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Wood, which naturally soaks up and retains water, makes an ideal environment for mold and mildew. To remove mold from wood, the key is to act fast, not only to minimize the scope of your cleaning project, but also to be sure the mold does not compromise the health of the allergy sufferers in your family. So long as the mold has not spread over an area larger than ten square feet, you can remove mold from wood without help from a professional. Here’s how to get it done.
TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- Air mask
- Rubber gloves
- Safety goggles
- HEPA-filtered vacuum
- Soft-bristled scrub brush
- Dishwashing detergent
- Distilled vinegar in a spray bottle (optional)
Take the appropriate safety measures to keep yourself safe. Wear rubber gloves and safety goggles and importantly, don an air mask to prevent mold spores from getting into your lungs. If you intend to use a cleaning solution that contains bleach, wear protective outerwear in order to safeguard your clothing against stains.
Using a machine equipped with a HEPA filter, vacuum the affected area of wood to remove any loose mold spores (along with any other accumulated dirt and debris). Once finished, empty the vacuum bag or canister into a plastic bag outside the house. Tightly seal the bag and dispose of it.
If the wood you’re dealing with is either painted or stained, that means the mold has not penetrated. You can therefore stick to a mild cleaning solution—a simple mixture of dishwashing detergent and warm water. Dip a soft-bristled scrub brush into the soapy water you’ve prepared, then gently go over the moldy area. If you get unsatisfactory results, opt for vinegar, an effective mold killer. With a spray bottle filled with vinegar, spritz the mold and then let the vinegar sit for an hour to work its magic. Once enough time has elapsed, proceed to wipe down the wood with a clean, damp towel. Inspect the wood for any remaining mold, and if you don’t see any, wipe the wood down with a rag.
Whether the wood is finished or raw, if mold has penetrated, you are going to need a stronger solution, one that’s capable of killing spores beneath the surface of the material. To that end, mix 1 part detergent, 10 parts bleach, and 20 parts warm water. Apply your solution to the moldy area by means of a scrub sponge or a stiff-bristled brush, then allow the solution to air-dry on the wood.
If mold remains even after scrubbing in step 4, it’s time to reach for the sandpaper. Laborious though it may be, sanding offers the only way to reach the mold deep within the wood. Work the sandpaper slowly around the affected area until you see no more signs of mold. After sanding, it’s a good idea to refinish the wood, not only for appearances’ sake, but also to prevent a future outbreak. Finally, get rid of all the rags and such that came into contact with the mold, and start trying to figure out how to limit the amount of moisture present in the area where you’ve been working.
All of the Essential Cleaning Advice from BobVila.com
There’s no way around it: Keeping the house clean demands your time, your energy, and even some of your money. Fortunately, this arsenal of cleaning tips can help you finish the housekeeping more quickly—and with fewer commercially sold products.