Top tips to stop mould and mildew for good

It might be getting hotter but it’s also getting wetter – it’s storm season and one of the best breeding

It might be getting hotter but it’s also getting wetter – it’s storm season and one of the best breeding grounds for mould is a damp, hot space.

You may have noticed you have a mould problem in your house, however mould can be lurking where you least expect it.

Aside from looking terrible, mould can cause health problems. An allergy to mould can develop as a result of exposure over an extended period of time and about 50 per cent of people who live in mouldy conditions will develop hay fever-like symptoms. Health conditions are made worse by mould as it can irritate your airways and aggravate asthma.

Many people use bleach on mould but this is not an effective solution – it tends to come back worse. The best way to treat and prevent mould is to follow the tips below.

How to find mould

Mould can grow almost anywhere that spores land and find moisture and a comfortable temperature. You can easily spot the most visible type of mould, called mildew, which begins as tiny, usually black spots but often grows into larger colonies. It’s the black stuff you see in the grout lines in your shower, on damp walls, and outdoors on the surfaces of decks, especially in damp and shady areas. A mildewed surface can be hard to distinguish from a dirty one. To test for mildew, simply dab a few drops of household bleach on the blackened area. If it lightens after one to two minutes, you have mildew. If the area remains dark, you probably have dirt.
Mould can cause rot and often you can smell it – it’s a damp, stale smell that lingers in a room, so it’s best to treat it ASAP once you know you have it.

Before you start

Sort mouldy items into non-porous (hard plastics, wood, steel), semi-porous (walls and surfaces) and super-porous (clothes, carpet, paper, furniture).

Throw out anything that is super-porous and covered in mould – it’ll be hard to restore it, unless you have your carpet professionally cleaned.

DIY mould solutions

Vinegar solution


  1. Pour a concentration of 80% vinegar to 20% water into three buckets
  2. Grab a microfibre cloth, dip it into the first bucket and clean a patch of mould
  3. Rinse the cloth in the second bucket, and rinse again in the third
  4. Repeat until all mould is cleaned off
  5. Wipe areas with dry microfibre cloth when finished

Tea tree oil


  1. Add 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil to a spray bottle filled with water
  2. Spray on problem areas and do not rinse
  3. Wipe areas with dry microfibre cloth when finished

Grapefruit seed extract

If you don’t like the smell of tea tree oil, grapefruit seed is just as effective.


  1. Add 20 drops grapefruit seed extract to a spray bottle filled with water
  2. Spray on problem areas and do not rinse
  3. Wipe areas with dry microfibre cloth when finished

Bi-carb soda

You can use bi-carb with vinegar too.


  1. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of baking soda into water and spray onto surface.
  2. Let it sit, then scrub and wipe with a damp cloth.
  3. Wipe areas with dry microfibre cloth when finished


You don’t need to use an expensive vodka for this solution.


  1. Put half a cup of vodka into a spray bottle and add a little water.
  2. Spritz the vodka straight on mould and leave on.
  3. Use a rag or sponge to wipe away the mould.
  4. Wipe areas with dry microfibre cloth when finished


  • Invest in a dehumidifier for damp areas – these can be bought from cheap stores for around $2. You’ll be amazed how much moisture they will gather.
  • Fix any leaks in a room or gaps in floor boards.
  • Let in fresh air and sunlight – open some windows even in colder months.
  • Keep clothes and other fabrics dry – don’t leave on the line all week in the rain.

Tell us, do you have mould? What solution has worked best for you?

  1. Thankyou , I needed this , I have a leak in my roof , and I can’t find it

  2. I have my kitchen, bedroom, toilet and bathroom windows open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. The back door is also open all the time. This allows fresh air to circulate all the time and keeps mould away. I use good old fashioned mothballs in my clothes and linen cupboards and open the doors for 24 hours once a week.
    I live in an area that gets minus 4 and 5c in winter and lots of heavy frosts but I don’t get mould or mildew.
    Prevention is better than cure.

  3. I like the vodka solution best. just drink the vodka and you won’t care less about the mould

  4. I find the best thing ever is:
    Half a teaspoon pure clove oil in one litre of water & put in a spray bottle. This KILLS the spores. Best thing after our big flood in Toowoomba

  5. Sydney ppl. Reject shop has the best bleach that kills mould.. cheap too

    • Dianne  

      Bleach doesn’t actually kill mould, it just colours it white so that you can’t see it. Soon it comes through the bleach again in the same spot, You need to use oil of cloves to kill mould and prevent it recurring for about 3 months. All you need is 1/4 tspn oil in 1 litre of water, sprayed on the mould. Done!!

  6. I have always used the oil of cloves solution recommended by Sheila and it is magic. Seems to stop mould coming back too.

  7. Open the windows and doors as much as possible..
    Woolies mould wipes ..Works a treat….
    I had a small area on ceiling in bedroom 3 years ago GONE !!!

  8. The Clove oil solution that Sheila Boreland above described works up here in Cairns (and it did when we lived in Darwin too)… as it kills the spores it prevents the return of the mould ….

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