoes before you put them away.
- Air out wardrobes and cupboards regularly.
- Use moisture absorbers in basements, wardrobes and closed-off rooms.
The best way to stop mould from growing is to let in fresh air and light, clean regularly and control moisture in your home.
Things that help mould grow
- Indoor plants like ferns need moist air, so choose low-water varieties like succulents for around the house.
- Fish tanks add moisture to the air, especially tropical fish tanks.
- Portable heaters (kerosene or unflued gas heater) give off moisture and gas, always ventilate the area.
- Leaking taps and pipes encourage mould, especially in closed areas like cabinets.
Rising damp is moisture from the ground travelling up into your home through the bricks or stone in walls. If you suspect that rising damp is causing a mould problem in your home, report it right away. If you live in community housing, contact your housing provider to report severe mould problems.
How to remove mould
Regular vacuuming, dusting and cleaning in kitchens and bathrooms helps prevent mould. The earlier you find and remove mould, the easier it is to keep it under control. It’s much harder to remove mould once it takes hold.
Never dry brush a mouldy area or item of clothing as this can release spores into the air that spread the mould further and can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
High-priced specialty mould removers can contain chlorines and bleaches, which are hazardous if used improperly. They may also only bleach the mould instead of killing it, which means the problem will keep coming back.
Use a mild detergent like sugar soap and a microfibre cloth to clean mould off walls, floors and tiles. Make sure to dry the area thoroughly after wiping mould off surfaces.
Using white vinegar to kill mould
If cleaning with detergent doesn’t work, it’s possible to remove mould using diluted vinegar and a microfibre cloth.
If mould cannot be removed using the vinegar method, cleaning with diluted bleach or a commercial product may be required. Ensure you protect your skin, eyes and clothes from chemicals, and always make sure there is plenty of fresh air in the area by opening a window and turning on exhaust fans. Follow the directions on the packaging carefully.
If a room needs professional treatment to get rid of mould from walls and carpeting or needs to be repainted, please call your local office. If you live in community housing, contact your housing provider to report severe mould problems.