How To Remove Mould From Wood Furniture

by Liam McGill

Is It Possible To Get Mould Out Of Furniture?

In short, Yes! However, removal of the mold may not save the furniture, as the piece may have been damaged beyond repair. So while it may be easy to remove the mold, consider whether the piece is recoverable enough to save it from its moldy demise.

If you’re not prepared to repair the furniture, or the effort outweighs the cost of the unit, then luckily we know just the people to sell you some replacement furniture.


What you’ll need

Man gloving up | Mainland Furniture NZ

  • Protective gear (Goggles, Rubber gloves, Face mask, Coveralls)
  • A well ventilated room
  • Vacuum (One with a HEPA Filter is definitely recommended)
  • Warm Water
  • A Cloth
  • A home cleaning solution (Detergent/ Mold Killer)
  • A soft-bristle brush
  • A towel

As you’ll see most of these products can easily be purchased from most general goods stores and supermarkets, making this process easily do-able.

1. Move the affected furniture to a well ventilated area

Mould is a fungi, thus it spreads through spores in the air. As such, when removing mould you should move the affected furniture either outside or at least to a well-ventilated room to prevent it from spreading even more within your house.


Taking the unit outside can also effectively work in killing the mould as the sunlight and heat help dry out the unit, weakening the mould for when it is eventually cleaned


We would also recommend putting on as much protective gear as possible at this point to prevent the mould from spreading onto you

2. Vacuum the affected area

Now that the affected unit is in a well ventilated location, vacuum the affected area to remove any loose spores. We also recommend vacuuming the surrounding area in case they have been affected too.


Once you feel as if you’ve vacuumed enough, take the vacuum and it’s contents outside to safely dispose of the contents. It’s also highly recommend to seal the vacuumed contents in a plastic bag to avoid any spores escaping

3. Assess the situation

    At this point you should have a better understanding of how much the mould has affected the furniture. Is the mould new and is only sitting on top of the furniture, or has the mould had it’s residence for some time? How far has the mould truly spread on the unit? If you think you can successfully remove it, then proceed with this tutorial. But if you think the unit is too far gone, then it probably is.

    4. Cleaning the mould

    Spray bottle | Mainland Furniture NZ

      This next step depends both on how much mould you have to kill and what materials you have at hand. If the mould is relatively light, you can easily use a spray bottle filled with warm, soapy water (dish soap, not hand soap) and a soft-bristled brush such as an old toothbrush to scrub at the mould until it has been successfully cleared then dry the surface with a towel.


      If the mould is more stubborn you can try mixing equal parts distilled white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle then spraying this combination onto the affected area and leaving for an hour. Then wipe the area with a moistened cloth before drying it with a towel.


      If that is not enough however, it’s time to bring out the big guns. By combining a tablespoon of borax with a cup of water, apply this solution to the affected area with a soft-bristled brush. Scrub until the mould is gone and only the borax solution is left behind, then dry the area with a fan or dehumidifier leaving the borax solution on the unit as this will prevent any future mould growth.

      For extra bad cases: Sand the area

      Sanding | Mainland Furniture NZ

        If cleaning the mould was ineffective, then you can try carefully using 100-grit sandpaper to remove the mould from the affected area, then vacuuming the area to capture any loose spores. However, at this point reconsider Step 3 because if you have to sand an amount that would make for a noticeable blemish on the unit, then it might be worth cutting your losses and simply replacing the furniture.


        Why is my wooden furniture mouldy?

        Mould thrives in moist and humid environments, so if your furniture is in a particularly damp environment, such as underneath a window that often gets condensation, then mould is likely to take up residence on your furniture in this area.


        This Stuff article shows the many places where mould can grow without you thinking about it

        How can I prevent mould growth?

        To prevent mould growth, simply make an environment where mould cannot thrive. This means moving furniture away from damp walls to provide proper airflow. If necessary, consider a dehumidifier to help dry out a room further preventing mold growth. If your house has any leaks at all, definitely make sure to fix them. 


        When it comes to the furniture itself, coating the furniture in a protective oil finish, and drying any wetness from the wood as soon as possible should definitely help in protecting mould growth


        Mould is something you do not want in your home, period. It can cause various health effects and in some cases these can be long-lasting and possibly fatal, so you want to get rid of mould ASAP. This document from the Bay of Plenty DHB goes into further detail regarding this issue.

        FAQ

        Is it safe to use vinegar on wood furniture?

        Yes, vinegar is safe to use on wood furniture and using it won’t damage any finishes or warp the wood. It’s also great due to it’s easy availability, deodorizing capabilities and non-harmful effects on humans and animals. You can also use lemon juice or a combination of the two to create a powerful cleaner also!

        Lemon spray | Mainland Furniture NZ

        What else can I use to kill mould?

        If somehow you don’t have either dish soap or white vinegar in your house. There are plenty of other ways to kill mould, the simplest being sunlight, which can easily kill mould in the early stages by simply moving the furniture outside in the heat. However, you can also use water in combination with either baking soda, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, bleach or lemon juice to create a solution to your problem. You can also combine vinegar, water, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of baking soda to create a potent mould remover. 

        We will also clarify now: DO NOT COMBINE BLEACH/CHLORINE AND VINEGAR, THIS CREATES DEADLY CHLORINE GAS, IF YOU DO THIS ON ACCIDENT, LEAVE THE ROOM IMMEDIATELY!

        How can I detect mould?

        Mould can be hard to detect until it’s too late due to the fact that it often grows in locations that are out of general view and grows gradually. However, one giveaway is the smell, as mould should smell like moist soil. While you may not be able to smell this personally in your house, if you have guests complaining about the smell in your house, then that’s a sign that you should either A. Check your house for mould and if there is no mould then B. Figure out where that bad smell is coming from.


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