How to Get Rid of Mold on Wood

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Dry out the wood to kill active mold spores.
Dry out the wood to kill active mold spores. (Image: petrified wood image by MAXFX from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Wood provides an ideal breeding ground for mold spores. You should frequently check for mold on furniture, baseboards, doors and other wood elements in your home and take care of the problem immediately. If you can, move the affected object away from other furniture and drapes, as spores can spread rapidly beyond their original location. Left to grow, mold can contribute to illness, exacerbate allergies and asthma, emit unpleasant odors and ultimately destroy your wood. As long as you detect the mold's presence early on, you can completely eliminate it without causing serious damage to your wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Dehumidifier
  • Air conditioner
  • Mild alkali
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Soft cloth
  • Mildew-resistant paint
  • Rubber gloves
  • Protective mask

Move portable objects outside into direct sunlight for several hours to kill active spores. If dealing with an immovable object inside your home, such as a wall support or connected pantry, place a dehumidifier near the object and turn it on. Then turn on an air conditioner, if available, to improve the air circulation and further dry out the object.

Scrub mold-infected areas with a sponge or soft cloth soaked in a mild alkali. A report by the University of Missouri Extension recommends mixing 8 to 10 tbsp. of trisodium phosphate, washing soda or quaternary disinfectant with 1 gallon of water to create the ideal, diluted ratio. You can purchase these alkali products at paint stores and janitor supply stores.

Rinse the alkali from the wood by dampening a soft cloth with water and scrubbing the areas where you applied the solution. Do not soak the cloth. If this method fails to remove all of the mold, add 1 cup of chlorine bleach to your diluted alkali solution and scrub the surface again.

Dry the object completely in the same manner in which you originally dried the mold spores. You will not need to keep the object outside or in front of the dehumidifier for as long as you did the first time around, but keep checking back until the surface of the wood is completely dry.

Prevent the recurrence of mold by painting over the wood with a mildew-resistant paint. Mildew in general refers to the growth produced by mold spores, and so any mildew-resistant paint should suffice. If you want to prevent future mold growth but maintain your wood grain appearance, just keep the object in a dry area, away from moisture. This may require using a dehumidifier and regularly airing out your home, if the object is immovable.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning mold. For large mold infestations, wear a protective mask as well.

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