Wood easily absorbs water, which means that it is an ideal environment for mold to grow. Since mold can trigger health issues and allergies, it’s important to act quickly if you see signs of mold. Assess the mold first to see if it is suitable for you to treat and then prepare the area by vacuuming and wearing protective gear. Clean the mold from painted or stained wood using soapy water or vinegar. For raw wood, use bleach or sandpaper to remove the mold. After the mold has been removed, dry the area fully, vacuum it again, and keep it well-ventilated to prevent future mold growth.
Part 1: Getting the Area Ready
- Check that the area of mold is smaller than 10 sq ft (0.93 m2). Estimate the area of mold on the wood. If it is only a small amount, it’s likely that you will be able to clean the mold yourself. However, if the area is larger than 10 sq ft (0.93 m2), contact a mold remediation professional instead.
- If you are unsure about whether you can clean the mold yourself, contact a professional to be on the safe side. Use a search engine to find a mold remediation service in your area.
- Wear gloves, an air mask, and safety goggles before you begin. Wear protective gear at all times to keep yourself safe while you are cleaning up mold. If you are going to be using bleach, use protective outerwear so that your clothes don’t get stained by the bleach.
- The air mask will prevent you from inhaling the mold spores.
- Exposure to mold can cause adverse health effects such as coughing and skin, eye, or throat irritation.
- Vacuum the area if the mold is indoors. Use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter, as this is the best for picking up very small particles of mold. Vacuum the entire area to remove any dust, debris, and loose spores.
- If wooden furniture is affected by the mold, use the soft brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner to vacuum the furniture directly. Ensure that you vacuum all drawers, panels, and crevices.
- Make sure that you are outside when you empty the vacuum cleaner canister or bag. Tip the contents into a plastic bag and tie it up tightly. Dispose of the bag straight away.
Part 2: Cleaning Painted or Stained Wood
- Combine dishwashing detergent and warm water. Add 14.9 ml (1 tbsp) of dishwashing detergent into a clean bucket. Then pour in 1 L (0.26 US gal) of warm water.
- Stir the water to combine the substances.
- Scrub the mold using small amounts of soapy water. Use a soft-bristled brush to transfer some of the soapy water onto the mold. Scrub at the mold thoroughly. The mold should begin to lift off. Dip the brush back into the soapy water as required and continue scrubbing until the area is free of mold.
- Be careful to only scrub the affected area with the brush, as otherwise, this could spread the mold spores out.
- Try not to saturate the area with water, as excess moisture can enable new mold growth.
- Dry the area using a clean rag. Check the affected wood for any mold that hasn’t been cleaned away. If the area appears to be free of mold, wipe all of the wood down with a rag to ensure that it’s dry.
- Use vinegar to remove the mold if the soapy water didn’t work. Fill a spray bottle with undiluted vinegar. Spray it over the affected area and wait for 1 hour. Then, wipe the area down with a damp rag to remove the mold.
- Don’t worry about the smell of the vinegar. This will disappear as it dries.
Part 3: Cleaning Raw Wood
- Mix together bleach, dishwashing detergent, and warm water. Place 50 ml (1.7 fl oz) of detergent, 500 ml (0.13 US gal) of bleach, and 1 L (0.26 US gal) of warm water into a clean bucket. Make sure that you are wearing protective outerwear over your clothes to protect them.
- Scrub the mold using the bleach solution. Dip a stiff-bristled brush into the bucket with the bleach solution. Use the brush to remove the mold from the raw wood and then let the bleach solution air dry once the mold has been removed.
- Alternatively, you can use a scrub sponge instead of a stiff-bristled brush.
- Sand the wood if the bleach solution did not remove the mold. Using sandpaper is an ideal next option as it will remove the surface that the mold is growing on. Use fine grit sandpaper and go over the affected part of the wood. Continue sanding until you can no longer see any mold.
- Wear an air mask if you are sanding mold to avoid inhaling spores that have come loose during the sanding process.
Part 4: Drying the Wood and Preventing Future Mold
- Dry the cleaned areas using a dehumidifier or a fan. Once you have removed all of the mold from the wood in an area, make sure it is properly dry to prevent the mold from returning. Turn on a fan or a dehumidifier for at least 3 days to ensure that the area is dry.
- Check the wood in the area for mold again after 3 days. If you notice it returning, either clean the area again or contact a professional.
- Vacuum the area to remove any loose mold spores. Use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter again and thoroughly vacuum the area where you cleaned the wood. Empty the vacuum cleaner outside into a plastic bag and tie it securely.
- Vacuuming the area afterward again is necessary because it is likely that mold spores have been stirred up during the cleaning process.
- Apply a fungicidal paint or sealant to prevent the mold from returning. If you are concerned that the mold will return, then applying a fungicidal seal will give you peace of mind. Purchase a treatment from a home improvement store. Follow the instructions closely to apply it to the wood.
- A fungicidal paint or sealant will stop any hidden, existing mold from growing through and it will also prevent future mold growth on top of the seal.
- Keep the area well-ventilated to prevent mold from returning. Open the windows regularly and use air conditioning in humid weather to reduce the humidity to below 40%. Use a dehumidifier in cooler weather to remove condensation.
- This is especially important for wood in areas that have a lot of moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms.