Remove Mold From Wood

Remove Mold from Wood Guide

Wood is a hygroscopic material, which is a fancy term that means it likes to soak up and retain water (think of a sponge).  This makes sense, since wood comes from trees, which soak up water to grow.  While this is good for the tree, its not good for your lumber, furniture, or trim. Let’s go through the steps and talk about some specific issues when removing mold from wood.  Keep in mind these steps assume the mold covers a relatively small area (i.e. less than 10 square feet).


What you got there? Mold on wood? We can help with our Remove Mold from Wood Guide.

Step 1- Choose a cleaning solution

There are many commercial products that are pre-mixed to tackle mold problems.  To remove mold from wood, make sure the cleaning solution  fits the situation.  For example, if you are trying to remove mold from wood that is finished or painted, you can rely on more mild cleaning solutions because you don’t have to kill the mold, you can just remove it.  If the mold is established below the surface of the wood, which often happens on unfinished wood, you will need a solution that will penetrate the surface and kill or inhibit the mold.  Here is a list of suggested solutions to choose from depending on the situation:

Remove mold from wood – finished or painted wood:

  • Mixture of household detergent and water
  • Commercial mold removal product (always follow manufacturer’s instructions on the label)
  • Distilled Vinegar
  • Baking Soda -Detergent Solution (1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp mild liquid detergent)
  • Borax Solution (1 gallon of water to 1 cup of borax, or 1 part borax to 16 parts water)

Remove mold from wood – unfinished wood:

  • Rubbing Alcohol or Denatured Alcohol
  • Commercial mold removal product (always follow manufacturer’s instructions on the label)
  • Distilled Vinegar
  • Borax Solution (1 gallon of water to 1 cup of borax, or 1 part borax to 16 parts water)
  • Baking Soda -Detergent Solution (1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp mild liquid detergent)
  • Bleach-Detergent Solution (Recommended by the US Forest Products Labratory – 1 part household detergent, 10 parts bleach, and 20 parts water)


Never mix bleach with a product that contains ammonia.  It will produce toxic fumes that can cause serious illness or death.


Bleach only kills mold spores that are on the surface of the wood.

Special note on Bleach:

When working with wood, you should be aware that bleach can only kill mold spores that are on the surface of the wood.  Mold in wood, however, tends to grow and establish roots below the surface and into the wood fibers.  Due to the chemical makeup of bleach, it does not absorb into the wood, and it is possible that you will see the mold re-establish itself after you have cleaned it with bleach.

To address this problem, several companies have produced mold removal products that include surfactants.  What the heck is a surfactant you ask?  To put it simply, a surfactant is an additive that allows the detergent or bleach to absorb deep into the wood fibers.  It does this by reducing the water surface tension, but that is something for another discussion. The detergent in the suggested mixture above helps to allow the bleach to get down to the roots of the mold.

So, the bottom line is you can elect to use bleach, but keep in mind that there are better products to remove mold from wood.  If using a commercial product, look for an EPA registered mold removal product (regular household bleach does not have such claim).


Step 2 – Put on Protective Clothing and Make Safety Precautions


Mask, gloves, glasses and coveralls.

Depending on the severity of the cleaning solution that you chose, you will need to take some safety measures in order to keep yourself free from harm.  Before you try to remove mold from wood, we recommend the following:

  • A respirator, or air mask, that is adequate for blocking mold spores from entering your lungs.  The EPA recommends a N95 mask or equivalent.
  • Rubber or Nitrile gloves.
  • Safety goggles that do not have air vents in the sides.
  • If you are moderately sensitive to mold exposure, we recommend wearing coveralls to protect your skin as much as possible.  If you are severely sensitive to mold exposure, we recommend getting somebody else to perform the task.  For a little more information on this, check out our page on how to prepare for removing mold yourself.

If you are using a product that has strong or dangerous fumes, also make sure your are working in a well ventilated room.


Step 3 – Apply the Cleaning Solution and Scrub

Apply the cleaning solution that you have elected to use.  Start by testing the solution in a small, hidden area of the wood to make sure the solution does not cause any discoloring.  You can do this with a spray bottle, a lightly damp rag, low-abrasive brush, or a srub pad.  If you are working on finished or painted wood, we do not recommend using a brush unless you plan on re-finishing the surface.

The key is to apply the solution lightly, but enough to cover the mold.  Too much solution can actually add to the dampness of the wood, which is part of the problem in the first place.

Let the solution sit for a few minutes, then scrub the area in circular motion with your rag, brush, or a scrub pad.  Using a disposable towel, or a towel you can disinfect with bleach later, wipe of the area and the excess.

Continue this process until the mold is removed from the wood surface.

Step 4 – If Needed, Lightly Sand the area

If you are working with finished wood, then this step will require you to re-finish the area that you are sanding.

If the mold appears to be established deeper into the wood, you will likely need to lightly sand the area.  This helps to remove the mold roots on the surface, and gets you deeper into the wood fibers.  You should sand the area while it is still damp to discourage mold spores from spreading through the air.

After sanding, repeat step 3.


Step 5 – Clean Up and Let Dry

After you remove mold from wood, clean up the area and either dispose anything that has had contact with the mold, or clean it with a proper detergent or fungicide.

Let the wood dry by keeping in a warm, dry, sunny area with good ventilation.  If you live in an area with higher humidity, you may want to place it in a room with a dehumidifier.  Leave it until the wood looks and feels dry.


Step 6 – Check for Signs of Mold

After the wood has dried,  look to see if there is still mold and if the area smells moldy.  Sometimes the wood will be stained from the mold even though the mold is gone.

If the mold is still visible or the odor is still strong, repeat this process again.


Step 7 – If Needed, Re-apply Protective Wood Coating

If you have scrubbed or sanded finished wood, you will probably need to re-apply the polyurethane, lacquer, protective stain, or whatever finishing product that was on it.


You have just read our Remove Mold from Wood guide!
We hope this was helpful!



105 thoughts on “Remove Mold From Wood

  1. we have white mold on paneling in a cabin. From leaky roof over winter that we are in the process of fixing. What is the best solution for paneling? Does it have to be removed? Cabin is isolated with no running water or electricity.

  2. Hi Jane,

    A lot depends on what the paneling is made of. A lot of paneling is made from processed wood, like mdf. If that is the case, it will likely need to be removed especially if the mold has saturated down into the fibers. Processed wood products are similar to drywall in that it is almost impossible to get the mold out if it has formed deep inside the material. If the mold is only on the surface, there is chance you could salvage it by cleaning off the mold. Check out our page on how to kill mold to see which method might be best for you. Good luck!

  3. I have white mold on many items in my basement (finished wood, unfinished wood, plastic, rubber, vinyl, books, metal). Except for a couple of pieces of furniture, you can’t see any mold unless it is dark and you use a flash light. I will be throwing most everything in the trash. However, for those items I want to keep, I would like to clean. I tried the borax, distilled vinegar, water mix on finished wood and that did not work. I would like to try the mix with detergent. I see this mentioned many times in relation to cleaning mold, but no one specifies what kind of detergent. Is it dishwashing detergent such as DAWN or is it laundry detergent such as TIDE? Or is it something else? Please give me a specific example of what detergent, brand name. Thank you, cindy

  4. Hi Cindy, detergents typically refer to either laundry or dish detergents. The importance of detergents is that they are surfactants that reduce the surface tension of water, allowing the water to penetrate and better “wash” the area. Either of the detergents you mentioned should be fine. Good luck. If the white mold doesn’t disappear, it may have grown beyond the finish, and actually moved underneath into the wood fibers. You would then want to look at the instructions for removing mold from unfinished wood because the mold is now into the actual wood instead of the just on the finish. If the mold has grown too deep, you may need to sand your furniture down, clean it, and then re-finish it.

  5. We have white mold on the bottom side of a deck around a pool inside a screen enclosure with an outdoor shower and hot tub. Obviously it stays damp to say the least. It is rotting the wood and I was replacing wood when I found it. Is it safe to say that the wood would be easier replaced than cleaned? The deck is also close to the ground (less than 2ft). I’m thinking time wise it would be more beneficial to replace rather than clean. What are your thoughts?

  6. I have cleaned up all the except under the wall studs where it meets the floor. Is there any recommended method baring removal of the bottom stud plate? I have sprayed the bleach solution around the base and have dried the area with a floor heater. After 5 days there is still some moisture. Not sure what else to do and I would like to put my home back together. When I do, should I paint the interface with Kiltz or leave open? Thanks for any ideas.

  7. I have white mold on a 400 year old grapevine coffee table. It was in the living room when there was a flood in the kitchen (broken pipe to the ice cube maker) and the water spread over the floor into the living room, etc. Now there is a white mold over most of it. What can I do about it. It is a beautiful table and is worth over $2000.

  8. I recently pulled up the rug in a room we plan to put hardwood flooring down and found a black stain in the subfloor and along the edge of the drywall. We used to have a fish tank there but that was over 5 years ago.

    Could the black stain in the particle boards be mold, and if it is, could it still be active after 5 years of no water source?

    Thank you for any advice you can give.

  9. Hi Rich. It is possible that the stain is mold since there is a likely suspect (fish tank) that could have either slowly leaked or had condensation that dripped periodically on the floor. We tend to be more cautious, so we would say when in doubt, throw it out. Typically, dry mold isn’t active. But that just means it is not currently growing and destroying your subfloor or drywall even more. On the other hand, even higher levels of humidity in the air can reactivate the mold. It then sprouts tiny hair-like spores that start to produce new active spores. The good thing about this possible mold problem is that subfloor and drywall are both relatively easy to replace, even if you just cut out small sections.

  10. Hi Judy. Depending on whether the table has a finish, like polyurethane or lacquer, you can refer to the methods above in the article. In this case, it would be better if the table did have a finish because it might mean the mold has not penetrated into the wood fibers. If the wood is unfinished, you can try the methods above. Since this table is quite valuable, both in dollars and historically, you may want to contact a mold specialist in your area to get an opinion. It might be worth a minor consolation fee to have someone come out and look at.

  11. Hi Joe. One thing you could try is using an air compressor to blow strong air along the bottom. This can force the moisture out of the crevasses where it has ambient air to dry. If you live in an arid or semi-arid climate, you might be able to put Kilz on it once you get it as dry as possible. The bleach soak was a good move because some of that bleach is also in those moist areas too, which is inhibiting future mold growth. We’re thinking you could get away with the Kilz as long as this area of your house does not get much moisture. A baking soda or borax solution can be used to inhibit future growth , so you could look into that too. The only 100% solution to this problem, however, is to remove the floor plates and clean it up.

  12. Hi Donnie. It sounds like this is a problem that will continue to come back. Damp, dark places with weak air circulation is like mold heaven. Since this is outdoors, it typically doesn’t pose as high of risk because of the air circulation, but can still put damper on things, especially if you can smell it. To answer your question, you will have to determine whether its better to replace it. It is probably safe to say, however, that the mold is deep inside the wood fibers. If the wood is fairly old, odds are it will be easier to replace that clean up.

  13. Hi David,
    I had items in a storage unit for a year during our area’s wettest summer. I found mold/mildew on some items, mostly picture frames and books. I got rid of those items but kept everything else that didn’t appear contaminated. Could mold be present on my other items and I just can’t see it? It’s odd that some things were obviously damaged and other things look and smell fine.

  14. We have spring air on our furnace which provides humidity. The house is ten years old and very tight. A lot of moisture appears on our windows which are wood. Now we have black mold appearing on every window. To top it off, I have lupus with no immune system and should not be exposed to mold. What is the best way of taking care of this problem?

  15. Hi David,
    I have a knee wall in my Cape house and in that knee wall is a duct for the heating over the entire length of the house. I recently saw that all the insulation in the knee wall is wet and the wood behind it had ice crystals on it at this time. I am planning to have the insulation removed and having spray foam blown in between the studs when everything has dried. If there is mold on the wood between the studs, should that be removed or can they just put the spray foam over it and cover it airtight?

  16. I had a food storage room in which a food item leaked and then mold grew from it. Do I need to be as careful in the clean up? And do I use the same method described above?

  17. We have an outside porch Yat has a cypress T & G ceiling. We live in South Carolina new the ocean and humidity is a serious problem. This spring we noticed some dark old on some of the boards. Our concern is that by using a chemical to rid the mold our wood will become discolored orbleached. Is the a process that will insure a positive outcome without the danger of discoloration?

    Thanks TS

  18. Great tips but I didn’t see my specific problem. I have a 1200sqft out building with a concrete floor and finished walls but no ceiling but has an insulated roof. It sat closed up for a year or so and has incredibly high humidity inside. I’ve had mold grow on several items and my fear is the exposed rafters are covered in mold although I don’t see any masses of mold. I’m somewhat sensitive to mold and dust and if I spend an extended amount of time I can feel it in my sinus and throat. Can I just spray a bleach/detergent solution on without scrubbing it off or is there a better solution for me?

  19. I have white mold on the wood in a sun room we have put bleach on the wood but it has not died I don’t know what to do. I think that the mold that me and my family are trying to remove is water damage of sun damage because I put full bleach with no water on it and it comes back when it dry’s out. the wood is unfinished Tung and groove wood

  20. I assume the black on the sills of my porch windows is mold or mildew. The wood is painted. What is the best solution to remove it?

  21. I have white mold on the ceiling of a basement bedroom closet that is about 7 ft x 2 ft. The ceiling is made of drywall. What do you suggest???? It is only in that one area.

  22. I recently bought an old wood bread box and it smells like mold the bread we had in it smells like mold how do you remove the mold smell from the wood bread box?

  23. Our camper was closed all winter. After I opened it and left it open “to air it out” for a couple of weeks I noticed a fluffy green something growing on the wooden cutting board that covers the stove top and also on the fronts of the cabinet doors. What should I have used to clean this? I used Lysol All-purpose Cleaner and then wiped the cutting board with mineral oil.

    What WAS the stuff? And what should I have used to clean it? I wound up sick with a horrible sinus infection that the doctor said probably resulted from that.

  24. I have removed mold from surface of basement unfished rafters and applied borasol mc would it be wise to varnish after it’s dry or leave as is.

  25. Keri,
    I have done the same thing with storage units. It is possible that some things get mold, while others don’t. It is primarily a function of whether mold spores land on that item AND it has the chance to take route. If you don’t see any mold, the second test is whether you smell it. If the object smells musty or moldy, it might have mold growing in it. As indicated in on this page, if it is a material that can absorb moisture on the surface, it is more likely to have mold in it, and it will be more difficult to remove. If the surface is nonporous (doesn’t absorb water), then you could probably get rid of the mold using one of the methods on this page.

  26. Danelle,
    Because of your immune system situation, you should not mess around with this. My advice is to contact a mold removal specialist. Click on this page for some good advice on selecting a mold removal contractor.

  27. Hi Bert,
    Depending on the extent of the mold between the studs, you may or may not be able to get away with covering it up. If the mold is minor, or not visible, you can treat the wood with one of the methods on our “get rid of mold” page, here is the link. There are some commercial products that you can spray to clean and retard any future growth of the mold. The key is making sure the wood gets dry first, and stays dry. If you live in a high-humidity area, make sure you give it a good cleaning and drying before going further. You may even consider just replacing it if you can. If the mold is highly visible and covers a large area, its best to get a professional, or remove the wood. Good Luck!

  28. Hi Teena,
    For the most part, mold is mold, whether it is from food or rotting wood. Unless you have a high sensitivity to mold, you should be able to just clean up the area and through the bad food away. If the mold grew on the wood shelving or the wall, then yes you will probably need to use the same method.

  29. Hi Tom,
    I honestly have not worked with cypress wood much. The good thing is that cypress is rot-resistant, unlike softer woods such as fir or pine. For this reason, you should be ok with a more mild solution to cleaning the mold. You could try the rubbing alcohol or the borax solution first. I actually like the borax solution because its relatively safe to use, and since it has such a high ph value, it actually helps prevent the mold from returning. You can explore more mold cleaning solutions here.

  30. Hi Chris,

    If there is a way to inspect the rafters, I would do that first. A visual or sniff (smell) inspection should be made to see if you detect the presence of mold. Make sure you take proper safety precautions since you are somewhat sensitive to mold (or have somebody else do it). Whether you need to scrub or not really depends on the extent of the mold problem. If the mold is not visible, but you are just taking a precaution, then a spray would probably be enough, as long as you take measures to reduce the humidity or keep air movement in the building. If the mold is visible, or looks heavily entrenched into the wood fibers, then you probably will need to go to the next level and do some scrubbing. Again, use good safety precautions. Also, you might want to check out our page on preventing mold to help keep it from returning. It sounds like getting some air movement and dehumidification/air conditioning in there would be a big plus for you, if possible.

  31. Hi Karl,
    It is possible that the white stuff you see is actually wood that has been stained by moisture, and maybe mold. I would first think to smell the area to see if you detect a musty, moldy odor. Next, did you try scrubbing or wet sanding the area? By doing this, you will be able to see if it is only on the surface or if it is embedded deep into the wood. After scrubbing/wetsanding, apply the bleach solution indicated above on this page. Remember that adding a detergent (not ammonia) to the solution will help the bleach to penetrate into the wood. If you do this, and the white area is still there but there is no odor, it is likely that the wood is just stained from the mold and water. Most importantly, ensure the environment of your sun room is not conducive to mold growth. Proper air movement, lower humidity levels, and lack of moisture source (leaks, etc) are key. Good luck!

  32. I have discovered a small patch of white mold on the under side of roof decking by a chimney. The patch runs on the plywood along the rafter framing about 4-6 inches in each direction. The exposed mold can be treated but there must also be some issues sandwiched between the rafter and plywood decking. Is there some way of treating this as well?

  33. I just moved a window box from the end of our table (near the window) of our 5th Wheel. W live in a very dry Arizona climate and the window box was not suppose to have any holes. The plants died in it so I guess I didn’t water it very much but must have missed some time or another and watered the top of a birch table. As I removed the linen that was under the box there is black mold. The table, since it it near the window was dry I thought, so I wiped up what I could and then applied lemon oil in the form of Old English Lemon Oil. Now I need to get out the rest of the black. I am going to wash off the lemon oil with detergent and Bon Ami. What else can I do? Thanks for any help you send.

  34. I have a greenhouse which is built on a decking platform. To improve winter warmth, I have put some dense sponge tiles on the floor. Having lifted them for cleaning I have found that there is a coating of white mould or fungus, quite thick, underneath on the decking. Dose this need scraping off first or treating with the solutions described above?

  35. I just went thru hell in my house over mold – We have 3 kinds of it and it is still going on.
    What I have learned that kills the “white slimy” mold is Hydrogen peroxide –
    Like a cut on your finger, when the hydrogen peroxide dries, it burns like hell on your skin.
    It does the exact same thing on wood. It burns it off and out of bare wood. I sprayed it good; as in soaking it; let it dry for a day, went back that next evening and soaked it again leaving it to dry the next day again. 3% over the counter worked well.
    But here is the thing and I am learning this too as of late – its not just about “killing” it –
    you have to remove it – even tho spores are dead, they can still release allergens and spread. So once you kill the spores, get a good HEPA VAC and suck them up.
    Our house is not done yet, so I am sure there is more that I will be learning –
    Hope this helps anyone who needs it.

  36. My child has a tree house that she built with her Dad 10 or so years ago. It started showing signs of mold and looks almost unsafe because the wood looks so weak, but when she plays on it, it proves rather strong. I was wondering if it was ok to just paint over it. I am not sure if any of these solutions will last, considering that its outside all year round, but I don’t want the wood to get so weak from the mold that it is unsafe for her to play. Any advice?

  37. We are remodeling a home and have pulled out two vanities that smell musty. I have cleaned with Clorox 2 and wood cleaner inside and out. I have let them dry out and they still have a musty odor. They did not have any visible signs of mold on the wood. Any suggestions before we have to purchase new vanities?

  38. We got a beautiful wood bunk bed from my sister 3 weeks ago and part of the items were white from strong with mildew smell…. We have tried what seems like everything (vinegar and water) (10/20 bleach with water) drying it out in the sun as much as we could constant running of dehumidifier which leaked half the time with the bucket tipping over and soaking our fake wood floor….Along with air purifier, and running the air conditioner with occasionally of just opening the whole room up to air out<— that actually worked the longest which was 1.5 days
    Nothing has worked permanently! My 3 year old wake up with a hacky cough every morning and though the white color is gone the SMELL has not
    I'm ready to do a commercial sold mold remover other site said Wet and Dry Indoor would be best but you seem like you REALLY know what your talking about so any recommendations I am yours to command 😉
    On a second piece I noticed in the basement that same gray/white powder color on the main beam below their room could that be what I smelling because you don't smell anything in the basement or any recommendations to take care of that too

  39. We have a 20 foot long cargo trailer we used in our business my husband let a friend use it and for differnt reasons did not get back for about 8 or 9 months. Well we just got back and all the plywood is covered in white mold. How do I get this out. The carpet will be pulled out and burned, some cardboard boxes have black mold looks like everything needs to be cleaned. Do is pressure wash, bleach wash with brush or what.

  40. I noticed blue/green mold going up the legs of my dining room chairs with an occasional spot on the seat upholstery. Getting the mold off the chairs was easy. What should I do about the rug and underlying rug pad which the table and chairs sat on. They show no mold but were in direct contact with the chair legs.

  41. The dining area in my house is dark with poor air circulation. There is a musty odor and I noticed blue/green mold climbing up the legs of the four dining room chairs with an occasional spot on the upholstery of the seats. Getting the mold off the chair legs was easy. (There appears to be some, but significantly less, mold on the table legs. I wonder why that is). My primary question concerns the rug and underlying rug pad that the table/chairs sit on. There is no visible mold on either but the rug was in direct contact with the mold from the chair legs. What do I do about the rug and pad (and seat upholstery on the chairs), if anything?

  42. I have a friend who is low income, can’t afford a high electric bill on her social security, so she can’t run her air conditioner often in her apartment. We live in a high humidity area in Missouri.
    She recently found white mold all over her bathroom and kitchen cabinets, which spread to her closet and shoes.
    I’m a hairdresser and we use formaldehyde tablets for bacteria, would it benefit her to put some in those cabinets to destroy the growth of the mold?

  43. hi,
    we bought a barrel sauna and varnished it on the outside but not the inside. Some water gets through despite the varnish as the wood was meant to expand a bit – we started to get mold in between the wood but can’t treat the inside of the sauna with anything. How can I get rid of the mold within the wooden slats? We’ve bought a protective cover to stop it from getting rained on and air the sauna well everytime we’ve used it. Do you have any suggestions?

  44. We have a black spot on the bottom corner of our wood basement door. We had water leak from our water softener. The wood has been varnished, what do you suggest to do to get rid of th black spot.

  45. Hi Jason. My advice depends on whether the black stuff is underneath the varnish, or on top of it. If it is underneath the varnish, then it will probably be difficult. You will have to remove the varnish first, and then follow the steps for above for removing unfinished wood. If the mold has settle too deep in the fibers of the wood, it may be difficult to eliminate. If the mold is on top of the varnish, then you should be able to more easily clean it off with one of the methods above for finished wood. You may have to sand down and reapply varnish if the mold has embedded in the varnish. Good luck!

  46. Hi Kathryn. Rugs and rug pads can be tricky because if there is mold, it can get deep into the fibers. Typically a combination of measures can be taken. Consider this process: First, take the rug and pad outside and sweep it and shake it out. If you are comfortable with a shop vac, try vacuuming it too. Next, a couple of solutions that work well are rubbing alcohol or vinegar. You can dilute the rubbing alcohol a little with water, but the vinegar should be undiluted. Rubbing alcohol evaporates better, so the rug and pad won’t absorb as much, just don’t soak it so much that its soggy. The vinegar, when dried, loses its smell and helps prevent future mold, but again don’t totally soak it. You can focus on the areas that were in contact with the chair. Depending on the fabric of the rug and pad, you can use more or less solution. If the fibers are wool or synthetic, you can use more solution because it doesn’t absorb moisture. And actually, if the this method doesnt work and you have a non-absorbing material in the rug, you can try using dish soap on the rug and just hosing it down with the garden hose. If the material is something like cotton, us the solution more sparingly because it will retain the water, which actually promotes mold growth. Finally you can let it sit out on the driveway or a patio, or even better hang it, for a full day or two, making sure it is in full sun so the water evaporates. This should go a long way in helping you on this. Good luck.

  47. Hi Maureen,
    Based on what you are saying, I believe the smell is likely from the furniture that you received with the strong mildew smell. Unless there is a moisture issue on the beam in the basement, it might just be dry rot, which isn’t much to worry about. Please keep in mind, however, that I can’t see it so I could be wrong. You may want to try a bleach solution with detergent (not ammonia), but just some dish soap or something like that. The soap actually lets the bleach penetrate deeper into the wood fibers, which will help get more of the smell out. If that doesn’t work, you may have to sand the wood a little bit and try it again. If that doesn’t work, the mold might be too far into the wood fibers and you might not be getting it out. I hope this helps. Good luck.

  48. Hi. I have a large storage building. I have concerns with parts of the drywall, especially the ceiling and side wall wood have been exposed to rain, high humidity, and not well ventilated inside building. There are dark and whitish areas on the ceiling wood where water has come thru before roofing was completed. Dark area on the walls as well. Tin roofing is on top, but wood has dark areas from previous rains. Trying to manage keeping the building to use. I was going to try to use the bleach method of mold removal. I have read some post, that this is not very effective, because the wood is porous. Need help. Thank you

  49. Hi we recently moved into a house with a river in the backyard…the house is about 20 years old. I discovered white spots all over two pieces in my dining room. One is an upright wood piano. The other is a cabinet I purchased about 2 years ago made of wood but was made to look old with paint..I bought it like this so I am going to assume this was considered a finished piece. We washed off the spots with Dawn and water mix but they came back. So my husband went ahead and used bleach and water knowing he wasn’t supposed to. In either case, neither worked and the white spots have come back. Strangely none of the other wood pieces in the room have these fuzzy white spots. What should be our next course of action?

  50. Hi Leah. Sorry of the delayed response. We have had some functional problems with the website recently. This is a strange situation indeed. Keep in mind that sometimes mold will leave stains even if the mold itself has been removed. You may want to try a commercial mold remover to see if it has better penetration into the wood fibers. Alternatively, and this might not seem like something that you will want to do, but you could test a small area by lightly sanding the white spot to see if it is superficial (on the outside finish) or if it go deeper into the wood fibers. Depending to the furniture and whether you are willing to go through a refinishing process, you may need to sand the white spots off and touch up the wood with new paint/finish.

  51. Hi. Sorry for the delayed response. We have had some problems lately with the website. Based on your description, these spots might be mold-related, or just stained from the minerals and roofing deposits from the water saturating the wood. Many times, the odor will let you know how bad the mold content of the wood is. Go ahead and try the mold treatment, but add a little detergent (not ammonia) as indicated in on our web page. The detergent will help the bleach absorb deeper into the wood fibers. It may take a few treatments. If you are not too concerned about how the wood looks, you can scrub it with a wire brush to expose more of the deeper wood fibers, prior to applying the bleach. As for the drywall. If it is wet, it should be replaced.

  52. Real Christmas tree gave one last unwelcome
    Present. We forgot to put down the play if barrier between the tree base and our white European oak wide plank floors. And now I have a large circle of mold spots.

    I tried soaking the area with the natural soap for 5 mins and brushing it to clean it. But it has only removed what looks like a top layer of mold. Floor still stained. Any ideas?


  53. We live on a narrowboat..all our walls are oak finished..we have a small black mould mark on the wood in the bedroom at the side of the bed, and the wood feels slightly damp…
    We have had huge amounts of rain in the past few weeks…how are we best to dry this out and to try and remove the mould mark
    Thanks in advance

  54. Very informative site.. My screened in sun room has roofing made out of fiberboard. This fiberboard has produced a brown mold on 2 of the boards, which I’ll replace when all of the rain is over. Do I have to use a bleach solution or can I use one of the less toxic methods that I’ve been reading about -like borax & vinegar? I will be doing whatever works to prevent this from spreading and having to replace the whole roof.
    Thank you for any suggestions..

  55. omg ur site is amazing n full of handy tips thanku my daughter is allergic to mould n has a very mouldy bedroom ur tips n advice are xtremely appreciated

  56. I have 3 mold rings from a plant overflowing on my wood desk and then the person set a towel under it and left it. This left a mold ring on each spot this happened in. The wood does not have a polyurethane finish, hence the mold ring in the wood. How would I clean this?

  57. A Humble Reminder – There is a reason why text messages have a character
    limit – 160 to be exact. 8 billion online videos in January,
    with You – Tube alone scoring over 100 million unique viewers in that same period”. From the Cinavia technical pages and other technical sites; all later editions PS3 and bluray players have Cinavia drm built-in via hardware and ENABLED.

  58. I have been building a house in an area with freezing temps and used propane heaters to keep it warm to work on it until I could get a furnace installed. I recently discovered mold forming on the inside of the exterior sheeting behind the insulation, I presume from condensation from the heaters. The ceilings are all sheetrocked already and have vapor barrier up. I have opened up the wall vapor barrier and insulation to allow drying. Will using sprays after the walls dry and vapor barrier seal and prevent future mold growth if the walls stay dry? Thanks for any advice.

  59. Wow, Trent I wish that every builder could see this. It is a dramatic demonstration of what is epidemic in new buildings.
    We need more building science but the evidence is pretty much staring us in the face. I would love to see the building code changed to completely eliminate the vapor barrier from construction.

  60. i’m currently renovating a 1930’s house in Sunny Manchester. There’s been a leak from the old header tank, which was in the bathroom. This as well as everything bar the floor joists and ceiling joists has been removed from the property. It was in a very bad way the outside floor level was 18″ higher than the DPC at the back – so very damp house. Ive aired and heat dried most of the building and replaced the ground floor joists.Some of the remaining joists in the bathroom have green/grey mould on them. Simple question what do i use to kill the stuff. Don’t really wanna be spending another 2k on joists if i can help it!
    Cheers an it actually is sunny in Manc today. Happy Days

  61. We painted our deck with restore to protect the wood. With small grand kids who love to play with all sizes of balls, my husband put a screen all the way around above the rails to keep the balls on the deck and it works GREAT! However, we have mold on the rail and the deck all around the edges of the deck. When it rains the water catches in the screen and drips down and now we have mold. I really want this removed before we start playing out doors on the deck again. Will just bleach and water remove it or do I need something else? Thank you for your time and attention.

  62. Hi David, we just moved into a new old home and I am worried some of the built in wood furniture in the basement has white mold. At first I thought it was just dust from some work we had done that involved sanding, but after I wet dusted everything it still saw white areas. I scrubbed everything with vinegar, but when it dries some areas are still drying white. I lived in Brazil for s few years and mold was just part of life there, but that mold would go away for week or so (depending on weather) then come back. I am a little puzzled that I still see it after scrubbing. Could it just be stain/damaged wood?

  63. Please specify exactly what “commercial mold removal products” you recommend and for what (eg black mold on unfinished wood under a sink that leaked, drywall). Further, how does one ever keep a refrigerator free of mold (NOT JUST DEAD MOLD)? Finally, the moldy wooden cabinet under the sink that leaked I mentioned contains an enclosed reverse osmosis system to a spiggot next to the sink faucet. Is it dangerous for me to drink the “purified water?” How do I test the water? I am VERY sick, all mycotoxins pos, HLA, pos, and all other tests. I am quite sure this house was not where my problems originated, but when away for medical care, I returned to find my “friend’s” watching my house watched two areas of mold grow (the other was water damage In the ceiling & I am afraid to find out abt my attic drywall, insulation, and roof!). But, please let’s start with the commercial remover (not killer) while I figure the rest out. Can you kindly specify? Please reply.

  64. Thank you for your suggestions. I chose to mix the detergent/soda thing. I wiped it on like you recommended and waited a few minutes and when I came back with a scrubbing sponge, it came off like magic!! Mostly used the sponge side instead of the scrubber. Makes me think it was just mildew and not invasive mold since it wasn’t green or black. This solution does not work in a spray bottle since the baking soda does not dissolve, so better to put it in a bottle and use a sponge to apply. Detergent does get very sudsy as you use it, so it took several wiping rinses to clean up, but well worth the effort. My little cabinet is now on the carport with a fan blowing at it to dry it completely. Then I will be ready to sand and refinish this little gem!!

  65. I bought a baby grand piano last week, and began to get symptoms indicating that I had been exposed to mold. I am highly allergic to mold, and have struggled with a compromised immune system for several years. The piano company has offered to send their technician to remedy the problem, but I’m afraid if he stirs up the spores in my apartment, then it will get into the duct system. In your opinion, can the inside of a piano be thoroughly cleaned of the mold spores?

    Thank you.

  66. Hi
    I recently moved into a new apartment and there is mold growing on my roof ceiling as well on my furniture. I have used bleach to clean it but it keeps on coming back.. My apartment itself is very damp. is there anything that can be used to removed the Mold completely.

  67. Hi I have white/yellow/green mold on the back of wooden photo print. It is in a small office—closed off with only air-con ventilation. The office air-con is turned off when the office is not in use and I live in a very humid place. How can I prevent the mold from returning or the issue from happening again?

  68. I was helping to clean up a mouldy cupboard. The moulds r thick liked icing sugar!!!! Solid ones growing on everywhere on the cupboard n inside the drawers. I didn’t wear specs n only wore N95 mask. Big regret. While wiping I see the white trails of moulds floating or moving in the air. Zzzz. Now I am having some nose blockage. I hope I didn’t inhale them but I think I do as my nose bridge isn’t high enough for the mask
    Right now running eucalyptus oil in humidifier n feel a little better. I read that it can kill moulds but I have no idea
    Anyway I’m going to buy a dehumidifier with uv lights later in the day. I hope it will work. The house already has one dehumidifier but it’s insufficient esp if the area is high humidity n near greenary
    My own house I have to mix some power that can killed moulds n pores into the oil base sealer then into the paint too to keep the moulds at bay for 2-3years. Without the moulds killer it will be coming back real fast
    If you r always with moulds problems n if the air is wet, dehumidifier n running it DAILY will wk. it will make the whole place hot

  69. I forgot to mentioned for things that I have to throw, I will use those plastic film to run over the surface n ensure the whole thing or almost all (mouldy parts) will be enclosed within the film. Otherwise the moulds on the furniture will be spreading all around the area

  70. I have been going thru things that have been in a storage unit for three years. In addition to a desk that has white spots on it, I have numerous quilts, some quite old and fragile that smell musty/moldy, some with spots, some without. Any suggestions on the desk and the quilts? Also, is there anything I can put in the storage unit to prevent this from happening again? Thank you.

  71. The unfinished portion of our basement has white mold all over the unfinished wood! There is also sticky yellow stuff on plastic containers and some black mold on drywall by a door. Can I conquer all this or do I have to get a pro?

  72. I started renovating a small house circa 1949 and there was an electrical fire which stalled the demo. During that time of insurance research and mediation,the sump pump was off and mold has started,actually looks like a nice velvet…white and some black. there is standing water in the basement and this is where the mold is occurring. Will I need to replace the joists or can I apply the borax solution and encapsulate? the mold is starting on the ceiling of a bedroom as well bc the house in the attic was saturated with water from the fire. pls email me back, as your information was quite interesting and reasonable. Thanks,Caroline.

  73. Hi,

    I am currently building a summer house and during the warmer months built the frame work then used tongue and groove cladding externally. I immediately treated the wood with a wood stain which dries to a water proof varnish. Even though I used two coats I have recently found small patches of black mould on several panels and don’t know how to get rid without risk of damaging wood or stain (please note; we have had a lot of rain and damp weather). Once removed is there anyway of permanently preventing this from reoccurring?

    Many thanks


  74. Hi
    I made some cabinets in Ripple Sycamore veneers and finished with 2 costs of a water based acrylic lacquer. I left them covered up in blankets to protect them as I was going away for a few months. On my return I uncovered them and to my disappointment the white wood veneer has been completely attacked by a dark almost grey mildew. I thought that the finish would protect it but alas it has not. Any advice you could give on how to try and salvage this furniture would be very helpful. At the moment I am feeling not very hopeful and have been considering just scrapping them. Look forward to hearing from you.
    Many thanks.

  75. My door is become black inside by water what to do I rub with sand paper but still it is not going

  76. Water damage under bathroom sink. Wiped it off can I prevent it from coming back by varnishing?

  77. I’ve just built some bee hives from some rather damp pine wood. Some of the boxes (not in use yet) have developed white molds and some is stained black/green. I’ve cleaned the boxes off several times and now they are in a warm, sunny conservatory where I’m trying to dry them out.

    Is there anything I can use on the wood to remove the mold that would be unlikely to be harmful to the bees once I start using the boxes?

  78. Hi Adrian,

    Sounds like you are on the right track. We aren’t bee experts, so make sure you get a second opinion on our advice. But baking soda, water, and a little soap should be safe. You can also use a light bleach/water solution. Here is a link to the National Bee Unit in the UK. That link is to a PDF that your browser will probably download automatically. It should show up at the bottom of your page. It has some really good advice on how strong the solutions should be mixed. They also indicate you can lightly torch the wood with a blow torch. That would also help dry out the wood and cook off any mold spores. Good luck.

  79. We just found black mold between the big garage door and wall that it closes on. The wall just is made of exposed plywood. Once I clean the mold how do I prevent it from happening again? Can I just paint the exposed wood with a mold resistant paint?


  80. I found white and brown mold on the unfinished wood beams and wood between the beams in my basement. Area is less than 10 feet. I turned on the dehumidifier. What should I use on the unfinished, raw wood to remove the mold.?

  81. My house is 50 plus years old. During a home inspection by our new insurance company it was noted some of the floor joists were black in places and possibly were mold. The floor joists are rough cut pine double joined and are very solid. Any suggestions on what I should do to clean? Could it just be pine pitch? I can,t smell any mildew and the sub floor attached to joists almost look new, Any advice would be very welcomed

  82. Hi Jenna. A lot of your decision should be based on how ingrained the mold is into the wood. If it appears the mold is mostly near the surface. You can probably paint over it after doing a thorough cleaning. Keep in mind that this assumes you have eliminated the condition that causing the mold if the first place. If you haven’t eliminated the moisture problem, the mold will likely return. If the mold is deeply saturated into the plywood, replacement of the plywood may be the only solution. Good luck!

  83. Hi Betty. First of all, good job on getting the dehumidifier going. That should help prevent future mold from growing. If you are comfortable using bleach, I would go with the bleach-detergent solution as indicated on this page. If you aren’t comfortable with that, probably the borax or a commercial product. Be sure to where protective gear, especially if the mold is now dry and might get into the air when you scrub. You can learn about protective wear here.

  84. Hi Michael. Yes, floor joists are what you call “very important” to the structural integrity of the house. I wouldn’t mess around by guessing, especially since the home is older and the timbers were rough cut. I would spend the money to have a professional company come out and look at it, just for peace of mind. Most homeowner’s insurance companies are already familiar with these mold specialists in your area. I would contact your insurance rep and see if he/she can get you in contact with an expert to determine if it is actually mold, or something else. I would think your insurance company would like to know also. If the area doesn’t smell musty and the environment isn’t damp, then it could be something entirely different. That’s much better than rotting floor joists.

  85. Hi. We had mold under our sub floor on wood that cannot be removed because it is part of the structure of the house. We cleaned it, sanded it and disinfected it but the musty moldy smell remains. There is no other mold in the area. Any other thoughts?

  86. A little pumpkin started rotting on the window sill and there are now black mold stains where it was sitting. The sill is finished so I wiped it off but there is still black in the poly and it looks like a little part was worn away and is actually in the wood. What is the best way to get rid of it gently? The sill is on a passthrough from the kitchen so it is out in the open?

  87. Hi Caitlin. I’ve actually had the same thing happen to me on a shelf. Pumpkins! You might have removed the dangerous stuff, but it can leave a stain, which is what this sounds like. The most certain way to address this is to sand the sill down until you get through the stain. I am assuming the stain didn’t penetrate too deep. You would have to re-sand the whole sill though, not just that one spot. Then reapply the poly-u. Its a bummer, I know.

  88. I Built a shower at the other side of a bedroom closet, just found out I did a poor job of sealing the shower base, water leaked into the closet, got rid of the drywall that was black, took out the insulation, which was not too wet, the underlayment was soaking, the rug a little wet, I sprayed the wood and area with “concrobrum Mould Control, after 4 days of airing out, fan blowing into the closet, it still smells musky, am going to cut out the underlayment, wondering if the problem lays under the bottom plate, how can I clean that area, the last thing I want to do is remove the framing. Thanks in advance for your help….John

  89. i have found a supply of branches of varying thickneses without bark and white and weathered that i am going to use for some artistic projects, but every branch has black staining at intervals along its length is this a fungus and what type of bleach would i have to use to remove it… its rather like a soot and difficult to sand away !!!!

  90. The little cottage, that I rent, smells bad since day one. The humidity is very high and I use a dehumidifier and air filter and it still smells bad. There was black mold not cleaned up in the bathrooom when I arrived, and then not cleaned up properly. I had the a/c, vents professionally cleaned. I had a air quality checked for mold, and after I found mold that he did not under the sink where water is getting through in between the wood and drywall ? Just now when water went down where it needed to be caulked, you could not see where it went. I see mold at the top, but wonder what lays behind it since I have been sick with headaches, fatigue, sleeping problems, breathing, itching, etc. How much does it cost to have someone find the extent of the damage and cleanup/restoration? I am already affected by it and can not go near it.

  91. Recently in one of our bedrooms white mold had showed up on pretty much everything, we think it may have started with some wood candles or a table in there. But now it’s showing up on other random objects in the entire house. There’s no moisture so our only guess is that it’s growing on random wood things that originally came from our family’s old house. But that’s just a guess and we’re very overwhelmed as we can’t figure out where it’s coming from and can’t afford professional help. I believe it’s begging to affect me health wise and am very anxious about this. What should we do?

  92. We just received a large timber frame lumber package for our covered porches. In the process of oiling and staining we have encountered a number of beams and posts that have strips of black mold. Our package supplier recommends rubbing a cloth rag with full strength Clorox over mold areas and then oil and stain with the Q8 log oil we have. Our concern is that the Clorox (concentrated) does not change the color of the mold.
    Do we need a surfactant? Or just not worry?
    Thanks, Vic and Jill

  93. HI Dorothy. This doesn’t sound like a good situation. The cost varies widely depending on where you live and how much work they will need to do. It sounds like this affecting your health, so I definitely would have a professional do this instead of DIY. If you decide to use a contractor, make sure you read this page to help avoid pitfalls. Since you are renting, it might be worth it to contact your local health department if the landowner does not seem to be responsive to the problem. Good luck to you.

  94. Hi Katie. It is difficult to know what is going there without seeing it. If the wood furniture from the old house already had mold colonized on it, it is possible for the mold spores to mature and send out spores to other objects in the room. This can occur, even if there is not a lot of moisture. Some molds, such as Dry Rot, can grow in relatively dry conditions. If you live in a humid environment, I would think this would accelerate the mold growth. If you can’t clean it off, or if it is growing too fast, I recommend you have a professional look at it. If you choose to do that, be sure to look at this page to avoid any pitfalls. Very interesting case and we wish we were more helpful. Good luck to you.

  95. Hi Vic. Its a valid concern. Mold can leave a stain on wood, even after you have removed it and treated it. I would avoid using surfactants if possible if you are applying oil. The oil is meant to penetrate into the wood fibers, and so is the surfactant. The two might repel each other, thereby defeating the purpose of the oil. Alternatively, if you really want that bleach to penetrate, I would go extra light on the surfactants. But I recommend you follow the supplier’s recommendations and just use bleach. Assuming mold on your beams wasn’t part of their advertised product, I would also put the supplier on notice that you might need them to ship you replacements. I assume you paid good money for this, and I assume you didn’t specifically order wood that is stained with black mold. If the discoloration is a problem for you, I would seek a replacement from them. Otherwise, the bleach treatment with maybe a little scrubbing will do the trick. Hope this helps. Good luck!

  96. Hi there. Thanks so much for this website and all the kind help you’ve been giving everyone. 🙂

    We live in an old house in Europe and we’ve recently discovered mold attacking nearly all of the furnishings throughout our large dining/living room space. (The space was unused for some years.) I’m quite allergic to mold and we can’t afford to get professional remediation. So I’m a bit desperate for some reliable advice.

    The plan, so far, is this:
    1. Try to divert roof run-off further away from the base of the house.
    2. Use masks that can filter mold, also goggles & gloves.
    3. Remove all furnishings and carpeting. (Not keeping anything. Can’t risk a renewed mold problem later.)
    4. Rent a HEPA vacuum to vacuum all surfaces (entire floor and ceiling, all walls and windows) and rent a HEPA500 air purifier to remove the live and dead spores from the air of the space. (Not sure if we can succeed to set up a negative air flow but, if not, we’re hoping that maybe it will be good enough to even just set the purifier in the space and let it run constantly for a few days?)
    5. After the HEPA vacuuming and while the air purifier is still running, strip all the old wallpaper off. (We’re concerned there could be more mold behind the wallpaper, so we don’t feel safe to just leave it as it is with only a surface treatment.)
    6. Probably HEPA vacuum everything again (while still running the air purifier) on account of not knowing what may have been stirred up from the wallpaper removal.
    7. Treat all surfaces with a commercial anti-microbial/fungicide (since I read that bleach isn’t going to be good enough for the job).
    8. Install a dehumidifier for long-term use and, in dry weather, open the windows 1-3 times a day for fresh air flow.

    Here are the questions I haven’t been able to find answers to yet. If you can help with any, I’d be very grateful:
    1. The walls and floor are concrete/cement. The old layers of wallpaper were just pasted right onto the raw walls (common here in Europe). I expect that I should get some kind of commercial wallpaper remover since the old glue is very hard to get off the concrete/cement and especially because using a lot of water isn’t a good idea given all the mold/spores throughout the space. But then, when we have to treat the walls with an anti-microbial/fungicide right afterward, could there be a risk of residue from the wallpaper remover chemicals reacting with the mold killer? Do you think we’ll need to give the walls a day or two to dry, and then maybe it would be safe to apply the mold killer?
    2. The ceiling, window frames and sills are a kind of raw wood which looks sort of like pine to me, although I’m not certain. There doesn’t seem to be any varnish or anything like that on it. My husband didn’t see any mold on the wood ceiling, so I’m hoping that maybe there are only invisible surface spores and that it hasn’t really rooted there. Dunno. I guess it will be hard to soak the wood of the ceiling well enough with the mold killer stuff due to gravity. How many applications do you think we’ll need to do for it to penetrate deep enough to any possible mold roots? (Is there a general average as to how deep mold tends to send its roots into wood?)
    3. Is there any difference as to how much mold killer should be applied to wood vs concrete/cement to get the same results? E.g. Does wood need more of the treatment solution than a concrete wall or floor will?
    4. Is it correct that we should wait to start using the dehumidifiers until the air purifier has removed the majority of the spores from the room (so that the spores won’t start growing inside the dehumidifiers themselves)?
    5. My husband was wondering if we could avoid the HEPA500 air purifier (because the HEPA filter for it is so expensive) and just use a strong fan instead, with a hose venting to the outside. Could that on its own be enough to pull the mold spores out of a room? Whatever is used, should it sit on the floor or should we elevate it?
    6. I guess we should set up an extra fan or two to help avoid ‘stale air pockets’ that might not otherwise get filtered, but how? Should one aim toward the ceiling, for example, and another toward the floor?

    Thank you for your help!

  97. I found black mold inside and behind kitchen cabinets, Difficult to get to, do you have any suggestions to stop mold without removing all of the cabinets. They are in the kitchen on a finished wood floor,
    Was caused by water leak on dishwasher supply.

  98. Hello, we bought a house 2 years ago.we have stained board and batten first I thought it was dust on walls,but now I think it is white mold.I have been having migraines. We
    water in our basement after heavy rains.any advice you could give me?

  99. This is the most vital information share with us.Its really informative information share by you. i hope it must be useful for web visitor. Very interesting points you have noted, thank you for posting.

  100. Hi bought an RV, found mold in corner in front. Upon pulling up “paper ” on floor found one piece of rotted wood, removed found everything under dry, even insulation. Wood was not discolored at all. The rotted wood has been removed, I have a question. If I spread a layer of cat litter mixed with dry bleach (I’m also washing with your recipe before putting back together.) Under the insulation, will it get any hangoners? Also new wood on top. Just want to prevent spores from reestablishing and keeping safe.

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