Mould and Essential Oils

Mould and Essential Oils

When the rains come, and humidity rises, so do mould and mildew.  The moulds that grow under these humid conditions can be minimised by keeping the environment dry (via fans or air conditioners) and keeping the air free of spores via filtration.  Sunlight is also key.

It’s not an easy task. 

Ingredients such as bicarbonate soda, distilled vinegar & hydrogen peroxide all play an important part in removing mould and inhibiting grown.  Bleaching mold is not a desirable option, as it merely removes/hides the top visible parts of the molds, leaving the roots to regrow.  Hydrogen peroxide is apparently very good at killing mold to the roots, although I have not tested this personally. 

Removal of mold importantly contains 2 steps:

  1. removal
  2. prevention

To remove mold is simply a matter of cleaning it away until you no longer see it.  Bi-carb in water makes a great abrasive paste for this purpose.  Vinegar is traditionally used with great success with a little elbow grease.  Note that this needs to be done in a safe way, face mask, gloves… consider your health and the health of those around you.

Prevention is a matter of applying a solution via bucket and sponge or spray bottle and cloth that you leave on the treated and surrounding area.  This is a key place where essential oils and/or hydrogen peroxide comes in.  I haven’t researched the optimal percentage to use hydrogen peroxide at for this purpose, however, this information should be readily available on the net.

Caution: Apart from the unsightliness of mould and mildew, health issues can arise from breathing in these toxic substances, indicated by runny eyes, sneezing, skin irritations and the like.

As far as essential oils go, the king of mold kill in the essential oil world has always been clove bud.  Clove bud is an amazing essential oil with a huge array of uses, but it’s not the only one that works.  If you know the mold species that you are dealing with, you will likely find a more efficient essential oil for the task.  Generally though, when you are hurrying to cleanse your house of these toxic inhabitants, you don’t have time to mess around with an investigation (although for large infestations, perhaps this would be a prudent step).

 

Some Essential Oils Used to Fight Molds & Other Fungi

#1 Clove Eugenia caryophyllata

clove bud oil 

As I said, clove has been reining king for some time, and rightly so, I’ve always found it to work perfectly the times I have used it, and many a customer has attested to its wonders.  Clove rates highly on the anti-bacterial scale due to its strong eugenol content.  It’s also used as a pain reliever (dental and other).

 

#2 Thyme Thymus vulgaris

red thyme 

A few studies & sources that I have read regard thyme to be of equal value to clove, not that they said it in those words.  In one study thyme along with 6 other essential oils were tested to see how effective they were at preventing fungus grown in timbers.  Thyme came out on top with the longest fungus growth prevention time of all essential oils tested.  Thyme gave almost a 4x mold free period over tea tree, interesting the blending of tea tree with thyme actually had a negative effect on thymes efforts.  Also note that thyme rates extremely high on the anti-microbial scale due to its high thymol content.

 

#3 Geranium Pelargonium graveolens

geranium 

Closely behind thyme in the timber experiment, was Egyptian geranium. A beautiful floral essential oil usually used to balance the mind and body.  I’ve personally used geranium to successfully prevent bathroom wall mould growth. 

 

#4 Oregano Oreganum vulgaris

oregano essential oil

Other reports claim oregano to be the bees knees in fungus finales.  Oregano is a potent anti-viral& anti- fungal essential oil.  The main constituents on oregano are carvcarol & thymol (there’s that thymol again). Highly rated option in studies.

 

#5 Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia

tea tree oil

Tea tree has always traditionally used in aromatherapy for its broad anti-microbial benefits and has its place in fungus removal, but I’m not sure it’s the best of choices when it comes to wet season household molds.  Some say it is, some put it down the list of choices.

 

#6 Coriander Coriandrum sativum

Interesting coriander was tested in India and found to be effective in inhibiting a wide range of fungi including Alternana alternate, Curulana lunata, Pestalotia psidi and others.  This would be an interesting one to try out.

 

#7 Jatamunsi Nardostachys jatamansi

jatamunsi

Although Jatamunsi (aka Spikenard) is regarded to have strong anti-fungal properties, research shows it is a fungicidal (kills fungicidal pathogens) for some fungi, and only fungistatic (inhibiting fungicidal pathogens) for others.  I’ve not ever considered it as a go-to for this purpose in the past personally.  It’s an amazing essential oil though, and one of my current favourites.

Some other essential oils worth a mention for their anti-fungal properties include rosemary, lavender & cinnamon.  There are many others.  Remember that in one instance you may have great success against mould with an essential oil, and in another instance not such great success.  Different essential oils and their constituents may be fungicidal against one species of fungus, but only fungistatic against another.  Or not successful at all against the specific mould outbreak. It can be worth trying another option the second time around if at first you do not succeed.  For the removal and prevention of mold, I believe the top picks are clove bud, oregano, geranium and thyme.  Not sure if they would work together in the same bottle, some experimenting is definitely required on my part….

Toni Mc Mahon

 

References

  1. Inhibitory Effect of Essential Oils on Decay Fungi and Mold Growth on Wood https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/26998/PDF
  2. Fighting Mold Naturally with 5 Essential Oils https://moldblogger.com/fighting-mold-naturally-with-5-essential-oils/ 
  3. The complete Guide to Aromatherapy – Chapter 9 Pharmacology of Essential Oils https://plantessentials.com.au/products/complete-guide-to-aromatherapy-salvatore-battaglia
  4. Antifungal activity of selected essential oils and biocide benzalkonium chloride against the fungi isolated from cultural heritage objects https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254629914000672

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clove bud oil red thyme geranium oregano essential oil tea tree oil jatamansi

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Toni McMahon February 07, 2019 5 tags (show)

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