Defy the damp

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Laura Paul of Healthy Living Asia, shares her top five natural tips for keeping your home clean and dry in humid weather.

We all know the consequences of pernicious mould. Distilled white vinegar is one of the best and most popular options to both clean and prevent mould growth; it’s easy to clean carpets, walls and clothing. For carpets, spray undiluted white vinegar and leave for one hour before cleaning with a damp cloth. If the mould is still there, add half a tablespoon of baking soda to the vinegar spray bottle and try again. For walls and hard surfaces where colour is not a factor, try spraying a three percent hydrogen peroxide solution. Keep the area dry with a dehumidifier to prevent regrowth. If you get recurrent mould, spray every so often to prevent growth using the baking soda and white distilled vinegar spray. 
Dust mites
The enzymes in the faeces of dust mites as well as their shells are the cause of many chronic environmental allergies. What may not be known is that dust mites thrive on humidity. Reducing relative humidity in your home or apartment to below 50% significantly reduces the numbers of mites and calms any dust mite related allergy symptoms. For serious allergies, consider investing in mattress and pillow protectors specifically designed for dust mites. Defy the damp Laura Paul of Healthy Living Asia, shares her top five natural tips for keeping your home clean and dry in humid weather.

Check sealants
Make sure the bathroom is water-tight to prevent mould and mildew from creeping into your home. If you use a shower curtain, spray the curtain, especially the bottom half, with vinegar at least once a week to prevent growth. Mildew thrives in humid areas and when ambient home temperature is above 25 degrees. Keeping a dehumidifier close to the bathroom will help prevent moisture from escaping into the open and promoting mould growth elsewhere throughout the home. Aim for a relative humidity of 50% or lower. In the summer, running the air conditioning also helps keep rooms dry. Only open windows and doors if the temperature outside is eight degrees lower than inside. Although not environmentally friendly for small areas with higher moisture levels, purchase individual dehumidifying boxes.

Wash your washing machine
Whether you have a front-loading or top-loader washing machine, it is a good idea to regularly clean the rubber seals and inside the drum. First, wipe the door and inside drum with a cloth or scrub pad soaked in vinegar. For stubborn areas, add baking soda. Next, sprinkle a good amount of baking soda in the drum of the washing machine. Add vinegar to the detergent area, and set the machine for a hot cycle without any clothes. After the cycle has finished, any smells should have disappeared and your machine should be sparkling. Remember to leave the door open to prevent odours and to let the washing machine dry between loads.

Protect your belongings
It’s not just moths eating your favourite sweater. Many other pests in Hong Kong gnaw away wool, feather and silk such as warehouse beetles and cockroaches. Silverfish and booklice also like to munch on adhesives and other glues in books and artwork. All of these pests thrive in humid conditions. Keeping rooms properly sealed, relative humidity low, using disposable dehumidifying boxes and installing fans in damp areas can prevent creepy crawlies from attacking your prized possessions.