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The Laundry and Mould

What does mould need to thrive? A warmth moist environment and something to cling to. It is no wonder then that that the laundry and dirty clothes hampers, in fact, are the perfect regions for mould to grow, as they commonly provide mould spores daily access to a lavish supply of decaying organic material such as dirt, dust, urine, hair, body oils, sweat, food, etc to feed on and, as well as generally being a moist environment.

With all that being said, your chances of acquiring mould growth in your laundry or dirty clothes hampers are especially high. Sometimes depending on the climate that you reside in, having mould come into your home through your laundry can be a constant battle, especially in the higher humidity climates or in homes that have moisture issues.
Even if a home does not suffer from moisture issues, the usual mundane daily tasks performed within your laundry could be inviting and maintaining mould growth.

What do you do with your dirty clothes?

When your family removes their soiled clothes, what do they do with them? Do they sit in a heap in the corner of a room? On the floor of the bathroom? Get pushed under the bed or shoved to the bottom the wardrobe? Or do they all comply and pop it in the designated laundry hamper?

No matter where the clothes are placed, the important part is what state the dirty clothes were left in when they were placed there and how long it took for them to make it to the washing machine!

Dirty washing can be soiled with food

You may have mopped up a milk spill with a towel. Your child may have spilled their weetbix all over their pjs at breakfast. You may have accidentally dumped your coffee all down your shirt first thing this morning…. You get the idea… If this happens, throw it in the wash that day, not at the end of the week.

Dirty washing can be soiled with sweat

Mould loves bodily fluids… Yes. So those gym clothes need to be washed TODAY. Those sweaty work clothes need to be washed as soon as possible, and yes the kids sweaty school uniforms need to go into the machine at your earliest convenience. While these things may not feel damp to touch, bundling them up and letting them sit in the hamper for a few days is not a good idea.

Dirty washing can be wet

Your toddler may have wet their pants, or a wet towel may be sitting at the bottom of the basket from this mornings shower. More and more items could end up piled up on top of this and the items on the bottom stay wet. The wet items will likely be forgotten about and end up being left to become a mould-breeding playground.

Within the clothes hamper

Moist laundry or severely soiled laundry thrown into the hamper, or piled onto the floor somewhere can cause a spot of trouble. This is because as mentioned, more and more dirty items are usually piled on top and that towel that was put in early this morning never dries!

Some days life is busy, crazy even, and you may not be able to put a wash on every day. Yes, guarantee more often than not that wet towel will be forgotten about. Sometimes that wet or soiled item may be a different fabric or colour that can’t be washed with other items. That may mean you will have to delay its washing even further.

It is also important to look at the hamper itself when you take the items out. Is there any excess moisture that needs removing with a cloth? If it’s fabric, does it need a run through the machine also? Take a look, because if there is moisture build up, soilage or mould within the hamper, that could be getting into your clothes and spreading through your home.

During and after the machine wash

Always use the right laundry detergent and the right temperature for each specific load. You want to make sure that each item has been fully cleaned to remove any organic matter which is food for mould.

Once your load is done, remove it from the machine as soon as you possibly can. Leaving wet washing in the machine leaves that musty smell, and keeps a nice moist environment for mould. Try and hang it or put it in the dryer as soon as you can.

Always make sure you leave your washer door open so that the machine can dry out completely before closing it. A lot of mould can build up in washing machines, this is one way to combat this. Running some white vinegar through an empty wash cycle is another good way to clean out your washing machine and reduce the risk of mould growth.

Within the clothes hamper

It’s important that you try to keep your laundry clean and well ventilated. Dryers should be ducted outside, and if this is not possible, a window or door needs to be open when the dryer is operating. Benches should be wiped down regularly to keep dust to a minimum, and the floor should be swept or vacuumed weekly.

The machines themselves need a good wipedown weekly and the filters emptied and cleaned out regularly. Always ensure that pipes and hosing are attached tightly and correctly to avoid any water leaks.

When it’s too late and the mould has taken hold

Sometimes it’s a little too late, and you may need a professional to come in and take a look at the situation. At Mould Pro we have years of experience with dealing with mould testing and mould remediation and we would love to help. Give us a call and have a chat with one of our friendly staff today.