How to Clean Mildew From Unfinished Wood

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Mildew forms on unfinished wood when mold spores settle on the surface. If the unfinished wood is damp or in a humid environment, it is susceptible to mildew growth. Mildew is unsightly, diminishes the wood's appearance and will eventually eat away at the wood. Remove mildew from unfinished wood at first sight to prevent it from spreading.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 buckets
  • Water
  • 6 tbsp. trisodium phosphate or washing soda
  • Scrub brush
  • Towels
  • 1 cup household ammonia
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup baking soda

Trisodium Phosphate or Washing Soda

  • Fill a bucket with 1 gallon warm water. Add 6 tbsp. trisodium phosphate or washing soda to the bucket. Trisodium phoshphate and washing soda are both mild alkalis that are effective at removing mildew. Fill a second bucket with plain water.

  • Dip a scrub brush into the bucket of cleaning solution. Scrub the mildewed wood with the scrub brush and cleaner. Rinse out the scrub brush in the bucket often to avoid reapplying the mildew to the wood.

  • Rinse the wood with a rag dipped in the bucket of plain water. Change the rinse water, if necessary, as it becomes soiled.

  • Absorb excess moisture from the wood with a towel. Allow the wood to air-dry the rest of the way. Direct fans at the wood, if possible, to speed up the drying process.

Ammonia, Vinegar and Baking Soda

  • Fill a bucket with 1 gallon warm water. Add 1 cup household ammonia, ½ cup white vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda. Fill a second bucket with plain water.

  • Dip a scrub brush into the bucket of cleaning solution. Scrub the unfinished wood thoroughly to remove the mildew. Rinse out the scrub brush often while cleaning.

  • Rinse the wood with a rag dipped in the bucket of plain water. Change the rinse water, if necessary, as it becomes soiled.

  • Absorb excess moisture from the wood with a towel. Allow the wood to air-dry the rest of the way. Direct fans at the wood, if possible, to speed up the drying process.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use trisodium phosphate and ammonia in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear rubber gloves and clothing that covers your arms and legs when using these cleaning solutions.
  • Never mix ammonia with chlorine bleach or with products containing chlorine bleach. The results could be toxic.

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References

  • Photo Credit New residential construction home framing. image by Andy Dean from Fotolia.com
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