How To: Remove Mold from Wood

Unsightly fungus doesn't have to mean peril for your home or health. Provided the mold has not spread far and wide, you can remove it from wood by following these steps.

How to Remove Mold from Wood

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Wood, which naturally soaks up and retains water, makes an ideal environment for mold and mildew. If you’re dealing with baseboards, trim, or furniture that’s been affected, we’ll show you how to remove mold from wood. First, remember that speed is the key to successful remediation. Acting quickly not only minimizes the scope of your cleaning project, but also ensures that mold does not compromise the health of the allergy sufferers in your family. So long as the spores haven’t spread over an area larger than ten square feet, you can take care of the problem without help from a professional.

PROJECT SUMMARY

  1. Don protective gear—an air mask is a must.
  2. Vacuum the area to collect loose spores.
  3. Use soap and water on painted or stained wood; use bleach on raw wood.
  4. Sand the area to eliminate residual mold, if necessary.

Continue reading for full details on each step of the process!

HOW TO REMOVE MOLD FROM WOOD

TOOLS AND MATERIALS Available on Amazon
Air mask
Rubber gloves
Safety goggles
HEPAfiltered vacuum
Softbristled scrub brush
Dishwashing detergent
Distilled vinegar in a spray bottle (optional)
Bleach
Sponge
Sandpaper

STEP 1: DON PROTECTIVE GEAR

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.

How to Remove Mold from Wood - Paneling

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2: VACUUM THE AREA

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.

STEP 3: TRY SOAP AND WATER

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.

STEP 4: USE DILUTED BLEACH

If mold has penetrated, you are going to need a stronger solution, one that’s capable of killing spores beneath the surface. 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.

STEP 5: SAND THE AREA

If mold remains even after scrubbing in step 4, it’s time to take reach for the sandpaper. An abrasive might not seem like the obvious solution. It may seem counterintuitive. But sanding is 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.