With the persistent rain, floods and humidity in recent months, many people are concerned about the presence of mould in their homes.
Moulds are found almost everywhere inside and outside, but if there is visible mould on surfaces inside your home, these could be a health risk.
“For some people moulds can cause health problems, causing symptoms such as a
runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, and asthma-like problems or respiratory infections,” explains Dr Paul Douglas, Director of North Coast Public Health Unit.
The symptoms depend on the amount of airborne mould spores a person is exposed to, and how sensitive they are to moulds. Removing all soft or absorbent porous materials with mould growth on them is an important first step in addressing mould problems in your home. Cleaning all mould affected surfaces inside the house is the next thing to do to reduce people’s exposure to mould.
“Before cleaning up mould you should protect yourself by wearing gloves, clothing that covers exposed skin, safety glasses, enclosed footwear and a respirator or face mask to protect yourself from the mould spores,” Dr Douglas said.
“When mould is touched or disturbed, many tiny spores are released, which you may not see or be aware that you’re inhaling. Many household cleaning products can clean off mould if used correctly so check the label for correct use.
“After cleaning the mouldy area, wipe it with clean water and dry. Never mix cleaning chemicals.”
Some hints to assist in managing mould problems:
- For routine clean-up of mouldy surfaces, use mild detergent or vinegar diluted in water solution (4 parts vinegar to 1 part water).
- If the mould is not readily removed and the item cannot be discarded, use diluted bleach solution (250mls of bleach in 4 litres of water) to clean the surface. When using bleach, protective equipment is recommended: PVC or nitrate rubber gloves, safety glasses, and safety shoes. Make sure the area is well-ventilated while you are cleaning with bleach.
- Ensure the surface is dried completely once cleaned.
- Absorbent materials or materials where persistent mould re-growth occurs, such as carpet, may need to be professionally cleaned or replaced as they may be contaminated with mould.
“Don’t forget, the earlier you remove mould, the easier it is to get under control. If you have further questions about managing mould in your home, please contact your local Council, the Public Health Unit or a cleaning professional,” Dr Douglas added.
Further NSW Health information on mould can be found here: