Mold! It’s nasty. It’s ugly. You don’t want it in any part of your house. Especially on woods. There is not undoubtedly a home that is immune to mold growth. While not all mold is dangerous, how can you tell?
That’s what this article is all about. Since wood is porous and the material itself is hygroscopic, it has a tendency to soak up water and retain it.
Think of it like a sponge. Makes sense? Now, what any of these have to do with mold?
Good point. Before I answer this question, let’s see actually how mold forms in the first place.
Mold grows in damp places where moisture builds up the most. Before you can clean up the mold, you need to estimate the situation.
Start by distinguishing the full extent of mold growth in the affected area. This could be either easy or difficult depending on your situation.
If the contaminated area is small, like the size of plywood, you can deal it with yourself. For bigger infected areas, it’s better to leave it to the pros.
How to Remove Mold from Wood
Step 1: Safety First
First things first. Prep work! You need to act fast. Make sure you got everything right where you need it to be.
- Rubber Gloves
- Air Mask
- Safety Goggles
- HEPA Filtered Vacuum
Make sure you got everything set up before you start removing mold. Put on your gloves, safety goggles, and a rubber mask.
Wear protective clothing if you have allergy problems. Because of the harmful effects of mold spores, it’s highly recommended that you use an N95 mask or P 100 respirators.
If you don’t have them, make sure to cover as much skin as possible.
Mold spores are harmful if they get inside your lungs. You also need to prevent the spores from spreading. That’s why it’s recommended to prep up everything beforehand.
Step 2: Preventive Measures
If possible, you should take the affected wood outdoors. Proper ventilation is needed. If you can’t do that, at least keep your windows open before starting.
Who knows, you might spread mold spores everywhere. You certainly don’t want that happening. Only clean mold inside your house if you can’t do it outdoors.
If you do manage to take your wooden furniture outside, wrap them up with plastic bags, i.e., garbage bags and tape them. Then move them out.
It will prevent the spores from spreading elsewhere. You can also use them later on when you are done cleaning up.
If you plan on using bleach, it’s better to do it in a well-ventilated area. Because of toxic fumes of bleach and to prevent stains.
Step 3: Get a HEPA Vacuum
You need a HEPA filtered vacuum with an arm attachment. This will suck up dirt and debris from wood as well as loose mold spores.
Vacuum the affected areas slowly. Keep doing it a couple of times. When done, empty the vacuum bag. Seal it tight and get rid of it.
Step 4: Dealing With Painted Wood
If the wood is painted, it means the mold is only on the surface. Because mold can’t penetrate the painted surface.
For this, you only need mild cleaning solution. Warm water and dish washing detergent.
Mix them up, take a soft bristle brush, dip it into the soapy mixture and give the molded area a gentle scrub.
If you don’t see any noticeable result, use vinegar. The best way to kill mold. Some say bleach kills mold which is utter horse shit.
Bleach only removes the surface mold but doesn’t kill it.
Take a spray bottle, fill it with vinegar. Spray it on the surface area and let it sit for an hour. It works like a charm.
After that, take a clean damp towel and wipe the wood down. Repeat the process until there is no mold left.
Make sure to check the wood thoroughly for any remaining mold. Then finish it up by wiping the wood with a rag.
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Step 5: Dealing with Light Mold
If the mold is light, sunlight is enough to deal with it. Take your wooden furniture out. Let it sunbath through the day.
It’s a great way to remove those musty smells and light mold. Repeat this airing process two or three times if needed. It’s better to start at early morning and keep it out till sunset.
For better results, mix white vinegar with water and spray it on the furniture before placing it out in the morning. This will improve the mold killing process.
If you don’t want to take your furniture outside, you can get the same result by placing it inside a small, well humid room with a dehumidifier. Only do this if you have a humid climate in your home.
Step 5.1: Dealing with the Leftovers
Still got some mold left? It’s time for some cheap vodka. Don’t drink it. Throw it into a spray bottle and mist the whole wood. That’s why I told you to get the cheaper ones.
For better result, let the furniture air dry in direct sunlight. Make sure you must use the whole wood.
Step 6: Dealing with Heavier Mold
Even after all that, if the mold still won’t go away, it means you are dealing with heavy mold. What I mean by that is the mold is more likely to have penetrated the wood surface.
It doesn’t matter if the wood is raw or finished, you need to deal with it with a stronger solution. Here are the main ingredients for that;
- 1-part detergent,
- 10 parts bleach,
- 20 parts warm water.
Bleach alone won’t remove all the mold. It will only remove them from the surface. After that, the detergent can easily reach the root of the mold and kill it from the inside.
Start out by testing this solution in a small area. It’s just to make sure you don’t accidentally discolor any of your wooden furniture.
Take a bristle brush, dip it into the solution and scrub the affected area in circular motion. Don’t apply too much pressure. After that, let it air dry.
Repeat this step. This method alone should be enough to deal with heavy mold on wood.
Step 7: Finishing Up
For better result, use 100 or 220 grit sandpaper. Start by sanding wood when it’s damp and sprayed with bleach. It will remove any leftover residue.
If you see any remaining mold, first try to sand it with the 100 grit sandpaper first. After that, use the 220 grit sandpaper and give it a second wipe.
Do keep in mind that using sandpaper may leave a permanent stain on wood. Make sure you only use it in areas where mold shows.
Finally, take a dry microfiber cloth and give it a gentle wipe. It will remove any remaining residue after sanding.
While it may seem like a shit load of work, but this is the easiest way to do it. For a small amount of mold, you can clean and remove them by yourself.
But, for more extensive affected areas, it’s better if you leave it to the pros. Don’t ignore even the slightest amount mold. These pesky little fungi can spread like wildfire. Stay safe. Stay Healthy.