Got mould in your home?
What should you do, how should you treat it, and what (and who) should you use?
Learn what to do, in my conversation with Alexx Stuart from Low Tox Life.
Hello! This is Episode 231, and in it, I’ll be talking about what happens when you find mould in your home, how you should treat mould and what to do to remove mould from your home.
I’m chatting to the amazing Alexx Stuart from Low Tox Life, who has a huge personal and professional knowledge and understanding of mould, and what happens when it’s in the home you live in, how it can impact you, and what you need to do to take care of it, and yourself.
I’ve known Alexx since 2013. She’s a dear friend of mine. We’ve supported each other in our online businesses, and I’ve spoken to her member community specifically about designing and building to avoid condensation when renovating and building new, and I’ve also been a guest on her podcast discussing renovating and building homes.
I’ve closely watched the research and work she’s done, and the knowledge she’s built through her own experience of mould and mould illness (also known as CIRS or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome), and how much she’s helping others with it.
And so, having her on the podcast is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time now – and it’s just that recent events spurred me into action, and she was incredibly generous in finding some time in her schedule for me at short notice.
Before I explain more, let me introduce you to Alexx Stuart if you’re not familiar with her and her incredible work.
Alexx Stuart’s passions run wide and deep. She founded the online community and education hub Low Tox Life in 2010 and is responsible for birthing the low tox movement with the phrase “low tox” that has resonated with people around the world. Her international bestselling book Low Tox Life and podcast by the same name have supported millions in achieving their personal, home and planet health goals.
Her latest book, Low Tox Life FOOD, helps us all come together to make the biggest and most immediate impact we can for our planet and health from our shopping baskets, plates and waste. She is a sought-after speaker and consultant to organisations committing to change for good, whether it’s a focus on people’s health or the planet’s.
Alexx’s motto is “Don’t feel guilty about what you didn’t know yesterday, get excited about what you now know and the positive impact you can now have on your health and the planet”.
As we dive into this episode, I want you to remember Alexx’s motto. Because my experience with homeowners, whenever I discuss mould with them, I’ve seen it can be a hard adjustment.
My hope is, with this episode, and what you’ll specifically learn about mould and how it can impact you, is that it will in fact empower you.
Empower you to push back on a builder or an insurance company who tell you it’s not a big deal that you have mould in your home.
Empower you to know how to properly deal with it, instead of using products or paying for services that may in fact feed it and make it worse.
Empower you to dig deeper with your health practitioners if they’re dismissing your symptoms as nothing they can help with.
And empower you to know how to resolve and improve problematic areas through a renovation project, or how to prevent issues in a new build, so that, in the future, mould can be easily dealt with and mitigated or eliminated altogether.
Now, before I dive in, I’ll let you know that I’ve put a range of resources in the notes for this episode if you want to explore this topic further.
Of course, this is not a health and wellness podcast, I am not a health and wellness specialist, and so, there are some amazing resources you can tap into if any of this resonates with you and you want to explore it more.
This is a longer episode than normal too, because I thought it was important to keep it altogether for you, rather than split it into a couple of episodes.
Alexx has shared publicly her own story about mould illness, and I’ve got to witness it first hand as well.
Having known and spent time with her all these years, I’ve seen how it impacted her, and how dramatic her recovery was once she was able to pin point what was going on and get the right help and treatment for it. It’s been a journey for her, with copious house moves, tests, treatments, research and trial and error – and so it’s brilliant to be able to shortcut your own journey by accessing the learnings and resources she shares.
And given, as you’ll hear Alexx say, that mould illness can affect up to 25% of the population, and an estimated 40% of homes are water damaged and have mould growth to some degree.
Plus, there are many and varied symptoms when it comes to mould illness.
So for many it can be a HUGE relief to learn what is actually causing them to feel the way they do – because it gives them a light to the pathway through it and out the other side.
So why did I feel compelled to do this episode now?
Well, I live in Northern NSW, about halfway between Byron Bay and Lismore.
My kids go to school in Lismore – well, they did – until on February 28, 2022, Lismore experienced its worst flooding in recorded history. Flood levels weren’t just over previous records. They exceeded them by more than 2 metres, and decimated homes, businesses and so much more.
We personally were in Lismore in the days after the waters receded, helping to clean out my kids’ school campus, which was totally inundated well over the second floor. I have struggled to explain to others what it was like, and as the stories of what residents went through as their homes were inundated in the very very early hours of Monday morning, it’s frankly been really hard for everyone to wrap their heads around it all.
The cleanup has still been going on, and as I record this episode, there’s been a new wave of evacuations over night, four weeks since the flooding, as we’ve had more heavy rain and areas have become inundated again.
Of course, Lismore wasn’t the only area impacted by these recent floods. Up and down the eastern seaboard of Australia, we’ve seen record rainfalls and flooding that beggars belief. Tens of thousands of homes and businesses have been impacted.
Now … with that flooding, and then the continuing wet weather and humidity, it’s conditions that are perfect for mould growth. And, beyond seeing what’s involved in the repair and replacement of so many damaged and condemned homes, attention is now turning to the health impacts of people living with mould in their homes, as we have more of an understanding of the detrimental impact it can have.
And, frankly for where I live, and in many other humid locations around Australia and the world, mould growth is something we contend with on a regular basis in our homes. It doesn’t take massive weather events like what we’ve seen recently for this to be a problem, although what we’ve experienced recently has dramatically exacerbated it.
So, what do you do when you have mould in and around your home?
What happens when it’s on your clothing or soft furnishings? Or you see spots on the walls or ceiling of your bathroom. Or, as with those who’ve seen flooding up and down the east coast of Australia, and you find it growing in the floors, walls, framing and general structure of your home as it simply can’t dry out fast enough.
Alexx is going to help us understand what our options are, and my hope is that it gives you a pathway through.
Plus, if you want to learn more about designing to minimise condensation in your home, which you’ll hear us talk about as well, be sure to check out Episode 224, where I share some key info and resources you can use with your designer and builder.
Now, let’s hear from Alexx as she helps us understand more about mould and how to deal with it in our homes.
In this episode, I ask Alexx these questions:
- Why is mould something we need to be concerned about?
- Is some mould worse than others? Can you have a ‘little bit’ of mould and it not be too harmful?
- Apart from your home being inundated with flood waters, what other signs can there be that you may have mould in your home?
- What are the ways to get rid of mould from surfaces, soft furnishings, the building itself?
- What are the methods of mould removal / mould treatment to totally avoid?
- Thinking about the urgency of treatment after inundation / storm damage / flooding etc. Lots of homeowners who are insured are having insurance companies tell them that they have to wait for the assessors before removing wall linings, etc, and now seeing mould growing on wall linings extending into the timber frame of a home. Is there a point where it’s too hard to rectify / dry out / improve?
Listen to the episode now.
Alexx Stuart and Low Tox Life can be found at:
Website >>> https://www.lowtoxlife.com/
Instagram >>> https://www.instagram.com/lowtoxlife/
Facebook >>> https://www.facebook.com/lowtoxlife/
So you think you’ve got mould (this link contains reference links to so many other mould resources, it’s a great launching point for your research) >>> https://www.lowtoxlife.com/so-you-think-youve-got-mould/
Alexx’s Mould Story >>> https://www.lowtoxlife.com/my-whole-mold-mould-story/
Toxic Mould Support Australia >>> https://toxicmould.org/
Learn about condensation in home design, renovation and building in Episode 224 >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-sustainable-home/
Access the support and guidance you need to be confident and empowered when renovating and building your family home inside my flagship online program >>> HOME METHOD