How Do I Remove Mold from Wood?

Answer: for small infestations, a mix of household detergent and water used with a brush or sponge may be all that’s necessary to remove mold from the wood in your home. In some tougher cases, careful sanding or even replacement is called for. But keep in mind that mold spores can be dangerous, so many infestations should be evaluated by professionals with the correct training and removal methods.

Here are some things to consider when attempting to remove mold from wood surfaces:

  1. 1. Dip a soft brush or sponge into the mix and wipe off the mold from the affected wood surfaces.  Once you have removed signs of the mold, you might be tempted to give the wood a final rinse.  Don’t do this. Additional water could cause new mold growth on the wood, negating your efforts.  You goal is to dry the area and make it less likely to support mold growth as soon as possible.
  2. 2. Do not use bleach. Porous surfaces such as drywall and wood give the mold plenty of nooks and crannies to hide in taking mold spores out of reach of even the most careful bleach scrub. The mold will simply re-grow from within these micro-crevices shortly after you finish. In addition, bleach loses its ability to kill mold rapidly after it is manufactured. Lastly, bleach is a powerful chemical, posing risks to your eyes, skin and children.
  3. 3. If cleaning the mold from the wood has left stains behind, you may need to sand the stains away. Use the finest sandpaper you can that still gets the job done. Some hardware stores sell small variety packs of different grit. Be sure to wear protective gear as mold spores may be released during sanding and these can make you ill. Inexpensive, adjustable N95 masks are available at your hardware store.
  4. 4. Another option is to have the wood removed, discarded and replaced. Often wood replacement takes less time and effort than you might expect compared to the labor intensiveness of cleaning large or difficult wooden surfaces.
  5. 5. Once you’ve removed the mold from your wooden items, use a HEPA vacuum cleaner to trap mold spores from the air. Most shop vacuums do not have a filter capable of trapping mold spores. Some household vacuums, such as those from Dyson, have built in HEPA filtering, but you should use caution when emptying the debris into the trash.
  6. 6. If you’re unsure how to proceed and especially for areas larger than 10 square feet, contact a professional mold remediation company. They can help you decide if cleaning the mold is feasible or if replacement is preferable. They can also give you tips on techniques and products to use - or just handle the cleanup for you. The correct approach may save your property, but it might also help you prevent getting ill from the spores.
  8. When it comes to mold growth problems, prevention is the best medicine. Keep the indoor humidity to a minimum and fix water leaks. For any mold problem that covers more than 10 square feet, or that you are not comfortable cleaning yourself, please contact your local PuroClean office.
PuroClean is a leading commercial and residential restoration franchising company.  Founded in 2001, the company offers fire and water cleanup and restoration services, mold mitigation and remediation, and biohazard cleanup and removal throughout the United States and Canada through its franchise network of 240 offices. Learn more.