With over 300 species, Alternaria mould can wreak havoc to crops such as vegetables, seeds and grains every year. Its most common species is Alternaria Alternata and thrives in damp and humid areas around the home. Read on to find out more about what Alternaria is and what to do if you find it.
Where is Alternaria Found?
Alternaria usually grows within various plant species such as fruits, vegetables and grains and high-cellulose foods like apples, legumes and root vegetables. Indoors, Alternaria grows in carpets, wallpapers, textiles, window frames and air-conditioning units.
Appearing with small black spots and a fuzzy texture, Alternaria is often misidentified without a professional lab analysis. It can grow anywhere if it has access to enough moisture and is very common throughout the summer and spring months. It is also known to compete with toxic black mould strains for habitats and is a known allergen.
Is Alternaria dangerous?
In small amounts, Alternaria does not cause serious harm in most people. As an allergen, it may cause symptoms such as:
- Hay fever
- Respiratory discomfort
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Sore throat
- Throat irritation and coughing
- Eye irritation
- Skin rashes
More serious health effects may affect those with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems. It has also been associated with the onset of asthma in children.
If you have concerns about Alternaria mould growing in your home, seek out the services of a professional mould removal specialist for an inspection and treatment plan.
How to remove Alternaria
It is extremely difficult to remove mould entirely from using home remedies alone and it is not advisable to attempt large mould removal without professional assistance. For small patch removal, you can try these remedies:
Vinegar: Using a spray bottle, apply undiluted vinegar onto the mould patch and allow it to sit for one hour. Wipe the area clean with a wet cloth and allow the surface to dry.
Bleach: Mix a 1:10 ratio of bleach and water and scrub onto the mould for removal or mix in a small amount of colour-safe bleach to your washing machine to thoroughly wash clothing, curtains and fabrics.
Make sure you are wearing protective eyewear, mask and gloves to avoid inhalation or direct contact with the mould. Mould can grow in hard to notice or hard to reach places so it can be challenging to realise the extent of the damage in the ceilings, behind walls or in basement areas. If you are concerned you have a mould problem, contact a professional mould removal specialist.
How to prevent Alternaria mould
The most effective way to prevent mould in the home is to control the level of moisture and air quality. Here’s how:
Increase air circulation: Adequate air circulation around all areas of the home and property is essential to allow any moisture to escape the area. Circulating air around living areas, kitchens, bathrooms, laundries, ceilings and wardrobes improve air quality and keep humidity levels at bay.
Exhaust fans and ventilation: Preventing moisture buildup is key to preventing mould growth. Exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens allow condensation to dissipate and encourage airflow around areas that are naturally prone to high levels of moisture.
Ventilate regularly around the home by opening doors, windows, using ceiling or stand-alone fans to allow fresh air to circulate the home.
Monitor humidity levels: Locations with above-average levels of humidity make it hard to control moisture in the air even with circulation. Especially for tropical and sub-tropical environments, using a dehumidifier draws moisture out of the air.
You can place dehumidifiers in rooms that are not directly exposed to natural light or airflow – such as wardrobes, or basement areas. You can also use air-conditioners set on ‘dry’ mode to cover different areas. Remember to regularly empty excess water trays to prevent mould growth inside them.
Dry damp clothes: Leaving damp towels and clothes around the house for longer than 24 hours easily encourages mould growth. You must dry your clothes immediately after washing to prevent mould from spreading and getting on your clothes.
Avoid hanging your clothes inside the house to prevent the moisture from evaporating around the home. If this is not an option, make sure you can dry them around a source of ventilation such as a fan or an open door.
Clean spills or floods: It only takes 24 – 48 hours for mould to grow in an area with high levels of moisture. If there is a spill, leak, or flooding, make sure to clean and dry out the surface area within two days to prevent mould growth.
When to Call a Mould Removal Professional?
If you are afraid of mould becoming a problem in your home and are looking for a long-term solution, be sure to call upon a professional team to help you. The MouldMen team will inspect, treat, and provide you with a Mould Management and Prevention Plan to ensure that your home is kept safe and free from mould. Call us on 1300 60 59 60 to book your free inspection today.