Most of us walk past a small patch of mould growth and won’t even give it a second thought. “I’ll deal with that later”. I do this myself, on a daily basis, in my own home, and I’m a mould inspector!
So why do we just accept mould as an inevitable part of our lives. Well, actually that’s not such a bad thing to do. We will never entirely eradicate mould from our lives; and we wouldn’t want to either. Most mould that we encounter in our homes is “environmental mould” that is generated from outdoors. It has an important job to do out there by helping to break down and decompose dead organic material; and we can’t live without that.
So, what to do about it when it starts growing indoors? Well, the simple answer is “Get Serious About It”. I don’t mean that you should get seriously worried about it or throw away squillions of dollars on professional mould remediators. Equally, the easy alternative, which is to buy some “mould remover” at the local supermarket, is not the solution either. You are of course welcome to keep buying “mould remover” and spray away until the end of time, but you won’t take away the reason for the mould growth. That takes a bit more persistence. It’s a matter of treating the cause, not the symptoms.
Mould is something that you need to deal with in a methodical way. You need to “out-think” mould. If you persist and do it right, then it won’t come back. So, to out-think mould you need to first understand what mould is looking for. If I am a new arriving mould spore then I am not here to ruin your life and destroy your possessions, I just want to live somewhere suitable and raise my spores. I need a moisture source to help me to start growing. I don’t need water because high humidity will do for now.
I would prefer a warm place and a local nutrient source is a “nice to have” but not necessary, I can deal with that later. Darkness is not necessarily my friend, but I may as well be a vampire where sunlight is concerned. I don’t so much as get cancer from sunlight, rather I get death.
Something that can be difficult to understand about me is that I am not a single organism. So if you attack and kill me in one place, then I am completely reassured that my spores, which are a part of me, have already been dispersed to other locations, and I can simply continue to live over there, as me. I probably also have some hyphal filaments (like roots) buried deep in my substrate that you can’t reach, so I can just wait and re-grow from here too.
There are a few things that I really can’t deal with at all. One thing is a complete lack of moisture, but if I see this coming I can get my spores ready to fly off to other parts. There are several other “physical/chemical” conditions that I can’t deal with. Alcohol will pickle me like it would any other organism. If you add water to your alcohol then it will make my cells explode. Similar, if you spray vinegar on me I go into a kind of feeding frenzy and my cells explode again. There are some very nasty bio-enzymes that make us dissolve. These have come on the market in the last few years and we are very worried about this development.
Please bleach me you fools. I love this one. So many of you spray bleach on me and make me invisible by taking my colour away (melanin), and I just recover naturally and get back on with life. We are really fortunate that humans are lazy and just want to spray on. Thank the mould gods that you don’t wipe as well. Elbow grease is 90% of cleaning and you could wipe out most of us if you just used a damp cloth.
There are heaps of other silly chemicals you guys keep throwing at me, but you don’t get it that I have exo-enzymes and that means I can deal with any chemical or substance outside my body before I bring it in, and I can select the good things to bring in and leave the bad stuff outside. This is one of my great claims to fame, but not many of you know about it. I don’t know how much money you guys spend on fancy chemicals, but we all have bit of a laugh about it. The biggest laugh we get is when you try to use gas or fogging to kill us. You are never going to reach into our substrate by doing that.
Ok, so, back to the human realm. How do we deal with mould growth effectively? Well if we keep spraying “mould killer” (AKA Chlorine Bleach) on it, then it won’t really be affected. If you have to, then get a spray bottle with 80% vinegar (naturally brewed) or 70% methylated spirits and go to town on that mould. It won’t fix the underlying cause, but at least it will kill the growth. And it you add the use of a Damp cloth to the spray bottle, and then you will likely get 99% of the mould right there and then.
Otherwise you might need to get a bit “medieval” on the mould. If it has driven itself deep within the substrate, then the only thing that will help is aggressive mechanical drying and/or removal of the building material(s). This can mean cutting out a piece of Gyprock, removing plaster board, scraping the paint back, replacing carpet or lifting or removing other building materials so you can get at the mould source and dry out the moisture. If there is an underlying moisture source, then fix it. The good news is that once this is done, the cause of the problem will be fixed forever.
This is the easy way of dealing with mould. A bit more input at the beginning, but if you do the job right, then this is much easier in the long run.