Ok oily dudes, it is time for another world renowned Man Versus Oils Mansperiment. You see there has been quite a bit of rain around here lately, which is often the case in this part of the world as we move into summer. This time however was a little more than usual… about two weeks worth to be exact. Eventually though the sun did come out and two things happened… The grass needed to be mowed and there was mould everywhere. I wanted to clean it, and as usual I wanted to do it in a chemical free manner. So here is my latest mansperiment: How to kill mould naturally with essential oils…
Why do I want to kill mould naturally?
Because I have mould all over the cement in the outside entertainment area.
In the past, I have usually gone to two options:
1. Specialized bathroom mould cleaning spray
Active Ingredient – Bleach – Risks (according to MSDS*) – Irritation to eyes and skin – risks to aquatic environments.
Cost – $6 to $7.
Highly effective for killing mould however also extremely caustic and can cause damage to surface where mould is present.
Risks (according to MSDS*) – Irritation to eyes, skin and respiratory systems. Extremely corrosive and should not be released into any drainage system.
Cost – $2 to $4.
For both of these options, I spray the mould and leave it for 10-15 minutes. Then I wipe or hose off.
What am I trying to achieve?
As with my cleaning the BBQ mansperiment, I want to be able to remove mould from the back entertainment area with the use of harsh chemicals. And, as per previous posts, I am all about less risk to my family and the effects of residue chemicals flowing to the drains and the ocean.
And again, my acceptance criteria is simple – the cement is mould free!
What am I going to use?
For my choices here I have gone back to my dear old dad and his “vinegar kills everything” philosophy. I also remember my grandmother using tea tree to clean mould. She lived on the Mornington Peninsula of Australia where tea tree is absolutely everywhere. She used to add the leaves to water and spray it everywhere. I still can’t smell Tea Tree without thinking of that house. We used to complain about the smell as kids. But at the end of the day it seemed to work… So on that note – I have decided to mansperiment with the following three options:
- Plain Vinegar
That’s it, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray it directly onto the mouldy cement, wait 15 to 20 minutes and hose it off with a hard spray setting.
- 1 Cup Vinegar
- 1 Cup Water
Trying this to basically reduce the vinegar smell. Testing it with the same process as option 1 above.
- 1 Cup Vinegar
- 1 Cup Water
- 5 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
The magic mix – a double whammy of vinegar and tea tree oil. Again applied via a spray bottle directly into said mould.
Here we go… We need to:
- Mix ingredients into a spray bottle.
- Spray ingredients directly onto the cement.
- Leave for 15 minutes.
- Blast/Wash off with hose – clean hot water might help here too.
It should be noted that I did try to just bypass the above and blast with a hose prior to this test with very limited results. However, a high pressure water cleaner would work very well here – and severely reduce the amount of water used.
The results were indeed interesting. Firstly, let’s address Option 2 – the water and vinegar mixture – this is useless. I actually think the blast from the hose made it look better than it was. Obviously the vinegar to water ratio is not strong enough to kill the mould. It didn’t have the strong vinegar smell but that was its only advantage.
Option 1 – Plain Vinegar.
Perfect! – cement was clean and mould free. Dad was right and this can be used indoors or outdoors – the only concern here would be the vinegar smell but it dissipates quickly once the hose is introduced.
Option 3 – Vinegar, Water and Tea Tree Essential Oil
This option also worked perfectly. The vinegar ratio was lower so the tea tree obviously has some effect here too. The cement was just as clean as option 1 after the hose was applied
To kill mould naturally without the use of chemicals – consider Vinegar your manly go-to product. To be honest, the only real reason I can see to add Tea Tree is for the post use aroma – and it may continue to keep mozzies away I guess – but don’t hold me to that!
- The mould has been removed.
- No chemicals were used.
- The tea tree essential oil cuts down the strong acidic smell of the vinegar and hangs around – the vinegar smell however seems to wash away when hosed.
- It can take a couple of goes to get it really clean
- Post application hose down is required to fully remove all mould.
A good water pressure cleaner will not only remove the mould but clean the cement as well. Obviously you can’t use this in the shower but now you have the vinegar option so you really can have the best of both worlds!
Total Cost (for recipe above noting I only used about a 1/3 of the solution)
15 Drops of Essential Oils – approx $3**
White vinegar – approx 50c
Total Cost: Approx $3.50 (without the Essential Oil brings the cost down to about 50c)
And there you go! Another successful mansperiment done and dusted. Now to find some fish and chips for that leftover vinegar… Before leaving, if you want to know more about Tea Tree oil, read this article I wrote about the benefits of this amazing oil.
* A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that provides health and safety information about products,
substances or chemicals that are classified as hazardous substances or dangerous goods. MSDS’s can usually be found on the website of the manufacturer.
** Price calculated on the rate of 15 drops used from 85 drops per 5ml vial of Essential Oil
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My name is Paul and I live on the east coast of Australia with my wife and six year old son. I also have 19 and 23 year old daughters. I am an ex government and bank worker who took a bit of a sea change and opened my own business by the beach with my amazing wife. If you can do it, try it. You will never look back. You want to know more about me, read my About Me page