How to Clean Mold Off Wood Furniture in 5 Easy Steps
Mold on wood is a common issue in many homes. Whether that means on furniture, floors, or walls, people often don’t realize how often it can grow in the house.
Mold and mildew can discolor and harm wood surfaces. The damage can force you to throw out your favorite piece of furniture or have to replace your flooring. Some of the more dangerous kinds can even damage the structure of your home.
The costs of fixing this kind of damage can be expensive. On top of that, many molds and mildews are harmful to breathe in, especially for people with respiratory issues.
For all these reasons, it’s a good idea to make sure that the wood in your house remains mold-free. If you do discover mildew or mold spores, follow these step-by-step instructions for how to remove mold from wood and prevent mold from infesting your home.
Best Way to Kill Mold on Wood
To effectively eliminate mold and mildew, it may help to understand what these are. So, what is mildew? What is mold?
Both mold and mildew are types of fungi. Whereas mildew appears white, mold can present in varying shades, such as green, black, red, or grey. Because they are fungi, the mold spores can deeply embed in your walls, floors, furniture, and elsewhere, making them extremely challenging to remove.
The best way to kill mold on wood is to tackle the problem at the root. Below, we outline the steps for how to get rid of mildew and mold on walls permanently.
Step 1: Choose the Right Cleaning Solution for the Job
You will want to select a cleaning solution that will effectively kill or remove the mold on wood. To do that, you need a mold killer that will penetrate the surface of the wood. Luckily, there are lots of options.
Frequently, our customers ask us, “Does vinegar kill mold?” or “Does bleach kill mold?” The answer is yes; these are both useful household items.
Mold killing solutions can include:
- Distilled vinegar
- Rubbing alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Regular cleaning detergent
- Commercial fungi removal products
The best solution for how to remove mold from wood will depend on the severity of the mold damage and the mold species. For example, for small surface growths, all you need is distilled vinegar. But if you discover worse mold damage or more severe strains, such as black mold, you’ll probably want to go with the commercial mold killer.
WARNING: Whatever you do, make sure not to combine bleach with any solution that has ammonia in it. This mixture will cause a chemical reaction that could lead to an explosion. The toxic fumes from this can cause deadly infections or even kill you. So always play it safe. If you’re not sure if something contains ammonia, do not mix it with bleach no matter what.
Step 2: Put on the Necessary Protective Gear
It’s important to remember that mildew and mold are substances that can be harmful when inhaled. Also, if you use a powerful cleaning solution, you don’t want it to touch your skin.
For these reasons, you’ll want to wear the right protective gear whenever you clean and remove mold. Necessary protective equipment includes:
- Air mask/respirators to prevent mold from getting in air passageways
- Rubber gloves to protect hands from the solution and the mold
- Safety goggles to protect eyes against any splashes or sprays
- Coveralls to protect clothes
- Spray bottle to direct targeted spray
Be sure to get all your protective gear together before you move on to the next step.
Step 3: Scrub the Affected Site with Your Cleaning Solution of Choice
Once you have your cleaning solution and protective gear, the next step is to get to work scrubbing.
You will want to use a clean brush or scrub pad. Make sure it is low-abrasive so as not to damage the wooden surface. You need to be especially careful with furniture made with certain types of wood.
With the spray bottle, apply your cleaning solution to the area affected with mold. Then use your brush or pad and, in a circular motion, scrub the area gently until the discoloration from the mold growth disappears.
Be sure to start as gently as possible and add more force if needed. Gentle and slowly increasing pressure will prevent unnecessary damage to the wood. Continue following these steps for any other affected areas. Repeat until you have removed the fungi entirely from the wood’s surface.
Step 4: Sand the Affected Area
As we mentioned above, there are varying levels of fungi growth and different mold species. If you catch the problem soon enough, the mold on wood may just be on the surface. But if it’s been growing for a while, the fungi roots may have penetrated deeper into the wood.
If that’s the case, a single scrubbing will not prevent mold re-growth. To get deeper into the wood, you need to use a sanding process. This process is the same as you would use if you were to research how to remove mold from drywall. The treatment needs to penetrate deep into the affected material.
At this stage, you’ll want to put on the safety goggles to prevent wood chips from getting in your eyes. Either by hand or using an electric sander at a low-abrasive setting, lightly sand the area you cleaned in Step 3. Then apply the solution in the spray bottle and scrub again in the same area.
Repeat the process until you have scrubbed away any remaining fungal residue.
TIP: Start with the lowest level of grit in your sanding material and build up from there. Start with #100-grit sandpaper for the first pass. If this doesn’t penetrate deep enough into the wood to get rid of all the mold, move up to #220-grit sandpaper and repeat the scrubbing and sanding process. Also, remember when dealing with furniture that some types of wood damage more easily from sanding than others. When in doubt, consult a professional before you start to avoid damaging your furniture.
Step 5: Clean up and Dry the Affected Area
Once you have completed the scrubbing and sanding to remove mold, you want to make sure to finish cleaning up the area where you worked.
Start by collecting and throwing out any residue and other items that have come into contact with the fungi. The residue that stays on these items can grow into new mold growths, so you want to be sure not to leave any around.
Next, take a final pass at the area you worked with new cleaning items such as rags or paper towels. This extra step will help prevent mold from spreading again.
Finally, make sure the area you worked dries fully. If you’re working with furniture, place it in a well ventilated and dry area. If you’re working on walls or floors in an area with minimal ventilation, you may need to use fans to dry the surface. In either case, take all the time it needs to ensure the surface is dry.
Test the cleaned surface both by sight and touch. Once you are sure the surface has dried thoroughly, be sure it does not get wet again.
Once you have followed the steps above on how to remove mold from wood, you want to make sure that it doesn’t grow back. The best way to prevent mold regrowth is to make sure there is proper ventilation.
Most mold species thrive in environments where there are high levels of humidity and moisture. So, the first step in prevention is to make sure there is good airflow.
If your environment allows it, adequate airflow can be as easy as keeping windows open for a draft. Or, you may need to set up fans. A lot of times plugging in stand-up fans will do the job.
For areas with high levels of humidity and moisture, you may need to install ventilation units like the kind found in most bathrooms. In areas where humidity is particularly high, a dehumidifier may also help control mold growth.
No matter what the conditions are in your home, it’s critical to keep a close eye on areas that have previously had mold spores. This need is especially a concern for homes that have gone through any type of water damage, such as flooding. Chances are high for re-growth in areas where it has happened before.
Often, these measures will do the trick to prevent mold growth. When they don’t, the important thing is to catch regrowth as soon as possible so that you can take care of it quickly.
As we mentioned above, mold spores can cause a health hazard. The risk is exceptionally high for people with respiratory issues or who are sensitive to allergens.
When it comes to protective gear, having too much is always better than having too little. It is worth repeating that you should be very careful when cleaning up mold on wood. Be sure to protect every part of your body.
For skin protection, it is best to use gloves that extend up to the forearm. Remember, you are not only protecting yourself from fungi but also the chemicals in the cleaning products you are using. For this reason, it is best to use heavy-duty gloves such as those made out of neoprene or rubber. A spray bottle, while not gear, also can protect your hands from harsh cleaning solutions.
For eye protection, you want to wear safety goggles that don’t have any holes. Eye protection is especially crucial for jobs where you have to use commercial mold killer solutions that contain powerful chemicals.
For lung protection, air masks are an excellent idea to prevent mold spores from entering your airways. If you are dealing with a substantial amount of mold, it can be necessary to wear a full-face respirator.
When dealing with more substantial jobs, you may also want to wear disposable clothing. Mold spores can fly through the open air and land on your clothes as you clean. If you don’t properly wash your clothes after this, these mold spores can spread and grow on other surfaces. Sometimes, it is easier to wear disposable clothing that you can throw out after the job is complete.
Which Respirator to Use?
Protecting your lungs from exposure to mold spores is one of the most critical steps. We simply can’t stress it enough in our recommendations for how to remove mold from wood. For this reason, it is essential to know which kind of respirator you should use.
This choice should depend upon the amount and type of mold in the area you are cleaning.
For instance, if there is only a small amount of mold found on the area you are cleaning, a simple face mask that covers the face and nose will do the job. This kind of respirator is easy to find and readily available in many stores.
When you start dealing with more substantial amounts of mold, you will want to upgrade to a half-face or full-face respirator. This heavy-duty protection is especially necessary if you are dealing with particularly harmful kinds such as black mold. You may have to go to a specialty store or order a full air mask online.
Professionals Standing By to Assist
The step-by-step instructions above show how to remove mold from wood surfaces in your home. Often, this is a minor job that you can take care of using household cleaning solutions. Even larger tasks with more severe types of mold growth can be manageable on your own.
When dealing with higher levels of mold growth, it is crucial to wear the right protective gear to protect yourself. Also, be sure you clean surfaces in a way that effectively kills mold but does not damage the wood surface. As long as you work carefully and follow the steps above, you should be able to effectively clean mold that appears on the mold in your home.
With that said, some jobs require a professional. If mold growth is particularly deep, you may need to have floors and walls replaced in your home. Also, if you suffer from allergies or respiratory issues, it may be smart to hire professional help.
When in doubt, call the experts. Call All Dry USA for a mold restoration company that will take care of the job safely and professionally.