LIFE IN THE TROPICS: Residents throughout the Whitsundays are getting ready to tackle the annual problem of mould.
LIFE IN THE TROPICS: Residents throughout the Whitsundays are getting ready to tackle the annual problem of mould. Georgia Simpson

Be prepared to take on mould

VINEGAR and clove oil are flying off the shelves, as residents of the tropics enter the yearly mould combat.

There are varying opinions on what to do about mould: some swear by clove oil, others recommend usual household cleaning products, many say vinegar, and long-term residents says mould-affected items should be discarded.

Mould expert Leigh Winsor said mould could be removed, but because mould spores were everywhere, it was likely to return, "particularly up here in the north"

"(With) fans going, doors and windows open to keep that breeze flowing through... you've got microscopic spores coming in from outside, being spread around by the fan," Dr Winsor told the Whitsunday Times.

Mould need four factors to grow: spores, moisture, warmth and nutrients.

Aside from good ventilation, Dr Winsor said vinegar and elbow grease was the most efficient way to kill mould.

He said three buckets, vinegar, a microfibre cloth and gloves were needed.

"The first bucket will have eight parts vinegar and two parts water," he said.

"The second bucket will have half water half vinegar and the third bucket will just have water.

"You then need to take your cloth in a systematic way, wiping in the same direction, so you don't spread the mould.

"Rinse your cloth out in the second bucket, and then again in the third before you repeat the process."

 

Dr Winsor said mould under a microscope can be
Dr Winsor said mould under a microscope can be "beautiful”, mimicking a garden, with the surface the mould grows on representing the soil. "The fungi then represents the plants, and there is the fungal equivalent of flowers, grass, weeds and so on,” he said. Pictured is Aspergillus glaucus; A stained preparation under a high power research microscope. Picasa

Dr Winsor said if vinegar was unavailable, Napisan was also effective, and that clove oil was a matter of personal preference.

"It's great on surfaces like carpets, and objects where it won't really show," he said.

"But it's oil, and oil isn't water soluble, so if it's sprayed onto a surface with water and not cleaned off properly, over time yellow spots will appear. It can also be expensive."

He stressed the importance of cleaning filters and vanes on air conditioners.

"Mould spores are present in dust, and will grow on dusty filters and other surfaces where dust has accumulated," he said.


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