A Complete Guide On How To Clean Mould From Wood

You might be surprised to learn that your wooden furniture is quite susceptible to developing a mould problem. After all, mildew and mould spores are everywhere, and all they need is the right environment to take root. Wood items are prone to mould growth because wood tends to absorb water – providing the spores with the perfect setting to begin multiplying. Other areas, such as basements, cupboards underneath sinks, bathrooms and laundry rooms, are also at risk of mildew attacks. 

signs of mould on a wooden roof structure

If you’re on the hunt for viable and safe solutions for mould removal to save your furniture and other porous surfaces – then we have great news! Scroll through our mould elimination guide for detailed instruction on how to keep mould off your furniture and clean mould stains!

What kind of mould affects wood?

Before getting down to listing the instructions on how to kill mould, let’s take a few minutes to understand why mould develops on wood in the first place. As stated earlier, wood can provide the right growing environment for mould spores because its surface is porous, absorbing moisture better than other materials. That, along with inadequate ventilation, can encourage the growth of mildew or mould on wooden surfaces

If you’re confused about the difference between mould or mildew – allow us to explain. Mildew is a type of mould, and both are categorised as types of fungi that thrive in high humidity environments. You can generally distinguish between the two by their appearance – mould appears as brownish-green patches and looks somewhat slimy. Mildew, on the other hand, is typically grey or white and looks powdery

It’s also essential to identify the type of mould you’re dealing with before you set off clearing it from your furniture or any other surface. There are at least twelve types of mould that are commonly found in households. However, the following types of mould (related to wood) can be problematic to deal with on one’s own and require professional help. 

  • Aureobasidium

This type of mould is typically found growing underneath wallpaper or wooden surfaces. Initially, the aureobasidium mould grows in brown, pink, or black shades and can turn dark brown as it ages. This mould is linked to skin, eye, and nail infections and shouldn’t be touched without gloves

  • Stachybotrys

Stachybotrys, aka black mould, is a toxigenic mould renowned for causing allergic reactions. It tends to grow on paper, hay, wood, or cardboard. You can identify this mould through its black or dark green colour and mucky texture. 

If you suspect you’re dealing with a black mould problem – it’s best to contact remediation professionals to deal with the problem asap. This mould isn’t something you want to deal with on your own or take lightly because it’s linked to respiratory problems in adults and neurological concerns in children. 

  • Trichoderma

Trichoderma grows white in colour with green patches. This type of mould generally grows on damp wallpaper or fabrics but contains enzymes that can extremely damage the wood. While this mould has five different sub-types that are generally non-pathogenic, it’s best to contact professionals to remove mould of this type because it’s linked to pulmonary problems and requires skilled handling to eliminate. 

When to reach out to professionals

There are times when DIY-ing a mould problem isn’t the best thing to do. That’s because certain types of mould require professional help (such as black mould). At the same time, at other times, irreversible rot on drywall and furniture highlights the need to remove affected surfaces.

a wooden board with mould spots

You can refer to the section above to identify the type of mould you shouldn’t handle personally. Aside from that, remediation experts suggest that professional services are required if the mould growth area equals or is more than 0.9 square meters (10 square feet). 

However, while you wait for the expert mould removers to help you out, it’s a good idea to get yourself a high-quality air purifier and dehumidifier. The air purifier will help cut down on the number of spores floating around inside your house, whereas the dehumidifier will cut back on excess moisture in the air that the fungi feed on. 

Step-by-step guide on how to get rid of mould

Once you’ve made sure that the mould you’re dealing with isn’t the type you shouldn’t be tackling on your own – you can refer to the steps highlighted below to take care of mouldy furniture or other wood surfaces. The materials and steps are almost the same as cleaning mould off walls or from bathrooms

Here’s a list of materials you should gather to ensure your safety before taking on the mould removal project.

Pouring vinegar into a small silver cup

  • Air mask                                                                       
  • Safety goggles
  • Vacuum cleaner (with HEPA filter)
  • Shirt with long sleeves and full-length pants
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Water
  • Bleach (chlorine)
  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Wood cleaner
  • Scrub brush (with soft bristles)
  • Sandpaper
  • Measuring cup
  • Sponge

1. Start by dressing yourself in full-length pants and a long-sleeved shirt or t-shirt to ensure your skin doesn’t come into contact with the mould. Put on the protective gear, including the face mask, rubber gloves, and safety goggles.

It’s also best to move the mouldy wooden item outside your house to clean if it’s possible. If you can’t manage that, cover other nearby surfaces with plastic sheets (sheeting) to ensure the loose spores don’t come into contact with other items. 

2. Grab your HEPA filter vacuum and clear out as much of the mould as you can. Doing so will help you catch all the mould spores within the vacuum. Next, remove the vacuum bag and seal it within a plastic bag before discarding it. It’s best to do this step outside the house. 

Start washing the affected surface with a dishwashing detergent and water solution if you deal with painted wood furniture. Mix about one and a half tablespoons of detergent in one litre of warm water. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the surface mould. Ensure you sop up any excess liquid with the help of a sponge to keep the wood from absorbing excess moisture. 

If the wood item you’re cleaning isn’t sealed, you can also get rid of mould with baking soda and water mixture. Use equal amounts of water and baking soda to create a paste and rub over the affected surface gently to clear out the mouldy area.

3. For DIY-ers dealing with a minimal amount of mould on the surface of the wood – a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar can help eliminate mould spores. Pour the cleaning solution into a spray bottle and spray it on the affected area. Let the solution air dry instead of wiping it off. Next, spray the wood with a wood-specific cleaner to refinish the wood. 

4. This highly effective mould killer solution should be perfect for readers who face stubborn mould stains or heavy mould growth. Start by mixing one cup of water with half a cup of bleach (chlorine) and about one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid

Stir the solution until the dishwashing soap dissolves and lightly apply on the musty area with a brush (soft-bristled). Let the bleach mixture air-dry on the surface and wipe off with a soft cloth. 

If you notice the mould stains haven’t completely disappeared, try lightly sanding the area with sandpaper. If you’re dealing with painted wood, you can use a detail sander for better results or rely on professionals to get this part done for you to ensure your furniture isn’t permanently damaged. 

a cutting board with mould signs

We’re hoping you’re all clued up on how to remove mould from wood furniture after going through our feature. Unlike other types of cleaning projects around the house, we recommend exercising caution when dealing with mould. Certain types of mould are detrimental to your health and the well-being of your loved ones. That’s why it’s best to err on the side of caution and rely on skilled mould removers when the occasion calls for it. Only resort to DIY cleaning solutions to kill mould once you’re sure it’s safe for you to do so. Remember, your safety is paramount. Next project: How to get rid of fungus in cupboards.

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