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20 January 2011

Get rid of mould with clove oil

Remove mould with clove oil

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 ABC local radio:
To counter mould in homes, put a few drops of pure clove oil on jumbo sticks of blackboard chalk then place them in cupboards around the house and allow the scent to waft around killing mould spores. Replace with a few more drops of oil every month or so once the scent has disappeared. Particularly good idea because you are not spraying any more moisture in an already moist house.
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
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.

Author & Editor

Tracey Bailey is the founder of Biome Eco Stores and mother of two. After working in corporate communications and starting a family, she made a choice to be part of the solution to our planet's future and started Biome Eco Stores. Tracey is passionate about educating the community about living eco-friendly and sustainable lives through her extended product, chemical, health and environmental knowledge.


Gustoso said...

Old fashioned vinegar also works well.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this great post. this is what our neighbour recommended. we live on Tamborine Mountain and this will be invaluable! can't wait to explore your site some more. do you know where I can buy Oil of Clove in Brisbane or on the Gold Coast?

Host said...

You can buy Clove Oil from Biome Eco Stores in Paddington or the City and also through our online shop at

Anonymous said...

I have used clove oil at the specified concentration in water to clean some baby items which go mouldy very quickly here in the tropics. Be very careful! Baby developed a rash on arms where rubbed against padding in car capsule that was soaked with clove oil in water, then washed and rinsed in warm water then dried in full sun. At first suspected heat rash but then discovered clove oil can irritate skin. It is possible that babies' new skin is extra sensitive to very dilute clove oil. Rash has since cleared up well with use of homeopathic/naturpathic all purpose cream.

Biome Eco Stores said...

Thank you so much for this latest comment warning about potential irritation from clove oil - especially for babies. This is an excellent point and we will add it to the post. Adults and children can be allergic to different essential oils - even the mildest essential oils may cause reactions in different people. So it is important to be careful, especially for young skin. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Can anyone give any advice on A natural remedy to get rid of mould on the inside of my washing machine seal? We have a front loader which has mould in the bottom of the front door rubber seal even though I always leave it open between washes, and it's spread to my cloth nappies and some of our clothes..... Very frustrating!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for providing the information on clove oil and mould. I had heard Shannon Lush discussing this on radio. Clove oil is great for small areas. Can you supply larger quantities. Standard bottles don't go far when treating mould on a house exterior? (Brisbane flood 2011).

Anonymous said...

Another good idea to prevent (or minimize) mould is to place a few actual cloves into items stored in the wardrobe like shoes and handbags. I have one of those 'humidity collectors' in there, but as our floors are timber and not very far off the ground, mould is a constant problem especially in this wet weather.

Danielle said...

I'd also like to hear if anyone has a remedy for mould around the plastic seal of front loader. I too leave the door open after use. From time to time I run an empty washing cycle and add about half a cup of vinegar which works quite well however does not remove it entirely. Also does anyone know where clove oil can be purchased locally on the Gold Coast?

Lorraine said...

Can the diluted oil of cloves mixture be sprayed into air conditioning units? I have a constant problem with mould build-up in the wall unit in my bedroom (which has an en suite), and worry about this spreading mould spore and causing health problems.

Rebel said...

I have a 6 week old baby & desperately need to get rid of mould in our home. I have purchased Oil of Cloves but I need to know how safe it is to use with a baby in the house first? There is mould in her bedroom & I need to get rid of it before she starts sleeping in there. Any advice on how to use the oil safely without harming her?

Anonymous said...

I was told it is the build up of detergent that mostly causes the mould issue. It was suggested that I periodically do a cycle at the highest temperature possible (no clothes, no detergent) and this will keep the mould at bay. I also wipe the seal periodically although I am not religious about it and I do have a little mould but the hot water does keep it under control and flushes out the system. I've now had this washer for nearly 10 years and have never had to replace the seal or had the mould become a big problem. I don't live in the tropics and that may complicate the issue. There is a product from Nature Direct called Enviromist which might help (it contains clove oil amongst other essential oils) so you might need to rinse the machine after treating it if someone has a sensitivity to these oils.

Anonymous said...

Can oil of clove be used on carpet? i found an awful spot that smells quite mouldy under some boxes... what mixture would you recommend?

Anonymous said...

I have just bought a large bottle of Oil of Cloves from Oil of Cloves Company in Victoria. Expensive - 200mls for $91 - expensive but worth it and it will last a long time. I also use bicarb and sometimes vinegar to clean off mould, but cloves oil is the only one that actually kills mould. I also have cloth and knitted bags of whole cloves (with a few cardamom pods) scattered throughout the house - to keep moths away but hopefully helps keep the mould away as well(?).

Anonymous said...

So when you say under 'remove mould from hard surfaces' spray the diluted clove oil on the hard surface (inside kitchen cupboards) and wipe off after 20 minutes and then reapply. Do you ever wipe the reapplication off after a few days or just leave it? Also i didn't have a spray bottle so i just applied it (your recipe of diluted clove oil) with a microfibre cloth. I'm assuming you get the same results.


Unknown said...

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.

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Anonymous said...

Help! I found the clove oil solution very effective for cleaning my shower. However next time I made a much stronger solution and now (6 weeks later) the joins in my shower are seeping a rusty stain which seems impossible to remove from my white plastic shower base. What should I do? I've tried vinegar, baking soda paste and am about to resort to beach - nothing's worked although it is a little lighter

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