Mid-Atlantic summers are super humid, and we have a lot of exposed brick in our house that is at risk. Baltimore brick is notorious for sustaining damage to the fired surface. Once that happens, the inner part of the brick is susceptible to water damage and/or mold.
Earlier this year, we started to have a problem with a fountain of water running down the brick wall in our kitchen during heavy rain. It turned out that the downspout was clogged with debris from the construction next door. Nice. John removed the material and the leak went away, but the damage had been done and fuzzy white mold started to grow on several bricks.
Things like bleach and Tilex are supposed to kill mold, but they have several downsides. They stink. They give me migraines. They are corrosive to the skin. They can damage other surfaces. I was also concerned about the fumes with kids and pets in the house. So I did a little research on natural ways to kill mold, and came up with Tea Tree Oil.
Tea tree oil is taken from the leaves of the Melaleuca tree, which is found in New South Wales, Australia. The oil has antiseptic and antifungal properties and is often used in cosmetics.
I bought it at Bath and Body Works. It seems expensive for such a small bottle, but a little bit goes a long way, and it's so effective, it's worth the price.
Dilute one teaspoon of tea tree oil per 8 ounces of water and mix well in a spray bottle. Spray the surface at close range until thoroughly saturated and let dry. The oil has a strong smell, but it's not unpleasant, and fades quickly. Open a window if it bothers you. For stubborn spots, I resprayed the area three times throughout the day. By morning the next day, the mold was gone and has yet to return. I tried it on mildew in my bathroom too, and it works great in there as well.
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