CHENNAI: In the aftermath of the floods, wet walls and moist clothing may be the least of your worries. But here’s the thing. You could be in for a nasty case of ‘mould’ spreading through your house if you don’t act quickly. From yellowing patches on wooden furniture to spores spreading quickly on a T shirt, start paying close attention to your surroundings, doctors caution.
“The last thing you want to do is dust it off, even though that would be the easiest option,” advises wellness doctor, Wasim Mohideen. The reason, he elaborates, is because it can cause respiratory problems. He recommends that residents use a dry cloth to wipe the mould from a wall or wooden surface, and add a dash of vinegar to the cloth before wiping again. This would prevent it from regrowing.
Moving on from your nose to your pores, the thought of wearing mouldy clothes is perhaps more icky than dangerous. Contrary to what you might have heard, dermatologist S Murugusundram of the Chennai Skin Foundation says you can get away with wearing clothing that has mould on it, without contracting a skin infection. “It isn’t contagious,” he clarifies. “But wearing wet clothes, on the other hand, is more likely to cause a fungal infection because of prolonged exposure to moisture.”
To effectively wash the mossy green off your clothes, Deepa Premnath, a partner at Elegant Laundry, tells us the key is to always use medium-heat to hot water. After this, she adds, “Use a strong bleach for whites and just a bleach accompanied by vinegar or baking soda for regular clothing.”
Deepa also urges you to dry your clothes under sunlight. “If you dry it under a fan, the residual dampness could make the mould cycle repeat all over again,” she says.
Of course, before you get to your cupboards, you have to get through the furniture. And for those who haven’t been home in a while and have returned to find more of this mossy growth than they can handle, perhaps it’s best you say goodbye to your beloved sofa or family dining table.
“That’s what I’ve advised some of my clients in Kotturpuram, who are refurnishing their ground floor residences,” admits interior designer Sarojini Ajit.
Looks like the motto here is if you can’t beat it, dump it!
The Do’s and Don’ts With Mould
- Mould dusts off easily, but then you can breathe it in causing a lot of respiratory problems. So, resist the temptation to wipe it off or dust it off.
- Remove mould is a simple two-step process. Mix 2 tsp cloth detergent in a mug of water (quite concentrated). Dip a clean cloth in it and use that to wipe the mould off the wood/wall etc. When the place is clean, use a ‘clean dry’ cloth (do not use the same cloth or a wet cloth) to wipe the area again.
- Step 2 is equally important to prevent it from regrowing quickly. If it grows back after a week, then it means that there is dampness in the air/room so you have to redo this. If it grows back within 48 hours, then move to step three.
- Buy white vinegar (available for Rs 50 in most department stores). Dip the cloth in vinegar and wipe off first, followed by the detergent wipe and then the dry cloth wipe.
(Contributed by Dr Wasim Mohideen)