Why you Need Tea Tree Oil in the Home
With the rain and heat of the past couple of months, it is ideal conditions for the growth of mould and mildew, and we offer helpful advice on ridding your home of mould.
Rainy season and warm weather combined are the ideal conditions for mould and mildew infestation. The microscopic spores are always looking for the perfect place to set up home and that is usually in a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. They can quickly infect damp clothing and fabrics as well.
I have previously posted on how you should not use bleach on mould, but you can use bleach for any mildew around the home. Why is this and why can you not use household bleach on mould? To properly understand this, we look at the difference between mould and mildew and how you can identify what is in your home.
To treat mildew or mould, act immediately even if it is only a small spot, as the spores will soon infest the surrounding areas, making it harder to get rid of.
Mould or Mildew?
Both mould and mildew are microscopic fungi - tiny spores that can be found in the air. These spores are always on the lookout for moist (damp) and humid environments where they can colonize and set up home. The main difference between mould and mildew is that mildew sits on top of a surface while mould embeds itself into the surrounding material on order to set up a colony.
Since mould and mildew have a similar look and smell, how do you tell the difference between the two? As mentioned above, mildew sits on top of surfaces and has a powdery texture and is white or yellowy-grey when it starts, changing to a black colour over time. The colour of mould can be almost any colour depending on the type but the most harmful type of mould to find in a home is black mould. Mould does not sit flat on the surface but rather embeds itself into the material and has a fluffy appearance.
Knowing the difference between mildew and mould will help you to successfully rid a house of either. If you are still unable to identify whether you have mould or mildew, treat the infestation as if it was mould.
• How to Treat Mildew
If you know that the infestation you have is mildew, this can be easily cleaned and removed using household bleach and a scrubbing brush. This treatment applies to mildew on windows, around skirting boards, in a bathroom, kitchen or laundry. Should mildew occur on a carpet, rug or curtains, it is safer to use Tea Tree Oil to disinfect and clean. Mix 10 drops of Tea Tree oil with one litre of clean water and spray onto the infected area.
If left untreated, mould will quickly take hold and spread to other areas around the original infection site and may be difficult to reach if it has spread to areas behind tiles or in gaps around bathroom fittings where there is no sealer, or the sealer as failed.
• How to Treat Mould
Both mildew and mould can be aggressive once they take hold and immediate action is warranted to prevent further growth. At the first sign of mould, no matter how insignificant, treat immediately by using a spray bottle containing 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil to a litre of clean water. Spray the infected area and leave for about 30 minutes until it is absorbed into the porous material, usually grout but it can also be wood, sealer or fabric. After 30 minutes, rise clean. Repeat this process for a couple of days to ensure that the spores deep in the surrounding areas have been 100% killed off.
- Always apply a sanitary silicone sealer around sanitary fittings such as showers, sinks or basins, baths and toilet, or anywhere else that requires a waterproof seal around it.
- If you see that any sealer is started to peel away, remove this immediately and apply a new layer of sanitary silicone sealer.
- Should any signs of mould or mildew occur, even if it is only a small spot, take action immediately.
- Where mould has progressed to behind tiles or countertops, into shower doors or around the side of a bathtub, you may need to call in professionals to remove the mould colony. Since mould spores multiply with the size of a colony, these can be harmful if breathed in and cause respiratory issues.