This past week has been beyond anything we could have expected, and whilst the community has rallied together to support one another in the clean up of homes heavily affected by the flooding here in the Northern Rivers, the long term effects of mould growth is one of the many things to consider. Therefore this post is directed to those affected, but can also be useful information to anyone in damper climates or similar situations.
Water damaged buildings, as well as any furniture and personal items that were affected may have varying levels of damage depending on how porous they are. Depending on one’s constitution and whether they are already more vulnerable, ensuring the immune system is able to function optimally and able to properly clear dampness and cultivate resiliency to any exposure is also an important approach to consider.
Minimising Mould Growth
When returning to a flood affected house or building, it is important to dry it out as soon as possible. This is of course dependent on the weather conditions. Optimal drying conditions include:
- Heat (27°C is ideal) - it lifts moisture off surfaces
- Dehumidify - remove moisture from the air with a dehumidifier if you can access one
- Turn on any fans to speed up evaporation
- Utilise air filters to remove fungal particulate
There can be a lot of misinformation out there about how to properly clean water damaged items or buildings. Although bleach may remove the visual presence of mould, the active spores can still remain and multiply. A simple cleaning solution to use in a spray bottle and in a well ventilated area is:
- ⅓ white vinegar
- ⅔ water
- 6 drops clove oil
- 6 drops castile soap
When cleaning rugs, upholstery etc. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, followed by cleaning with a damp micro-fiber towel (using detergent and warm water), followed again by the HEPA filter vacuum cleaner.It is of course important that any of these items are properly dried out, and if possible with sunlight.
When sorting and cleaning mouldy or water/flood damaged items or areas within the home affected, make sure you are wearing protective gear.
- PPE masks
- Protective clothing.
It’s important to protect both your lungs, as well as your eyes as mould spores are able to be absorbed through both areas of the body.
If you have the capacity, get some herbs into your system to clear the dampness and support your immune system’s resilience to mould. Qi herbs and Medicinal Mushrooms will help. Other nutrients to consider are activated charcoal, chlorophyll, glutathione and vitamin D.
If you experience any symptoms that you feel may be caused by mould exposure, check in with your health practitioner for further support.
To further educate yourself, we highly recommend listening to the free webinar provided by Dr. Sandeep Gupta and Nicole Bijilsma 'Preventing Mould After Floods and Extreme Weather'.