By Amy Stitt
The Central Coast boasts stunning beaches and landscapes where you can enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. However, like many coastal areas, it is susceptible to a common nuisance that can plague our homes: mould. The presence of this insidious substance can be a real challenge, but with some practical recommendations and lifestyle tips I hope to reduce the risk of microbial growth within the homes on the central coast. My name is Amy Stitt and I have personally overcome mould illness and honed my expertise in managing allergies. My journey led me to become a certified Mould Testing Technician and a Building Biology student.
One of the primary demographics that seeks my assistance consists of concerned parents whose children exhibit mould–related health symptoms or have received a mould–related diagnosis. Recognising the importance of addressing this issue, I am here to offer you a few practical tips on how to identify, remove, and prevent mould in your home, ensuring healthier and safer environment for your family.
To begin, it is important to understand that mould thrives in environments that contain sources of moisture and a food source. Simple factors such as condensation on your windows and the accumulation of dirt and dust within your home can create ideal conditions for mould growth. Now, let’s delve into three tips that will help you identify the presence of mould:
The odour arises from the release of microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) into the indoor environment. It serves as an unmistakable indicator of a mould problem within your home.
If you notice visible patches of mould, it’s highly likely that there is a more extensive infestation within your indoor environment.
Cracked or peeling paint
Often, cracked or peeling paint can signify underlying moisture issues and potentially hidden mould growth.
By paying attention to these signs, you can catch the problem early on and take appropriate action.
Now that we’ve discussed how to identify mould, let’s explore three effective methods for removing it:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Before embarking on any mould removal endeavour, it is essential to prioritise your safety. Always wear appropriate PPE, such as gloves, goggles, and at a minimum an N95 mask, to protect yourself from mould spores.
If the visible mould covers an area smaller than an A4 sheet of paper, you can attempt to remove it yourself with a basic warm soapy water solution using basic detergent, use a microfibre cloth to clean and dry tea towel to completely dry the area. However, for larger areas, it is advisable to seek the expertise of an IICRC Mould Remediator as they have specialty training to safely and effectively remove mould.
Natural cleaning solutions
I recommend avoiding “mould killer” products, which may contain harsh chemicals, and try a warm soapy water mixture instead.
Finally, let’s explore three preventive measures that will assist you in minimizing the recurrence of mould in your home:
Adequate airflow is essential for preventing mould growth. As humans, we generate several litres of water vapour daily through activities like showering and cooking. To prevent moisture build up, ensure proper ventilation by allowing this moisture to escape your home within 24–48 hours.
Use them! Maximize the use of exhaust fans during cooking and showering, and continue to run them for at least 10 minutes afterward. This practice aids in expelling excess moisture, reducing the chances of mould growth.
A cluttered home not only restricts air flow, but also promotes the accumulation of dust and dirt. When combined with high relative humidity, a cluttered home becomes a conducive environment for mould. By decluttering, you further reduce the chance of microbial growth.
After a 3–year battle with health symptoms ranging from itchy eyes and skin rashes to light sensitivity and fatigue, Amy Stitt discovered the culprit, hidden mould in her cute coastal apartment. Within a week she ended up in hospital with no choice but to pack up her young family and move to a house with better ventilation that was carpet free so she could begin to rebuild her immune system. With the help of integrated practitioners to assist with a body detox, she also had to sort through all of her belongings which included a gruelling cleaning process and discarding many contaminated items. Amy has turned her struggle into a career where she can help others create a healthy indoor environment for them to thrive in.