Why clove oil for mould?The City Council inspector that visited my cousin's inundated house after the 2011 Brisbane flood, gave some advice that inspired this blog post. He advised to keep away from chlorine bleaches to clean mould as it only 'bleaches' the colour out and does not kill the mould. "It'll be back in a few weeks," he said. "CLOVE OIL is the best!"
Clove has powerful antiseptic properties and should be used with care. Clove oil actually inhibits mould by attacking and killing the spores.
Shannon Lush, co-author of Spotless, is an expert on cleaning after wet weather.
Remove mould from hard surfaces
If you can, first clean the surfaces with a mixture of 4 litres of hot water, 1 tablespoon bicarb of soda and half a cup of vinegar.
Mix a quarter teaspoon of Oil of Cloves (no more) per litre of water, put it in a spray bottle, lightly mist on. Leave for 20 minutes and wipe off. Spray again and leave. It will take 24-48 hours for the mould spores to dry and drop off.
Remove mould from soft furnishings and items
Mix one kilo of uniodised salt into 9 litre bucket of water. Wash the affected surface, wait until the salt crust forms and brush off with a soft broom. Please take care that the salt does not end up in the garden.
Cleaning smell out of carpets
Use half the amount of soap recommended in the instructions for your steam cleaner plus add: half a cup each of of bi-carb soda, white vinegar and methylated spirits and two teaspoons each of eucalyptus oil and glycerine.
Steam clean your carpet as usual.
Thank you to ABC local radio and Shannon Lush for the references on cleaning.
Clove oil and many other essential oils to use in cleaning, such as Lavender and Eucalytpus, are available from Biome Eco Stores online or in our stores.
Tinderbox clove oil made from the clove bud. Tinderbox is a great Western Australian small business
UPDATE January 2015
Read our latest post 6 things to know about using clove oil for mould removal
Includes safety advice about using clove -- although it’s natural, it can still cause skin irritations and some people may have an allergic reaction. It should be kept away from children and those on blood thinning medication shouldn’t use it. We also have advice from Nicole Bijlsma: while clove oil has been long recommended for killing mould spores, Nicole says she doesn’t recommend it because the focus should be on the cause of the mould growth which is moisture.
UPDATE October 2012
Read how mould causes allergy and asthma in some people and the importance of a clove oil room sanitiser that kills airborne mould spores. You can make your own as described below with a piece of jumbo chalk or use the new Australian product mould aroma gel.
UPDATE February 2012
Another tip from our readers, heard on
UPDATE February 2011
Since our first post, we have had so many questions about how to use clove oil for removing mould from so many different situations - including a whole house! Some houses that were flooded have been gutted back to the wood frame and people are spraying the water & clove oil mixture all over the wood frame before new plasterboard is affixed.
Another common problem is mould on clothes, shoes and linen. Take the clothes outside and brush off so that the mould spores do not spread around the house. Hang them in the sun, as sunlight can kill some forms of mould. If necessary, spray the affected area lightly with a mixture of quarter teaspoon of clove oil to one litre of water. *Always patch test in a discrete spot first.
If the mould has stained the fabric, Shannon Lush suggests: Use one kilo of salt per bucket of water and soak overnight. Hang the clothes on the clothesline without rinsing. Once it dries, a salt crust forms on the fabric. Brush it off.
What other uses does clove oil have?
Clove has a calming effect. Put a few drops in an oil burner to spread a calm essence through your room.
Clove is also a scent associated with the festive season. Did you ever make clove spiked orange pomanders as a child? A pomander was traditionally made to mask odours using citrus fruits spiked with clove heads. For your own green Christmas scent, drop some clove oil into an oil burner or one of our Banksia scent pots.
Clove can also be used as an anaesthetic for tooth pain! Put some clove oil on a cotton bud and rub on the painful area to numb the pain.
How to make clove oil?
Source: Wikihow The recipe to make clove oil at home starts with grinding whole cloves in a spice or coffee grinder. Wrap in cotton or coffee filter paper and submerge in jar of olive oil that you then heat for 45 minutes using a double boiler of water. Allow clove package to steep for another week or so. Makes a weak form of clove oil suitable for human application. Professionally made clove oil is best for cleaning as it is stronger and may have better analgesic (pain killing) properties.
See clove oil and green cleaning recipes on our Pinterest.
About the clove plant
Image & text from www.plantguide.org
The clove-tree was native in the Moluccas, or Clove Islands, and the southern Philippines. Now cloves are extensively cultivated in Sumatra, the Moluccas, West Indies, Penang, Mauritius, Bourbon, Amboyne, Guiana, Brazil, and Zanzibar -in fact, throughout the tropical world. Zanzibar is said to supply most of the cloves of the market.
The clove-tree may attain an age of from sixty to seventy years, and some have been noted which were ninety years old and over. The average life of the plantation clove-trees is, however, perhaps not more than twenty years. The trees begin to yield in about five years after planting. The picking of the immature flowers with the red calyx is begun in August and lasts for about four months. From two to four crops are harvested each year.