With above average rainfall, controlling moisture is the key to keeping mould at bay
With Australia experiencing one of the wettest summers on record and this above average rainfall set to continue across most of the country, a toxic new enemy is emerging for Australian families – mould.
According to prominent Australian mycologist, Dr Heike Neumeister-Kemp, this ‘big wet’ is creating the ideal environments for mould to grow in our most intimate living environments, potentially leading to range of health conditions mums, dads and kids, including eczema and skin disorders to respiratory disease.
For the average family, the key area of concern is the bedroom. We spend a third of our lives in bed and in normal weather conditions, lose up to 1 litres of bodily fluid per night, so controlling the moisture that provides the food source for mould to grow is paramount.
Dr Kemp explained: “The mattress is one of the most porous items in the house and readily absorbs any moisture it comes into contact with, but it’s also one of the hardest items to clean so if a mattress becomes severely infected with mould, we’ll often recommend people throw it away and start again.
“In these humid conditions, it’s natural for people to sweat more so our advice is that people take preventative steps to control the moisture and keep their beds as clean as possible.”
Three simply solutions Australian families can put into place to protect their mattresses:
1. Cover your mattress with a waterproof mattress protector: Most low-end mattress protectors provide a comfortable layer between you and your bed but are not waterproof and do very little to protect against sweat and moisture. Australian bedding specialists Protect-A-Bed® have a full range of waterproof, breathable mattress protectors on the market that can hold up to 1.8 litres of liquid and will stop moisture from getting in.
2. Ensure your bedroom is well ventilated: Another easy measure is to ensure your bedroom is well ventilated. Whether this is done naturally via an open window or mechanically using a fan, it’s important to keep the air flowing.
3. HEPA vacuum your mattress: Dr Kemp that recommends vacuuming your mattress with a HEPA vacuum cleaner becomes part of a monthly cleaning routine to remove the dirt and bacteria that gets trapped inside and can also contribute to mould growth.
Laboratory tests recently conducted by Dr Kemp’s company, Mycologia, on three mattresses of different ages highlighted the effectiveness of a waterproof mattress protector in keeping the moisture out.
Mycologia measured the moisture content of two almost brand new mattresses (six months old) from homes in North Bondi and Gymea and compared this to a five year old mattress from a home in Barden Ridge.
Neither of the six month old mattresses had been fitted with a waterproof mattress protector; however the five year old bed had been fitted with a Protect-A-Bed® protector from the time of purchase.
Mycolgia’s lab tests showed the almost new mattresses from North Bondi and Gymea had comparable moisture levels at 10.55% and 10.53% however the five year old mattress from Barden Ridge – despite being almost ten times older – had a much lower moisture count at 7.95%.
Treasure Vellis, Registered Nurse with Protect-A-Bed® commented: “If you start to notice yellow stains on you or your children’s mattress, quilt cover or pillow that’s a tell-tale sign that the moisture is getting in. A recent survey conducted by Protect-A-Bed found that over 60% of households have noticed these yellow stains, but possibly don’t know where these stains come from or what to do about it.
“Mattress protectors are a simple and cost effective way of protecting yourself and your family against possible health issues and extending the life of your mattress. Australians typically spend $8,000 on a new bed so it pays to take care of this investment.
1. The moisture content of the mattresses was measured by Mycologia in December 2011 using a Protimeter-MMS and prong attachment.