Getting the right assessment is the first step in knowing how to remove mold from wood. From there on, you can use a simple solution of soap and water and a soft brush to clean up. After scrubbing off the mold, you can use a sponge to clear up the excess liquid from the spot.
Have you suffered property damage as a result of mold? Are you unable to stomach their smell? Or has your asthma just had enough of these nasty little microbes?
Well, mold infestations can wreak havoc around your house if left unchecked. This fact is especially true when your home has lots of items or surfaces made from wood. The reason is that wood has a high tendency of absorbing water. If you add warm temperatures to this equation, you’d have the perfect breeding ground for mold spores.
Today I am here to offer you a sigh of relief by showing you how to remove mold from wood in your homes.
What is a mold?
A mold is a type of fungus that grows in humid areas and reproduces through spores. These spores are tiny microscopic particles that float and spread through the air.
Extensive exposure to mold spores through inhalation could prove harmful to humans. This is because some mold spores have irritants, allergens, and toxins in some cases.
Worth mentioning too is that for a spore to grow, it requires a warm and moist environment. Also, it grows well in undisturbed areas such as under your furniture and pantry pallets.
How to check for mold
Before I jump into the cleaning details, how can you tell the difference between mold and dust?
Most of the time, people find it difficult to differentiate between a mold and a dust patch. To make matters worse, it can get even more difficult if you’re depending on eyesight alone.
That is why I have thrown in the following quick tips to help you tell mold from dust.
Tips to help you detect mold in your house:
- When searching low places e.g. under shelves, and find “dust” resting beneath – know that that is mold. Dust particles obey gravity and will settle ‘on top’ of surfaces as opposed to beneath them.
- You can dab the identified stain with a cotton swab soaked in bleach. If the stain turns white after a few minutes, then you have confirmed mold growth. If it doesn’t turn white, then that is just dust and you have nothing to worry about.
- If you pick up a scent of ‘wet soil’ inside your house, then you might have mold growth. This particular smell may come off as damp and will irritate people with sensitive noses. Chances are, you might not feel it if you spend a lot of time at home. So, you’ll have to spend some time outside first before going in to inspect the air.
Make removing mold from your wooden surfaces a regular practice at home.
A quick reaction prevents the spores from penetrating deep into the wood. If it does, the infestation could cause rot and compromise the quality of the structure.
So, how do you remove mold from wood?
How to remove mold from wood
Experts from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggest that you should seek professional help if the affected area exceeds 10 or more square feet.
The good news is that clearing mold from wood is not that challenging. On top of that, you can also use everyday household products like washing detergents, bleach, or vinegar.
With that said, what are the actual steps involved in cleaning mold from wood in 2021?
Let’s find out below:
Step 1 – Put on protective gear
As I mentioned earlier, mold spores could harm your lungs when inhaled into the body. Therefore, you must ensure that you wear the right protective clothing before beginning.
During the exercise, make sure that you have a face mask covering your mouth and nose. Also, wear goggles to protect you from accidental splashes into your eyes. Trust me, you don’t want to find out how harsh the sting is.
Lastly, use rubber gloves to protect your hands, especially when using bleach.
Step 2 – Vacuum the spot
Using a cleaner with a HEPA filter, vacuum the loose mold in the affected area of the wood. Make sure you run it over the immediate surroundings too.
Afterward, take the vacuum outside and empty the contents into a tightly sealed plastic bag. Doing this prevents the mold spores from escaping and infesting other places.
Step 3 – Use a soap and water solution
A simple solution of soap and warm water works best when dealing with painted surfaces. It’s also super effective if the mold has not moved deep into the piece of wood.
So, how do you do it?
- Mix a teaspoon of cleaning detergent into a spray bottle filled with warm water and shake.
- Aim and spray on the affected area. Then, using a brush with soft bristles, scrub off the mold gently.
- Make sure you dry off excess liquid as you continue scrubbing.
- When satisfied, dry off the spot using a sponge or towel.
If the above solution does not work, try bringing some white vinegar into the action. It is an effective mold remover and a great alternative.
When using vinegar:
- Mix an equal part of warm water and vinegar in a bottle and spray on the affected area.
- This time, let the sprayed solution sit for one hour as it reacts with the mold.
- Afterward, clean up by wiping the wood using a damp cloth then later dry with a towel.
You may need to reach for a stronger solution if the mold spores have penetrated the wood. Hence, the bleaching option.
In that case:
- Mix some warm water, a few parts of chlorine, and a little measure of detergent and stir. ½ cup bleach to one gallon of water is the standard offered by the Safety and Health Administration.
- Use a sponge or a brush to apply this solution to the moldy surface.
- After applying, you should leave the solution on the wood to work before wiping and air-drying.
Step 4 – Sand the wood if the problem persists
Should you still have mold stains after the cleaning – then it’s time to bring out the big guns. And that involves sanding the wood in this case.
Now, this should come as your last resort and only after you’ve gone through the above steps.
To do it:
- Get a piece of 100-grit sandpaper and file out the affected spot. Ensure that you don’t sand off too much into the wood or the surrounding area.
- You can use the vacuum cleaner again to clear any dust or loosened spores.
- Repeat the above steps until no signs of mold remain.
Other ways to remove mold
Other ways of dealing with mold include:
You’ve learned that mold spores require darkness and moisture to grow. That is why it’s no big surprise that sunlight can prevent this from happening on your wood.
However, this method only works when dealing with mild infestations. What’s more, it only applies to objects that you can move outdoors.
Therefore, to use sunlight as an agent:
- Ensure that the weather forecast is hot and dry.
- Create the necessary space needed outside according to the size of the items you have.
- Remove your items (carpets, furniture, and other textiles) outside.
- Leave the items to bask in the sun for at least two days before dusting and bringing them in.
2. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Baking soda is great for removing mold from wood, walls, and carpets.
To use it:
- Mix a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in a bottle with water and spray on the mold.
- You can also sprinkle the solid granules over the mold patch if it’s on a flat surface.
- In both cases, you only need to let the agent sit in the affected area. If you go with the soda solution, then you’ll have to apply it twice for results.
Common types of mold found in homes
As you might know by now, mold growths appear in a variety of colors. These colors range from black (most common), green, grey, brown, white, and even yellow. If your nemesis is a black patch, then I advise that you proceed with caution. It is often hard to distinguish between the non-toxic black mold from the toxic species.
According to American Mold Experts, there are four major types of mold commonly found in homes.
This type of mold may have a black, white, brown, green, yellow, or grey color appearance. If it enters your body, it can cause serious infections, more so to persons with allergy reactions. It can also cause damage to persons with weaker immune systems.
That said, you can find the aspergillus mold growing on your walls, clothing, and paper products.
The Stachybotrys mold loves moisture and often grows with a greenish-black color. It can create harmful toxins and thrives on high-cellulose materials like gypsum boards and paper.
You definitely don’t want it hanging around your house.
Its growth happens when you have water leaks, infiltration, or flooding.
When you have the Stachybotrys growing in your home, you should get help from experts.
Apart from the two types above, we also have the Cladosporium mold. This type may have a black, green, or brown appearance.
If inhaled, it may result in an allergic reaction to some people. Other than that, it grows on wood, walls, and insulation.
The Penicillium strain grows on foods such as bread, fruits, or cheeses. It is also found growing on insulation, walls, and other places.
This type of mold mostly has a green, blue, or white appearance.
How to prevent mold growths in the future
I’ve gone through the trouble of showing you how to prevent mold growth on your wood.
According to EPA, to prevent future mold growths in your homes, you should:
- Fix all water leaks, damages, floodings, and condensations as soon as possible. Also, make sure that you dry up the affected areas completely.
- Throw away any porous or absorbent materials like carpets and ceiling tiles if they get moldy. Otherwise, they can provide one hell of a nursery for mold spores to breed on.
- Avoid applying paint over moldy surfaces. The reason is that the paint will likely peel after a while. Instead, you should clean up and dry the surface first before painting.
- Call in mold specialists if you don’t have confidence in your cleaning skills. The specialists ensure that the mold gets properly dealt with and can keep further growth at bay.
NB: When the affected wood has suffered great damage, you’d best replace it. Otherwise, the rot from the mold could spread to other regions.
There you have it!
You now know how to remove mold from wood. You also know the common types of mold likely to invade your home. And on top of that, I’ve also shown you how best to prevent mold growth on your wooden surfaces.
While this article puts lots of focus on the household setting, you can apply the same knowledge learned here in your office or business spaces.
I hope this information was helpful to you. Now, go kick some mold butt!