There are tons of mold spores in the air around you right now. Don’t fret; it’s nothing out of the ordinary. These spores are always in the air, looking for a perfect breeding site. This is where moisture and heat enter the equation.
Under the right conditions, these mold spores will settle and grow, especially on wood and walls.
With that said, it is obvious you need to learn what mold is, why they grow on wood, and, more importantly, how to remove mold from the wooden surface.
How to Remove Mold from Wood
Remove mold from wood using dishwashing soap and warm water. Fill a spray bottle with water and little soap, then shake it up. Spray the mixture on the affected area with mold as you brush gently. Finally, rinse the wood with clean water and allow it to dry completely.
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungi that grows in multicellular structures called hyphae. They can appear in several colors, including black, white, purple, orange, or green.
The hyphae on mold are responsible for producing the microscopic spores that the mold needs to grow. These mold spores are dispersed into the air when a mold matures.
Mold spores are tiny that we can’t even see them in the air. However, they can float around the air quite easily because of their very lightweight, looking for suitable spots to grow in.
And suitable to mold spores means moisture and warmth – you can throw in a little darkness there too. Since wood is a good absorber of moisture, in particular, mold spores that land on them may start growing into the actual mold.
This is when you start to notice it; after a while, the mold develops and releases even more mold spores into the air. As you may imagine, if left unchecked, you may have yourself a huge mold problem.
Aside from wood furniture, mold may also infest floors, walls, carpets, and surfaces in the humid regions of your apartment, like under the kitchen sink, bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc.
Types of Mold
There are different types of mold. Some of them can be very harmful to man, others – not so much. Harmful in this sense implies allergenic, pathogenic, or toxigenic.
Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter the type of mold in your house; you need to learn how to remove the mold from wood.
1. Black Mold
Black mold species are king in terms of potential health hazards to man. There are many black mold species, but Stachybotrys chartarum is the most identified as black mold.
Aside from constituting a greater health threat, these mold species are usually more difficult to eradicate from wood surfaces as they can firmly root themselves.
2. White Mold
Mold species that are white and have a powdery texture fall under the classification of white mold. Mold can occur in different colors, remember?
There are a few white species, like penicillium, aspergillus, and Cladosporium. White mold can change its color later or remain white. Generally, white mold species are not as harmful as their black counterparts.
Mold and mildew are often taken for one another. Many even believe they are the same species, but not quite. Mildew is a specific type of mold and is the most common type found in homes.
They are classified into powdery and downy mildew. Unlike many mold species, mildew is relatively easy to get rid of because it has a flat growth and doesn’t penetrate wood surfaces.
4. Green Mold
This mold is more common on food substances, like bread and some fruits, but they can also infest painted or stained wood surfaces. Although not as harmful as black mold, green mold still presents health hazards to house inhabitants.
How to Remove Mold from Wood Furniture & Other Surfaces
Now, to the moment of truth – how to remove mold from wood surfaces. There are various ways you can go about this; if one measure doesn’t work, you can always take another. On the other hand, if all the steps you try don’t work, seek professional assistance.
Precautions when Treating Mold on Wood
Before you learn how to remove mold stains from wood, you must know how to protect yourself. This is essential, considering how harmful mold can be to man.
Wear protective gear before examining the moldy wood, whether or not you are allergic to them. If inhaled in large quantities, mold spores can harm the lungs and other organs.
Start by getting a respirator mask. You aren’t going to be using just any protective mask now, though. Instead, use an N95 or N100 air mask to prevent mold spores from getting into your lungs.
Then, you need safety goggles to protect your eyes as the spores can be pretty itchy and irritable. You should get rubber gloves, given the chemicals you will likely be dealing with.
It will also be best to get an overall to protect your skin, but if you can’t get that, wear old clothes, as you will be dealing with chemicals that may splash and ruin clothes.
Another precaution is to undergo the removal process outdoors or in a well-ventilated room. If the infested wood is something you can remove from your house and take outdoors, please do.
If not, open all windows, and ensure proper airflow. You don’t need fans, though, as this may just end up blowing the mold spores all around.
The final precaution, or more of a warning now, is that if you discover at any step of the way that the process is overwhelming, you should call it quits and get a professional.
Tools Required in Removing Wood Mold
- N95 or N100 air mask
- Safety goggles
- Rubber gloves
- Vacuum cleaner
- Soft brush
- Spray bottle
- 100-grit sandpaper
- Soft cloth
Mold Treatment for Wood: Wood Mold Cleaner Options
There are many ways of getting rid of wood mold, including natural and chemical agents. So let’s look at what to use to clean mold off wood.
Yes, the same vodka! Who would have thought? But vodka effectively removes mold from wood surfaces, particularly light mold.
An added advantage is that vodka has some antimicrobial properties, which will also disinfect the affected area. Alcohol will perform the same as vodka too.
2. Distilled White Vinegar
Vinegar is a natural acid, which, by implication, suggests it is a weak acid. However, it is very effective in killing mold and mold spores. In addition, it is stronger than vodka and alcohol, making it suitable for deep-rooted mold.
A warm cleaning solution of detergent is another great agent for cleaning mold off wood.
Dishwashing detergent is a surfactant that can potentiate other agents’ action, like bleach, ensuring a total fungicidal action on the wood mold.
4. Chlorine Bleach
Bleach is an even stronger disinfectant than alcohol and apple cider vinegar. However, its strongly basic nature means very few organisms can survive after exposure to it.
However, its fumes can be toxic and irritating to man, so extra care should be taken when using bleach. Bleach is typically administered with warm water and soap solution.
Borax is a natural fungicide and will kill mold and its loose spores. Unlike bleach, it doesn’t produce toxic fumes. However, the Borax solution can damage porous wood. As such, you should only use borax should on non-porous surfaces.
6. Tea Tree Oil
This oil has potent antifungal activity and effectively removes mold spores from wood surfaces. It is also easy to use. The downside to using tea tree oil is its relatively high cost.
7. Hydrogen Peroxide
This chemical is common in many cleaning products because of its strong antimicrobial activity. It will kill wood mold, disinfect the wood, and rid it of other microorganisms.
Ways to Remove Mold from Wood
Here are 6 ways of removing mold from wood furniture. But sometimes, your preferred method won’t cut it because the mold has penetrated deep into the wood.
So we recommend that you start with the first method, i.e, sunlight, and move to the next if it doesn’t work. Essentially, it’s more of a step-by-step process rather than methods.
First things first: Vacuuming
The first step in removing mold from wood is vacuuming the affected wood surfaces. A good vacuum with a HEPA filter will clear off mold spores, sand, and other small dirt on the surface of the wood.
After the vacuum traps all spores and dirt, empty it outside, preferably in a sealed plastic bag. Releasing the vacuum content in your house will only see these spores redispersed, and you will be back to square one in a few days.
How to Get Mold off Furniture through Exposure to Sunlight
If mold infests your wood surfaces because of too little sun exposure, then all you need may be direct sunlight. Mold grows best under warm, damp, and dark, damp places. Exposing the wood to sunlight will remove the dampness, darkness, and warmth the mold needs to develop.
Take the wood out after dew has evaporated not to dampen it further and back in after sunset when the temperature will fall drastically.
How to Remove Mildew from Wood Furniture with Vodka
If exposure to sunlight doesn’t work, you should spray the wood surface with chemicals using a spray bottle. There are various mold killer sprays that you can use in washing, but you should start with vodka.
Spray vodka on the wood and allow it to completely dry. This is an effective mold prevention method. You should combine sun-drying with vodka-spraying for even better results. Allow the wood to dry before bringing it back in.
How to clean mold from wood with Detergent
If the mold is resistant to vinegar and sun-drying, you should take it up a notch with laundry detergent. Get liquid dishwashing detergent and mix it with warm water.
Using a soft-bristled brush, gently scrub the affected area with soap water. Ensure that your brush is gentle to the wood, as some brushes may scratch and deface the wood surface.
After scrubbing, clean off the excess water with a damp cloth. Speaking of which, ensure you don’t saturate the wood with water.
Repeat this process if some mold remains on the wood.
How to Remove Mold Stains from Wood with Distilled White Vinegar
Vinegar is one of the most used chemicals for removing mold stains from wood because of its affordability and non-toxic nature. For me, it’s the best way to clean mold off wood.
Spray it on the affected wood surface using a spray bottle and wipe it with a damp cloth after an hour.
Distilled vinegar kills mold that is detergent-resistant mold. Repeat this process a few more times if necessary.
About 80% of mold species will not survive after this step, and if your wood is mold-free, wipe with a wood cleaning solution and then wipe with a soft dry cloth.
It’s not only molds!
How to Clean Mold off of Wood with Bleach
To the other 20% stubborn mold, you need something stronger, and bleach comes to mind. A bleach and soap mixture is typically reserved for all the mold that is hard to get off due to deep rooting and penetration of the affected wood.
Bleach can exude toxic fumes, so take care when handling it. This cleaning procedure has to be done outdoors or in a large square feet room, at the least.
Prepare your bleach mixture by mixing one tablespoon of detergent with a cup of warm water and then half a cup of bleach. Using a soft-bristled brush or sponge, thoroughly scrub the wood surface in circular motions. Allow the wood to dry under sunlight.
How to Get mold off of Wood by Sanding
The probability that you’ll reach this stage is low but not impossible, particularly for mold that has penetrated deep into the surface of the wood.
You need to sand down the wood to remove the remaining stubborn mold. After proper sanding, vacuum the wood surface to remove grit. If you’re inexperienced with sanding, you should call a professional.
To ensure the spores don’t return, you should spray the wood with paint after sanding. This will seal the pores in the wood.
Alternatively, you can use a black stain on wood if you want to transform the color into black without concealing the wood’s grain pattern.
After removing loose mold spores from wood surfaces, dispose of all the rags, plastic bags, and containers that came in contact with the mold spores. You should also ensure your protective gear is properly disinfected before returning them to your home.
Recommended read: How to remove a burn mark from wood.
Why Is There Mold Growth on Wood?
Mold spores are everywhere, dispersed in the air, seeking the perfect site to colonize. However, mold growth only occurs under the right temperature and moisture conditions.
Around 60-70 Fahrenheit is the best temperature for mold growth.
Mold also grows on damp and moist surfaces, meaning dry wood or wood exposed to adequate sunlight will be reasonably resistant to mold growth.
You will have noticed that leaking roofs or floors under bathrooms and kitchens are perfect sites for mold growth.
Dangers of Having Mold on Wood
The most significant danger of having mold persists on wood is the destruction of the wood after a while. Consider wood furniture, for instance.
Most mold species will dig their roots into the wood with time and keep growing, weakening the wood furniture and eventually breaking down.
Besides, mold can discolor and leave wood stains, even after removal.
The detrimental effects of mold can be felt by humans, too, particularly those with respiratory conditions. In addition, infants, the elderly, and people with a compromised immune system are also at a higher risk of the effects of mold.
Some effects of mold on humans include sneezing, rash, itching, shortness of breath, asthma attacks, and other respiratory complications.
Detecting Mold on Wood
Humans can easily detect most molds. Seriously, how can you not?
They are smelly and ugly and usually take on a distinct color. What is interesting, though, is that mold starts growing long before humans can detect it.
This implies that your piece of wooden furniture or door can be infested with mold, and you wouldn’t suspect a thing until it’s too late.
How then can you detect this kind of mold growth? First, let us introduce you to a moisture meter.
Well, this meter doesn’t detect mold growth; it only detects moisture content, which can then correlate to mold growth. If the moisture content in the wood is more than 20%, then it’s a valuable sign that the wood may be infested with mold.
When detecting the presence of mold, you should also focus on the affected area of your home or office. Check kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and the like. Where you feel moisture and heat can be trapped is a suitable mold-growing spot.
The sure way to detect mold is to have a professional come to your home and do a mold inspection. This will involve taking samples of any visible mold and sending them to a laboratory for analysis. The lab will determine if the mold is harmful and what type of mold it is.
Wood Mold Prevention Tips
Sure, cleaning mildew from wood is a good solution once you notice them, but mold spores are everywhere.
So, you can’t exactly remove all mold spores in your house. However, you can and should prevent mold from growing on wooden surfaces. The following tips and measures will help prevent future mold growth on wood surfaces.
1. Use dehumidifiers and hygrometers
These two will help regulate the moisture in your house.
The work of a dehumidifier is to help reduce total moisture, and a hygrometer can help measure relative humidity.
Ideally, you want a relative humidity below 60%. Getting moisture and humidity levels right is the first step to preventing mold from infesting wood surfaces.
2. Proper ventilation
Airflow is one of the more underrated measures in maintaining perfect living conditions for furniture.
Ensure rooms containing your furniture are properly ventilated. For example, you can move your furniture away from wall corners and use fans to promote proper air circulation and flow.
3. Proper insulation
Wood is a good insulator, so insulating wood surfaces prone to condensation is advisable, as this will help maintain their dryness and prevent mold growth.
4. Fix all drainage problems
This goes without saying, doesn’t it? Bad drainage can lead to wood soaking up water, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of mold infestation. So check your sinks and drainage pipes from time to time to ensure the drainage is perfect.
5. Avoid wet spots
It is common in some houses to have spots where water accumulates, especially after rain or snow. Ensure you clean mold spots to prevent water from penetrating the wood and increasing its moisture.
6. Periodic checking of wood
Using a moisture meter will help tell the moisture level of wood. Perform the checks periodically, especially if the wood is in areas where it can easily trap moisture.
Recommended read: How to remove permanent marker from wood.
How to Get Rid of Mold on Wood FAQs
How to clean mold off wood
You can clean mold from wood using warm water and dishwashing soap. Add some dishwashing solvent into an empty spray bottle. Fill it with warm water and shake well to ensure they blend. Spray the moldy areas while scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush to get the mold out. Use a dry sponge to wipe the excess liquid.
What kills black mold on wood
White vinegar kills black molds on porous and non-porous surfaces. To remove black molds from wood, mix white vinegar and warm water in equal measure. Spray the solution on the wood surface and let it dry for an hour. Then, gently scrub the wood surface and clean it with a moist cloth.
How to kill black mold on wood
Mix warm water and vinegar in equal proportions to kill black mold on wood. Spray the solution on the black molds allowing it to dry for an hour. Wipe the surface with a wet cloth to ensure the removal of all black molds from wood. Wipe with a dry towel.
How to get rid of white mold on wood
Mix one tablespoon baking soda and half a liter of water into a spraying bottle. Shake the mixture well to allow the baking soda to dissolve completely. Spray the solution on the moldy wood surface. Use a soft cloth or a soft brush to scrub the white mold.
How to remove mold from an unfinished wood
How to clean unfinished wood floors: Mix water, dishwashing soap, and bleach to remove mold from unfinished wood. Scrub the moldy wood surface with a soft brush to dislodge them. Finally, dry the unfinished wood using a dry cloth.
What does harmless black mold look like
Black mold may look different, but its dark water spots usually appear on walls, ceilings, and wood surfaces. A musty smell always accompanies black mold. Harmless black mold on wood can also be green or orange in color. Long exposure to mold may be harmful. Use a mixture of warm water and vinegar to kill black mold
Does bleach kill mold on wood?
No, while bleach does kill mold on non-porous surfaces, it’s not effective on wood. Because wood is porous, the chlorine in bleach cannot penetrate beneath the spores to molds’ roots. As a result, the wood’s pore structure absorbs only the bleach’s water component.
Can mold grow on wood?
Yes, mold can grow on wood. Wood is excellent at absorbing water. When moist wood is around warm temperatures, mold begins to develop. This can lead to an infestation of mold, destroying your wood.
Does borax kill mold?
Borax is effective in the elimination of mold without adding toxic chemicals. Although borax can be harmful to health if ingested, it is alright to use it as a disinfectant. Remember to use protective gloves and a mask while using borax.
How to prevent mold on wood
Mold thrives in a warm and damp environment. To prevent mold, ensure your wood is in a dry area. Proper air circulation by opening windows or air conditioners prevents damp accumulation. Keep moist away from your wood or dry it after contact with moisture.
How to remove mold from hardwood floors
- Use dishwashing soap and warm water solution on hardwood floors.
- In a spraying jar, add one teaspoon of dishwashing soap, fill it with water and shake well.
- Spray the places affected on the hardwood floor, Scrub using a soft brush to clean.
- Wipe the surface to remove excess liquid.
- Completely dry the surface.
How to get rid of green mold on wood
- Mix a gallon of water with a full cup of white vinegar.
- Scrub the solution on the affected area using a soft brush to remove green mold and algae.
- Dry the surface well.
Can you spray bleach on wood?
Definite No. It is very unsafe to spray bleach on wood structures. Bleach has chlorine that can destroy it when in contact with wood. In addition, it can break down the finish on wood, weakening it and causing discoloration.
How do you make a homemade mold and mildew remover for wood?
Mix equal amounts of warm water and vinegar into a spray bottle and shake well. Spritz the solution on the moldy areas. Allow the wood to dry for an hour, wipe the surface with a wet cloth, and finish by drying the wood with a dry cloth.
How to kill mold spores
Spray the affected surface area with hydrogen peroxide to saturate the mold. Allow it to sit for around ten minutes. With a soft brush, scrub the moldy residue removing all mold stains. Wipe the surface area clean using a dry cloth to remove the mold spores.
Does black mold grow on wood?
Black mold is caused by warm moisture around a wood surface. Black mold grows on wood when in contact with water and warm temperature. Common moldy areas are kitchen cabinets, wooden sinks, wood trims, wooden bathroom walls, and wooden furniture around moist places.
How to kill mold on porous surfaces
Hydrogen peroxide best kills mold on surfaces. Furthermore, hydrogen peroxide removes mold on both porous and non-porous surfaces. Porous surfaces commonly include wooden structures such as kitchen cabinets, bathroom doors, ceiling boards, and tables.
How to remove mold from wood window frames
- Use a solution of dishwashing soap and warm water to fix moldy wood window frames.
- In a spraying jar, add one teaspoon of dishwashing soap, fill it with water and shake well.
- Spray on the moldy parts on the wood window frames
- Scrub using a soft brush to clean.
- Wipe the surface to remove excess liquid.
- Dry the surface with a soft cloth
Is mold on wood dangerous
Yes, mold on wood can be dangerous to you and your loved ones. Prolonged mold exposure can bring brain disorders. In addition, the musty smell of mold can cause coughing, worsen allergies, and asthmatic conditions. Mild effects may include fatigue, dizziness, skin rashes, and respiratory issues that affect breathing.
How to treat fungus on wood
Borate chemicals are best suitable to protect the wood from dry rot causing fungus. Additionally, they create a repellent environment for fungal survival. Mix sodium borate or borax with water; borates do dilute in water. Spray on and around the wood surface; always use protective gloves and a mask when using borax.
Read also: Can I repair door frame with wood filler?
How do you remove mold on painted wood?
Painted wood such as doors, ceiling boards, kitchen cabinets and sealed flooring may get infested by mold. A thorough cleaning removes and kills mold. Take a cupful of water and mix with one tablespoon of dishwashing soap. Using the soapy solution, wash the mold-affected areas, scrub off the mold using a soft brush, and finally dry with a cloth. If you wish to repaint, check our guide on painting over old paint on wood. This method is also important for addressing any lingering mold issues.
What can you spray on mold to kill it?
Spray a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar to repel and kill mold instantly. Usually, mold grows on materials around moist areas such as wooden structures, walls, and clothes. Mix an equal measure of 3% hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. Spritz on the affected area and let the surface dry.
Read More: How to Treat Wood for Shower Walls
Final thoughts on How to Get Mold Off Wood
Mold on wood is never a pretty sight. But its dangers go beyond just defacing wood as it could lead to the destruction of the affected wood and a myriad of health challenges to susceptible individuals. Therefore, it is critical for wood health to know how to remove mold from wood.
This article has detailed natural and chemical ways of targeting and cleaning mold off wood. You need to take care when handling some chemicals because of their potential toxicity when inhaled. You must always wear protective gear when removing mold from wooden surfaces.
One thing to know, though, is when to call a professional. If the wood mold growth has done so much damage that it may collapse the wood when cleaning, you should get a professional to do the work.
Cleaning regularly, avoiding spills as much as possible, and ensuring that you’re using the right products are just some ways to keep your floor in tiptop shape for a longer time.
While knowing how to clean mold from wood is important, the most foolproof way of tackling mold growth is ensuring it doesn’t grow in the first place. Periodically check your wood and also ensure you keep wood in dry and well-ventilated areas.