During the wet summer months, high humidity and heavy rains can lead to mould in any areas of your home that are affected by moisture. A popular natural cleaning remedy for this is clove oil. But before you get to work mixing up your own clove oil solution, here are six things to know.
1. Why clove oil works to kill mould
One of the main reasons oil of clove is a popular mould remover is that it actually kills the spores, rather than just bleaching and hiding them. If you only bleach the mould, all the health risks (including allergies and asthma problems) will still be there whether you can see the mould or not, and it is likely to grow back in a few days.
2. Safety first
Similar to other essential oils, it’s important to follow the safety instructions when using clove oil. Although it’s natural, it can still cause skin irritations and some people may have an allergic reaction. It should be kept away from children and those on blood thinning medication shouldn’t use it.
3. Avoid touching mould
Inhaling mould spores can be dangerous, especially for those that suffer from asthma, so wear gloves and a mask when cleaning it and avoid handling mouldy items directly.
4. Get the right mix
Cleaning expert and co-author of Spotless, Shannon Lush, recommends oil of clove for cleaning mould from hard surfaces. She suggests you first clean the surfaces with a mixture of 4 litres of hot water, 1 tablespoon bicarb of soda and half a cup of vinegar. Then, mix a quarter teaspoon of clove oil per litre of water, put it in a spray bottle, lightly mist on mouldy surface. Leave for 20 minutes and wipe off. Spray again and leave. It will take between 24-48 hours for the mould spores to dry and drop off.
5. Turn to chalk
To counter mould in homes, put a few drops of pure clove oil on jumbo sticks of blackboard chalk, then place or hang them in cupboards around the house and allow the scent to waft around killing mould spores. Add a few more drops of oil every month or so once the scent has disappeared. This avoids spraying any more moisture in an already moist house.
6. Get to the source
While clove oil has been long recommended for killing mould spores, Nicole Bijlsma, naturopath and IICRC accredited mould remediation technician, says she doesn’t recommend it because the focus should be on the cause of the mould growth which is moisture. Regardless of whether you use clove oil to kill mould, it is still important to address the root cause of moisture such as excessive condensation, inadequate ventilation, inappropriate drainage, plumbing or roof leaks, flooding or high humidity. To rid mould from hard surfaces, she recommends an 80% white vinegar to 20% water mix with a microfibre cloth which is either discarded after use or rinsed twice (in two separate buckets – one with 50:50 white vinegar to water ratio and the other with just clean water) to prevent re-contamination. See the link to Nicole’s blog below for more information.