What is mold? To simply put it, mold is any species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Mold generally floats around us undetected until it gets optimum conditions such as warmth and moisture, and that’s when it begins to grow. It thrives well on almost anything organic like ceilings, clothes, floors, etc. Wood can be a habitat for mold as it can soak and hold water; hence mold can survive easily here.
It is sad to find your beautiful furniture infested with mold. So then the question becomes, how to remove mold from wood? The trick is to make sure it hasn’t spread as that makes it harder to eradicate it completely. In this article, I will take you through the steps on how to remove mold from wood. But before we get to that you will need to know what tools to us e.
What Tools Do We Need To Use?
- Dishwashing agents
- Chlorine Bleach
- Soft-bristled scrub brush
- Soft cloth
- Safety gear (goggles, gloves, and air mask)
Step 1. Wear Your Protective Gear
Before embarking on this procedure, the first thing is to take care of ourselves. Mold is harmful to human health if it gets into your body, especially your lungs. Again we will be using chemical agents that can be dangerous to you if they come into contact with your body, and we need to be protected. Seal off the area you want to work so that the spores do not spread to the rest of the house. Consider opening up the windows and using a fan to facilitate aeration.
Step 2. Prevent the Spread Of The Mould
First and foremost, you need to find the root cause of the problem. This might be a leakage, floods, dampness, and you should cut off this source before trying to remove the mold from the wood.
Do this by moving your infested wood outside to avoid spreading it to other items. Unfortunately, if you don’t have the luxury of doing it outdoors, ensure you open doors and windows to allow ventilation. Additionally, place the piece of wood on a trash bag, then use a vacuum (with a HEPA filter) and vacuum the loose mold on the wood to ensure it doesn’t float in the air. As said earlier, it can spread to other things in your house and also can be harmful to your health if ingested into your body.
Step 3. Wash Down Your Painted or Sealed Wood
Painted wood is usually easy to remove mold. This is because paint acts as a repellant for insects as well as mold. So, if the wood has not been affected much, wash it out with dishwashing detergent or just soap and water. Use your bristled brush to scrub the surface of the piece of wood. If the mold has penetrated the wood, you need to sand it to comove the stain completely. Try not to saturate the wood with water, and if in case it happens, remove the excess water with the sponge.
Step 4. Exterminating the Mould
White vinegar will kill almost 82% of mold species, and you can use it on virtually any surface. The good thing is that its odor clears very fast. If the mold is less concentrated and severed the piece of wood, spray distilled white vinegar on the area. Allow the wood to rest outside until the stain has completely vanished and then buff the surface with a cloth.
If the stain has penetrated and cannot be removed by vinegar it is time to take more drastic action. Mix a part of the dishwashing detergent with a half cup of chlorine bleach and warm water. Apply the mixture to the stain and scrub gently with the bristled brush and let it air dry. Finish off with a soft dry cloth to bluff.
On the brighter side, there are other ways to remove mold without resulting in using harsh chemicals used to eradicate mold. Some of those chemicals can be as dangerous if not handled by a professional. Some of the natural ways include:
Use Of Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is not new to many of us. You can find it in many of our medicine cabinets or first aid kits. It is a solution with antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Due to its antifungal ability, we observe that it is an effective mold treatment. Put a 3% concentrated solution of hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and spray the affected area. Leave it for about 15minutes then scrub the area to remove the stains. Ones it’s out, use a dry cloth to wipe down.
Using Baking Soda
From being a common item in our kitchens, baking soda is an ideal absorbent of moisture that could attract mold. Combine ¼ tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle with water and shake till fully dissolved. Then spray the infected area. Use a bristled brush to scrub and remove the mold from the surface. Rinse the surface with water to remove any left-over mold or spores. Finally, respray the area to kill any mold that may have been left behind and let it air dry.
For hard to remove mold, mix two parts baking soda, one-part white vinegar and one-part water. Mix the mixture until it becomes a thick paste and spread it on the affected areas. Let it dry off and scrub thoroughly until the stain comes off. Rinse with water and use a dry cloth to wipe down.
Treating With Lemons
Lemons are known to be a natural deodorizer, antiseptic, bleach, cleaner, and stain remover. The high concentration of acid in lemons makes it easy to remove mold leaving the surface disinfected. Squeeze a few lemons in a container and pour over the infected area. Let it sit for a few minutes then scrub. Rinse with water and wipe down the residual water. Let it dry off.
Step 5. Sanding and Resealing
If the stain persists and has refused to get out, it’s time to sand out the stain. Sanding will remove any left-over stains that have deeply penetrated the wood. After its gone, it’s time to refinish or seal the area to prevent further damage. Note, if this is a process that you cannot consult an expert for help.
Tips To Consider
- If your wood cannot be taken outdoors like your floorboards, use a fan and heater to remove the spores from the room and to keep it aerated. The heater will evaporate the moisture from the wood. Make sure not to place them near the wood; otherwise, it will just irritate the mold more. Let them run for at least four hours. The airflow ensures there is no further spread of the mold.
- Sand in a circular motion to remove the surface mold. Use a 100 or 200 grit sandpaper.
- Most of our bathrooms have wooden doors. So keep the bathroom door open after showering to allow the moisture out.
- Get a dehumidifier if you don’t have one in your home. Keep the humidity levels about 30-50% to stop the growth of mold.
- Always use protective gear when trying to remove mold from any surface.
- Never mix ammonia or any detergent containing ammonia with bleach as it produces a very poisonous gas.
- You must remove the source of moisture that is giving out moisture, which causes the mold to grow, e.g. leaks, dampness from cooking or bathing, floods, etc. Ensure that the spread of mold is stopped.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does vinegar kill mold?
Yes, it does. White vinegar is an effective mold killer and, at the same time, disinfects the surface. If diluted with water it loses its effectiveness.
What household products can I use to exterminate mold?
There is a wide variety of items used to kill mols such as hydrogen peroxide, lemons, baking soda, and bleach. You can also use cheap vodka on light molds using a spray bottle.
Is it safe to remove mold by yourself?
If you are familiar with the DIY procedure or a certified to do the work, then yes. But it is advisable to get help and advice from a professional. If you are going to remove the mold yourself, take precautionary care by wearing protective equipment such as heavy-duty gloves, goggles, and air masks. Cover your skin as some mold can cause an allerigc reaction.
- Can cleaning mold make you sick?
Yes, mold is harmful to your health. That’s the reason why you should eliminate it completely. While cleaning, it is advisable to wear protective gear and seal off areas you are working in. If not, work on your project outside, whereby spores cannot spread. The sun will kill the mold as it cannot survive in areas with no humidity.
What is more effective bleach or white vinegar when removing mold?
Both are effective. However, white vinegar is better since it can penetrate porous and non-porous material and kill more mold. As for bleach, it does kill the mold though there is a high chance it will come back again.
What causes mold on furniture?
As indicated earlier, mold thrives well in places with excess humidity, warmth, and not well ventilated. If your furniture is exposed to flooding, leaking, and any type of dampness can cause your furniture to grow mold.
Do I need to throw out moldy furniture?
Not necessarily. Furniture is a long time investment and should not be thrown away. If the wood can be saved through some known ways, there is no need to throw away the furniture. But if the mold has completely eaten away at the furniture, it cannot be saved. Just throw it away.
Does mold ever go away?
Not really. Mold can stay inactive for a very long time, and if the conditions are right, that when it grows. Without moisture, oxygen, and warmth, mold cannot grow and spread. That is why it is advisable to ensure that your space is well ventilated to allow aeration of clean air that removes humidity.
Can I kill mold if I paint on it?
Paint does not kill mold. On the contrary, paint is mold resistant and thus cannot react upon it to stop the growth and spread of the mold. You should only paint after you have completely removed the mold from your wood.
How can I kill black mold?
First off, black mold is a type of fungi that grows indoors. Some of the characteristics of black mold include;
- Looks black
- Grows in a circular pattern
- Patches that look like dots
- Looks slimy on wet surfaces
- Looks like soot on dry surfaces
Use the recommended ways to remove the stain if you can, otherwise consult a professional to do it for you. If the wood has completely deteriorated, consider replacing it.
Learning how to remove mold from wood can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what to do. This doesn’t mean that it is impossible. If the mold hasn’t spread, you can try removing it yourself following safety precautions. If it has spread, call a professional to do it for you. Follow some safety tips laid out on how to minimize the conditions necessary for mold growth.