Green Goddess: Mold and mildew

Long Lunch 26/06/2018
Photo: Stock

Green Goddess, preventing mould and mildew by Wendyl Nissen.

We spend a lot of time wondering what to do about mould in our bathrooms, when it can be really easy to prevent it from growing in the first place. Next time you are in your bathroom, look at ways you can ventilate it to stop a build-up of moisture and warmth, which mould spores love.

Here are some tips to reduce mould growth in your bathroom.

  • Keep windows open as much as possible. Opening them while having a shower or bath and leaving them open allows much of the steam to escape.

  •  Leave your bathroom door open so that the damp air can beexchanged with the rest of the air in the house.

  • Sunlight dries and airs, so let as much of it in as you can by opening windows and pulling back curtains and blinds.

  • After a shower, leave the shower door open to allow the shower to air out.

  • By all means get a dehumidifier, but please run it on a timer,not all day.

  • If you have heated towel rails, throwing your damp towel straight onto them just creates even more damp air. Wait until your bathroom has dried out before placing towels on a heated towel rail. Better still, do what Nana did and take your towels out into the sun to dry.

  • Wipe down showers and walls after your shower. It’s really easy to remember to do if you leave a cloth hanging in the shower.You also have to clean the shower less.

  • Every week after cleaning the bathroom, spray the walls, ceilings and floors with Wendyl’s mould magic (recipe below).


Mould and mildew preventers:
There is no need to rush off to the supermarket and buy a bottle full of bleach to spray all over your bathroom if mould is a problem. Simply make a thick paste of baking soda and water and get scrubbing with a toothbrush in the grouting, or with a good cloth if the mould is on the walls and ceilings. You can also mix baking soda with a small amount of liquid soap if you prefer a soapier feel while you are scrubbing. Wipe off with a rag dipped in vinegar. Alternatively, throw a cup of baking soda into a bucket of warm water and use that. When you are finished let the bathroom dry out and then apply one of these mould preventers. I use a spray on my bathroom twice a year, once just before winter and once in the middle of the humid summers we get in Auckland. It kills the mould spores so efficiently I rarely have any mould grow back.

2 cups water
20 drops lemon essential oil
20 drops lavender essential oil
20 drops tea-tree essential oil
Fill a spray bottle with water, add the essential oils and shake. Spray where mould and mildew are likely to grow and leave it there. Don’t wipe or rinse off, just let it dry and give it a helping hand by opening windows and doors.

50 g borax
300 ml white vinegar
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and apply to cleaned walls. Leave for 30 minutes before wiping off.

1 litre water
1 tsp clove oil
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray onto surface and leave for as long as possible. This combination is good for removing mould from bathrooms and wooden decks.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.