How to Remove Mold From Wood

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Categories Cleaning Mold
Don’t let mold ruin fine wood.

Mold infestations on wood within your home, whether on your furniture, floors or decking, are unsightly. More importantly, it can be hazardous to your health and has the potential to completely destroy wood. Therefore, it’s imperative to take action as soon as you notice any signs of mold.

Three common types of mold can grow on wood, which can be identified and removed accordingly. Wood is a porous material, so it can be more challenging to remove mold. Thankfully, there is a range of effective products and techniques you can use to kill it.

Then once the wood is mold-free, make sure to take preventative measures to protect it from mold in the future.


How to Identify Mold on Wood

Wood is notorious for mold growth as it easily absorbs water — making it a perfect environment for mold to grow (1). If you notice patches of black dots, green streaks or white discoloration on your wood surfaces, this is a sign of mold growth. You’ll need to take action immediately.

Hundreds of species of mold are present in indoor and outdoor environments. While many mold species are safe, some can be hazardous to your health, especially if they grow inside your home (2).

Understanding the Different Types of Mold

The three most common types of mold can be identified by their color — black, white and green. There are significant differences between these three species of molds. Therefore it’s a good idea to have an understanding about each of them so that you know the severity of your mold problem.

Black Mold

Black Mold

Many types of mold can be black and are harmless. However, one of the most dangerous types of black mold is Stachybotrys chartarum.

Because it releases mycotoxins, exposure to this black mold can cause serious health issues. Exposure to these can also lead to respiratory problems as well as headaches and more (3). So if you notice signs of this type of mold on your wood surfaces, you should take action as quickly as possible.

Black mold needs more moisture than other types of mold in order to grow. As a result, it’s more likely to be found in damp places or in areas where there’s been a flood or water leak (4).

Unfortunately, this type of mold has deeper roots than the other types of mold. Naturally, this makes it harder to get rid of, especially if it has infested porous surfaces like wood.

White Mold

White mold has a powdery, stringy appearance and is not toxic. However, a moldy environment within the home can still cause health issues for you and your family.

White mold grows on organic materials, such as wood, fabric, food and carpet. Mold growth on a wooden structure can cause rot and destroy it if not dealt with. You should take action to remove it before it causes permanent damage to wood within your home.

Green Mold

The term “green mold” applies to a variety of species and usually has a soft and fuzzy texture. This type of mold grows on spoiled food like bread and fruit. You’ll also find it in areas of your home where there is a water problem.

Green mold can be harmful. Although not quite as dangerous as black mold, it can still cause medical problems. So you should ensure that you get rid of it as soon as you see any signs of growth.

Whichever type of mold you notice growing on wood within your home, it’s advisable to remove it immediately before it becomes a severe issue.

Products for Removing Mold From Wood

There are numerous ways to get rid of mold from wood. You can either use eco-friendly, natural products or chemical products.

Different products are suitable for different types of wood. It depends on whether the wood has been painted or stained, making it non-porous, or if it’s unpainted and unstained, making it porous. On non-porous wood, mold remains on the surface, but if on porous wood, then the roots will be within the wood.

  • Vodka: This may surprise you, but vodka is highly effective at killing mold on painted or stained wood. Plus, it disinfects the surface too.
  • Borax: This white household powder can be used only on treated non-porous wood. It kills mold and prevents new growth. However, as it has to be mixed with water, it could damage porous wood and make the problem worse.
  • Distilled white vinegar: Vinegar is a very effective way to remove mold on most wood surfaces. It will penetrate the wood and kill the mold at the roots.
  • Dishwashing detergent: Liquid dishwashing detergent mixed with warm water is highly effective at killing mold on painted or stained wood.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties, making it extremely effective at killing mold on porous surfaces such as wood (5).
  • Mold Armor: This fast-acting and powerful solution kills mold and forms a protective seal that prevents it from growing back.
  • Siamons International Mold Control: This safe and effective spray can be used on wood furniture, a composite wood deck, and any other type of wood in your home that may be affected by mold. ​It kills mold and eliminates moisture, which helps to prevent mold growing back.
  • Sporicidin Mold Stain Cleaner: This is a highly concentrated and powerful formula for treating mold on wood.

Take Note

Avoid using bleach to remove mold from wood. It doesn’t penetrate the surface enough to effectively kill the mold and will only work on hard surfaces such as tiles. Worse still, it can damage the wood and also be toxic.

How to Remove Mold from Wood Furniture

If you’re dealing with light mold on wooden furniture that has been painted or stained, it’s likely that the mold is only on the surface. It can be removed by placing the furniture in direct sunlight. You may also clean it with distilled white vinegar, dish detergent, borax or even vodka.

But, to remove mold from wood, begin by vacuuming loose spores with the soft brush attachment. Then use one of the methods below:

Sunlight

An effective way to remove light mold and musty odors from wooden furniture is to place it outside in direct sunlight. Mold spores thrive where there is moisture, high humidity and darkness. Therefore, sunlight and fresh air is a powerful way to kill mold spores.

You’ll need to take the furniture outdoors early in the morning and bring it back inside before sunset. You can repeat this for another day or two if necessary. Remember to check the weather forecast to ensure your furniture doesn’t get soaked in a downpour.

For even better results, lightly spray the furniture with a solution of distilled white vinegar and water in the morning when you place it outside.

Dishwashing Detergent

If it’s not practical to take the item of furniture outside, you can clean it with diluted dish detergent. Mix a generous squirt of dish detergent in a bucket of warm water. Using a soft bristle brush, gently scrub the affected area.

When you have finished cleaning, wipe the surface with a damp cloth to rinse it. If the mold has been removed, you can then wipe the surface with a dry rag. But if there’s still mold on the furniture, you’ll need to repeat the process.

Vinegar

Add distilled white vinegar to a spray bottle and spray the furniture thoroughly. Leave it for an hour, then wipe the surface with a clean damp cloth.

Vodka

Fill a spray bottle with some cheap vodka (don’t waste the good stuff) and then apply it to the affected surface. Leave for approximately 10 minutes, then scrub away the mold using a sponge.

Ideally, you should move the furniture outside to dry in direct sunlight, or open windows to ventilate the room. This will help the wooden furniture dry as quickly as possible.

Borax

In a bucket, mix one cup of borax with a gallon of water. Apply the solution using a rag and scrub until the mold is gone.

Next, wipe the furniture with a clean cloth to remove any excess solution. Then leave the furniture to dry, ideally in the sun. Once the wood is completely dry, you can apply a few drops of linseed oil to a clean linen cloth and wipe the surface.

Removing Mold from Wood Floors and Ceilings

If you have surface mold on your wood floor or ceiling, your first step needs to be identifying the source of the mold. This means that you’ll need to look for any signs of water damage (such as leaks) that may have caused the mold.

Then, you’ll need to clear away any furniture in the room. This helps to expose the entire area that has been affected by mold.

Next, prepare a spray bottle of vinegar, dishwashing soap and water. Spray on the affected area, allow it to sit for 10 minutes and wipe with a cloth. This will kill any live mold before it spreads.

Make sure to wipe the area with a clean, wet cloth to remove any solution once the mold is gone. Once the floor has completely dried, you can put furniture back in place. However, we recommend that you check the area over the next few weeks to ensure that the mold has not returned.

If the mold has penetrated the wood floor or ceiling, you can try using either hydrogen peroxide or a professional chemical solution. Apply to the affected wood and let the solution soak in for a few minutes, then use a hard bristle brush and scrub the mold.

Keep in Mind

Wear protective equipment when working to remove mold. We recommend wearing rubber gloves and a protective mask. And don’t forget to either turn on a fan or open windows to ventilate the room.

How to Get Rid of Mold on Wood Decks

Wood decks are particularly prone to mold as they are outdoors and exposed to the elements. The most effective way to get rid of mold on your decks is to mix one-third of a cup of laundry detergent per gallon of water. Dip a hard brush into the solution and scrub the deck.

If the wood is stained from the mold, you may have to do more. Use a specialized deck cleaner containing oxygen bleach which will help to remove any markings. After you have removed the mold, it’s advisable to apply a protective coat to your deck to prevent mold in the future.

Tips for Preventing Mold on Wood

You can help to prevent mold affecting wood in your home by taking some proactive measures. Sadly, if the mold has penetrated too far into the wood, it’s most likely damaged and will need replacing.

The most effective way to prevent mold from growing on wood is to keep the wood surface dry. To do this you will need to dry wet areas as soon as possible. It’s also crucial to control the humidity and moisture levels of your home — keep humidity under 60 percent (6).

You can minimize the humidity by using a dehumidifier, as this will remove moisture from the air. You can also open the windows as often as possible to ventilate the rooms and allow fresh air to circulate.


Breaking the Mold

It’s essential to look out for signs of mold on your wood surfaces. You’ll need to take steps to get rid of it as soon as it begins to grow — before it spreads too much and becomes a serious issue.

If you need to know how to remove mold from wood, we hope we’ve handed out enough tips. Various natural and chemical treatments kill mold and prevent future mold growth.

However, prevention trumps cure. So, taking measures to prevent damp conditions in your home and ensuring you fix any water leaks quickly are the best solutions for stopping mold growth on wood.

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About the Author

Matthew Sullivan

As a writer with keen interests in DIY and HVAC, Matthew has always found great pleasure in taking things apart and learning how to put them back together.
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