Imagine this ugly scenario: you go to clean out under your sink one day and as you’re reaching your hand to the very back, you touch something soft and mushy. Yuck, it’s mould! A drippy faucet created the perfect breeding ground for mould, and now it’s growing in patches all over the back of your cupboard.
The last thing you want in your kitchen is mould, but getting rid of it and preventing it from coming back is a difficult task. Mould isn’t always so easy to spot as it often floats undetected in the air. If you’ve ever walked into a musty room, you’ve probably noticed the smell of mould. Breathing in small amounts of mould won’t hurt you, but as the quantity of mould in the air increases, it can cause respiratory problems and allergic reaction symptoms.
So how can you get rid of mould in your kitchen and stop it from coming back? Follow these five easy steps, and your kitchen will be mould-free!
Step 1. Determine where mould thrives
If there’s one thing mould loves, it’s moisture and humidity. Mould thrives in places where ventilation is limited, which keeps the air damp enough for it to grow. While mould can grow anywhere, it’s most often found in basements, bathrooms and, of course, the kitchen.
Take a walk around your kitchen and look for places that get wet frequently. There might be a leaky pipe under your sink, or perhaps water is getting trapped behind the sink faucet, causing mould to build up. Places that are difficult to reach, such as the tops of cabinets, tend to attract mould because moisture just sits there and is rarely disturbed.
You should be regularly checking these areas to ensure that mould doesn’t build up, but if it does, then it’s time to plan an attack.
Step 2. Gather your troops
Mould removal jobs come in all sizes, so before you begin anything, you should seek professional advice first. The mould damage may be more extensive than you know. If the problem is something manageable, then you can get rid of the mould yourself.
Always remember that mould can be dangerous and safety should come first. Be sure you have a good pair of rubber gloves on hand as well as goggles. You want to avoid skin contact with the mould if possible. You can always wear a mask over your nose and mouth to stop yourself from breathing in any spores, which can harm your lungs. The kitchen windows should also be opened to allow for ventilation. If there aren’t any windows, a small fan should suffice.
You can pick up a kitchen cleaner or a mould remover from a local store, or you can make your own cleaner. Mix 1 cup of water and one cup of bleach in a spray bottle. Arm yourself with a rag and you’re ready for battle.
Step 3. Attack!
Spray the mould and coat it entirely with your cleaner. For a cleaner purchased from a store, follow the directions on the back of the bottle to get the best results.
If you’re using the mixture we provided, you should see the mould begin to change colour. This means you’re killing the spores. You may have to spray some areas more than once if the mould spreads further or becomes resistant, but if all goes well, you can easily wipe the mould away with some paper towels.
Dispose of these paper towels carefully. You don’t want the mould to latch onto your trash bin. Wrap the paper towels in a plastic bag, throw it in the trash bin and immediately take out the trash. This gets the mould out of your kitchen and hopefully stops it from growing on your trash bin.
Step 4. Go on the offensive
Now that you’ve gotten rid of the mould, you now need to ensure that your home is protected against future attacks.
Clean your kitchen often with either a store-bought kitchen cleaner or the mixture we gave you earlier. These cleaners are designed to kill mould and stop it from coming back. They can also help reduce bacteria build-up in your kitchen, yet another thing you don’t want on your family’s dinner.
Remember to ventilate your kitchen as often as you can. Though this is sometimes difficult, especially in the cold months when you don’t want to open a window, ventilating your kitchen will keep the humidity at bay. When cooking, make sure the fan above your stove is on, and if there is no other way to get rid of humidity, install a small fan. This will keep the air in your kitchen moving and help dry up those damp areas.
Step 5. Know when you need professional help
Despite all of your hard efforts, some mould problems may be too big for you to handle. If you find yourself fighting a never-ending battle against mould, it’s time to call in some professionals to help you get the job done right.
Mould removals usually involve a small team of experts who will diagnose the cause of the mould and remove any visible mould to the best of their ability. Remember that not all mould can easily be seen. Some of it may be growing behind your drywall or underneath your tile. This can make for a very messy job so if you need to call in a professional, prepare for the worst just in case it happens.
You may also need to hire someone to fix the causes of the mould or deal with unfortunate side effects, like bugs. You might have leaky pipes that need to be replaced. Some bugs are attracted to mould and may infiltrate your house in search of the mould. Talk to your mould removal specialist to see what can be done. Though it may be costly to make these repairs, remember that you and your family’s health comes first.
Mould is not an enemy to be taken lightly, especially in the kitchen where you prepare all of your delicious meals. If you seen even the slightest hint of mould, don’t let it get out of hand. If you can catch a mould problem before it gets out of hand, you’ll save your money and your kitchen from destruction.
About the Author
Phil Watson is the Managing Director of Select Kitchens, a Melbourne based kitchen design & renovation company specialising in French Provincial Kitchens& Bathroom Renovation projects. Phil also passionately writes about kitchen design ideas – feel free to visit Phil Watson’s write-ups in the Select Kitchens blog.