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How to remove mold from wood

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Even if you live in a dry climate, you’ve likely seen mold growing on wood panels around homes. This can also occur on patios, porches, or anything else that’s fitted or built from wood materials. Mold can lead to extensive damage that is expensive to repair; it’s pertinent that the problem is dealt with quickly before it gets worse. This guide will show you important steps that you should take to get rid of unsightly mold growth around your home.

Important Things You’ll Need

There are a few things that you’ll need to pick up before getting started with mold removal. The more items you have at the ready, the cleaner your wood will come out once the job is completed.

  • Air Mask – Depending on where you work, it’s highly recommended that you use an air mask to prevent yourself from breathing in any spores. Spores can lead to asthma, coughing, and other flu-like symptoms. Be sure to wear it if the work is indoors. Working outdoors can be done without a mask, but it’s still advised, more so for people that suffer from allergies.
  • Vacuum – A small handheld vacuum is the best cleanup tool to use. There’s going to be a lot of mold residue that falls to the floor as you remove it from the wood. Having one at the ready will make cleaning go by a lot faster than relying on a broom. However, it might be easier for you to scoop everything up into a dustpan if you’re working outside.
  • Soap – Soap will clear away any lingering spores from the wood and help clear away small stains caused by the growth. Don’t expect it to completely remove stains, however. For that, you’ll need stronger protect that’ll penetrate through the top layer of wood.
  • Sandpaper – Sandpaper will scrape off the top layer, which might be helpful if you’re working on a wood piece that will be repainted over later. For people cleaning antique furniture, you might not want to use this. Additionally, there are machines that will automate this job if you would like. You’ll definitely want to check such power tools out if the move covers a large swath of the wood that you’re cleaning.
  • Wood Filler – Wood filler is useful for restoring problematic areas where the mold growth has penetrated deep into the wood. In some cases, you may end up cutting out a couple of inches. You don’t want to leave gaps like this exposes to air (mold would quickly re-enter), so look for a filler to cover up any impacted portions of the wood.
Best Choice
Bondo 20082, Quart Home Solutions Wood Filler
Bondo 20082, Quart Home Solutions Wood Filler
Best Wood Filler Overall (Editor's Choice)

  • It has a quick setting and drying time.
  • It doesn't crumble or chip away when in contact with heat, rain, and water.
  • Looks good when painted over.

Read Verified Customer Reviews
  • Gloves – Rubber gloves are the best, although anything similar should suffice. Remember, a lot of the products that you’re going to use during the cleanup could potentially be toxic. Along with the previously mentioned breathing protection, having something that’ll cover your hands is highly suggested.
  • Scrubbing Brush – This would be used in conjunction with a cleaning solution. Just use brushes that would leave deep scratches to the surface. But if you have no choice but to do so, make double sure that you have sandpaper around to smoothen out the ridges.
  • Vinegar – If you want to avoid using cleaning solutions that could flair up your allergies, vinegar is a great alternative for eliminating mold growth from wood. Try to acquire a gallon to be sure you don’t run out. Combining vinegar with soap and water may get out stains that each item couldn’t do as individual products.
  • Bleach – Beach will clean and disinfect the area you work with. It’s also the best at stain removal. You can use it with other substances but be careful how you mix. For example, never mix bleach with ammonia. Pick up a pair of safety goggles as well; bleach is a known eye and skin irritant.
  • Wood Glue – Wood glue can bond together any pieces that chip away when you clean. People working with indoor wood furnishings and fixtures may rely on it more than those removing mold from outdoor wood. And best of all, you can save the rest for other restoration projects that spring up later down the line.
Best Choice
Gorilla Wood Glue, 18-ounce Bottle
Gorilla Wood Glue, 18-ounce Bottle
Best Wood Glue Overall (Editor's Choice)

  • Doesn't foam when two wood surfaces are pressed against it.
  • Easy to clean the dispenser in the off chance that it becomes clogged.
  • Once dried, the color blends well with most wood surfaces.
  • Although water-based, the solution isn't too runny.

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Step-by-Step Instructions to Remove Mold from Wood

Step 1: Setup

How to Remove Mold from Wood - Step1

Put on your safety mask and don the protective gloves. Additionally, make sure that you wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. This is especially important if you’re planning on using bleach.

Step 2: Cleaning the Mold

Take the vacuum and run it over the affected areas. This will remove any loose spores from your work area. If you don’t, the spores could potentially travel in the air and grow to resettle in another portion of the wood.

Step 3: Disinfect and Clean with Bleach

How to Remove Mold from Wood - Step3

Use soap, water, and/or vinegar if you’re getting up mold that rests on the exterior areas of the wood. However, you might want to try out the bleach for any wood that isn’t protected with a stain or sealer. Combine the bleach with water beforehand.

Step 4: Sanding Time

How to Remove Mold from Wood - Step4

The areas you’re cleaning is very large, chances are high that residual mold will still linger is spots. This is what the sandpaper is best for. If you’re going a power tool that can buffer it, the task will go by very quickly. Yet there’s nothing wrong with sanding the old fashioned way if you must.

Step 5: Restoration

How to Remove Mold from Wood - Step6

You’re probably going to have to restore the that you just cleaned. For that, you can use fillers and stainers. If the wood has never been treated with a sealer, it’s strongly advised that you paint it over the newly cleaned area. That way, you won’t have to repeat this cleanup for the foreseeable future.

Best Choice
Bondo 20082, Quart Home Solutions Wood Filler
Bondo 20082, Quart Home Solutions Wood Filler
Best Wood Filler Overall (Editor's Choice)

  • It has a quick setting and drying time.
  • It doesn't crumble or chip away when in contact with heat, rain, and water.
  • Looks good when painted over.

Read Verified Customer Reviews
Best Choice
Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer
Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer
Best Wood Sealer Overall (Editor's Choice)

  • Ready to use immediately; no primer is needed.
  • The sealer can be applied in a variety of ways, including spray, brush, and roller.
  • It doesn't leave streaks after the sealer is fully dried.
  • Forms a waterproof seal in two hours.

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Additional Guidelines

Does Vinegar Kill Mold?

Mold can kill bacteria and mold due to its high pH levels (acidity). Just don’t dilute it with water; simply add it to an empty spray bottle and spray directly on the moldy area.

Does Bleach Kill Mold?

Beach is known to kill just about everything, including mold. The biggest concern with bleach is the irritating effects it can cause to the skin and eyes. It’s toxic but works well at clearing away bacteria and spore growth. If the wood is painted, make sure that you don’t spill it on any portions that aren’t being cleaned.

Removing Mold from Wood with Vinegar

Remember to spray the vinegar directly onto the wood. You don’t have to scrub too hard; just a gentle once-over should be enough to see good results.

How to Remove Mold from Wood Furniture

Seeing as wood furniture is something that you won’t want to damage when in the process of cleaning it, you should try using mild cleaning solutions first. If all else fails, just harder chemicals (such as bleach) will work. Have some wood filler at the ready if the mold growth has penetrated the inside of your furniture.

How To Remove Mold from Wood Cabinets

Cabinets are typically easy to clean, as they’re often very dry. But if you do notice mold growth here, sanding more be the best options. Go over the job with vinegar, making sure that you wipe down the entire cabinet when you’re done to prevent spores from showing up. Allow the cabinet to dry by keeping the door open and the room ventilated for several hours before closing.

How To Remove Mold from Rough Cut Wood

Rough cut wood, such as what you would see reinforced in a home, should be treated with mild cleaners. However, you can use putty or sealer to fill in small areas before the mold becomes larger.

How To Remove Green Mold from Wood

Green mold can leave nasty-looking stains on your wood. Therefore, the best route to take would probably be to start with bleach first. Soap and water can help as well but don’t use too much water. Seeing as much green mold grows outdoors, go over the wood with sandpaper if you can so the wet area that’s cleaned won’t become an easy target for spores.

How To Remove Black Mold from Wood

Black mold can be very hard to get out. You’re probably going to need all of the items listed earlier, especially if the area is situated in a closed-off location in your home. Bleach is your best friend here, along with vinegar. Try not to rely on water, since this could encourage bacterial growth and make the wood buckle.

How To Remove White Mold from Wood

White mold is most often seen in basements and attics. If you notice any white spots on the wood in these areas, be sure that you’re not mistaking it for efflorescence. Treat white mold as you would any other but consider vinegar for areas that don’t have proper ventilation; it will prevent spores from getting bigger once you’re done.


Did you enjoy the article? If so, remember to incorporate these steps into your cleanup when mold shows up on your wood. However, keep in mind that the best remedy is prevention. If you treat your wood with a sealer and do regular checkups and maintenance, mold won’t likely become an issue for you again.

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