Look, I don’t want to sound too dramatic but my apartment is trying to kill me.
Over the past couple of months a new ‘flatmate’ has moved in and it’s hiding in the corners, crawling up the walls, spreading itself all over my ceilings and ruining my best shoes…and it’s not even paying any rent.
Nope, it’s not a poltergeist, it’s mould. Dirty stinking mould.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Sydney is experiencing a “perfect storm” of mould-growing conditions – prolonged rain, high humidity and poor ventilation – while Melbourne and other parts of Australia are also going through some very mouldy times.
Mould can lead a range of serious medical conditions including asthma, yeast infections, skin infections, and even anxiety and depression.
My mould problem started in the bathroom (old building, no ventilation, crappy little push up window) and very quickly moved into my bedroom and living room.
Before I had a chance to stop the mould in its tracks, I had mould all over my ceilings, up my walls and, most tragically, on some of my favourite shoes.
So last week after some serious Google research, I blitzed my apartment with a vinegar and water solution and my mould problem is temporarily under control (kind of).
But it's hard to truly eradicate mould unless you get onto it early and stay vigilant.
Here's some handy tips to help you fight the good fight against mould:
Keep your windows open.
Even though it's freezing cold outside, you need to open your windows regularly and ventilate your apartment - especially after you shower or cook up something steamy in the bathroom.
Like your favourite porno, mould loves hot, steamy conditions and it will start to spread rapidly in those areas.
My mould started in my bathroom and because I didn't act quickly enough - it spread. Now I'm obsessed with opening my window and letting the steam out ASAP.
The experts also warn against drying your clothes in your home, so try to take advantage of sunny days and hang your clothes outside and on your balcony.
Move soft furnishings and clothes away from windows.
A big cause of mould in apartments is condensation on windows - windows tend to get wet overnight and stay wet for most of the day until the sun dries them out. My clothing rack was near my window and that's why some of my shoes and accessories became big ole' bundles of mould. When I moved the rack, I discovered the wall behind it was also mouldy. It was just big, dirty mould breeding ground.
I've now cleaned the mould and moved the rack (and my beloved shoes) to other side of the room, away from the window.
When you're cleaning mould, make sure you protect yourself first. Better Health Victoria suggests wearing protective clothing such as a shower cap, eye protection, closed shoes and a P1 or P2 face mask (which you can pick up at your local hardware store).
Being up close and personal with the mould means you're even more likely to breathe in spores, and this can lead to a range of health problems including asthma, and skin and yeast infections. I skipped this step and learnt the hard way - I'm now treating a sinus infection with antibiotics.
Don't just bleach mould, kill it.
When you find mould in your home - it's really tempting to grab the nearest bottle of bleach and go to town on those bad boys. But bleach will not kill mould, it'll just bleach it, and you'll be left with a mould problem that you can't actually see.
"Bleach merely bleaches mould so you can't see it, but it's still there," Shannon Lush, co-author of Household Wisdom, recently told Body + Soul.
"It doesn't kill the root system and the mould will grow back in weeks."
According to Choice, you should use a diluted vinegar solution to kill mould. The website suggests filling three buckets with a 80% vinegar, 20% water solution and then dipping a micro-fibre cloth in the first bucket, wiping the mould infected area, and rinsing the cloth in the second and third bucket (this is what I did).
While Shannon Lush recommends a solution of oil of cloves (which you can find at your local health food store) and water. Lush suggests mixing a quarter teaspoon of oil of cloves with one litre of water and spraying this solution on mould affected areas.
Do you have any other mould tips? Share them in the comments below.