Mold - the ever so annoying problem that we face in bathrooms and basements everywhere. It can happen in any house, in any environment, even after precautions are taken to prevent it. If you've ever faced this issue then you know just how difficult it can be to get rid of mold on wood.
Just when you think its under control you spot another growth area that needs to be taken care of. How can we stop mold for good? Will bleach or vinegar to the job better to kill it once and for all? Read on to find out!
How can you tell if it's mold?
First we need to get back to basics and define what mold is. By definition “Mold is…a growth of fungus that occurs on food or in a home or other moist warm conditions”. This is why basements and bathrooms are the most susceptible to mold growth and the most common areas people have difficulty killing it.
If something looks off around your floors or walls like different colors or textures, it’s time to figure out what it is and how to get rid of it.
A mildewed surface is often difficult to distinguish from a dirty one. To test for mold and mildew and how to tell if your house has mold, simply dab a few drops of household bleach on the blackened area. If it lightens after one to two minutes, you have mildew. If the area remains dark, you probably have dirt.
This article; has a ton of information on 12 different types of household mold. It discusses the names, where it tends to form, has photos of what it looks like, and its allergy/toxicity information. It’s important to note that if you have a serious form of mold, you need to call a professional to remove it. Do not attempt to remove it yourself. The EPA recommends that if the mold covers 10 square feet or more to call professionals for your own
Is wood mold dangerous?
Although mold fungi do not damage the wood, they do produce numerous spores and these spores can have an adverse effect on individuals with respiratory problems, allergies or a compromised immune system. Cleaning the wood helps to eliminate that exposure. Symptoms of mold exposure may include headache, sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes and fatigue.
What kills black mold on wood: vinegar or bleach?
Once you have identified the type you are dealing with and if it's safe for you to remove, the next step is finding out the best way to do it. A common question deals with bleach versus vinegar. Which one will kill the mold?
Vinegar has many household uses while bleach is known to kill just about any harmful bacteria you could find in your home. What one should you choose to get the job done the first time?
Most homeowners would go right for the bleach to start this process. It’s known to kill most bacteria, so why not? It is true that bleach can help a mold problem and will kill mold, however, that mold is usually only the stuff that is on the top surface of your area. Mold is a fungus, and fungus has levels of growth.
Bleach is not great at killing mold below the surface and that’s the level you need to be worried about! If you use bleach and it looks nice and clean, that’s fine, but the spores that were hiding in that membrane beneath it weren’t removed. Those membranes are actually able to move themselves deeper into the porous item to get away from the chemical. It is a living organism after all.
Guess what that means? Yep, all of your hard work was for nothing and that mold is going to come back with a vengeance! You aren’t going to be very happy about that situation.
Getting rid of mold naturally
So what should you use? Vinegar. Why? Vinegar will penetrate porous surfaces to kill both the mold on top and the membrane beneath to prevent it from coming back again. It will work on solid non-porous surfaces as well making it the all-around best choice for mold removal. Vinegar can be found in just about any grocery store, it’s cheap and it’s effective for getting the job done.
Removing mold from wood with vinegar
You will want to use regular distilled white vinegar. Not apple cider vinegar. You could also use what is called ‘cleaning vinegar’ found in most home improvement stores, it’s simply a bit higher acidity. Either of them will do the job just the same.
You will want to have enough vinegar to cover the area you are working with. The gallon it usually comes in should be more than enough. Make sure that the room you are cleaning is blocked off so that any airborne mold doesn’t escape to another room causing another issue.
Get yourself a spray bottle, gloves, goggles, mask and scrub brush. Almost everything you need can be found at the grocery store. You will put the vinegar in the spray bottle to make sure you are getting everything covered effectively.
Wear the gloves, goggles and a mask to prevent touching or inhaling any mold that might become airborne. This is an important safety step to not forget. Airborne mold can cause a lot of health problems.
- 1 gallon of white vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Cleaning gloves
- Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle
- Spray the moldy areas liberally with the vinegar. Make sure it really soaks in.
- Use a scrub brush to scrub the mold.
- Let the wood completely air dry after the mold has been removed.
- Repeat as necessary.
Make sure you are working in a well ventilated area and wear a mask if needed.
Use a dehumidifier to prevent more from growing
Once your job is complete (phew!), taking some preventative measures might be worth your time so that you aren’t going through this again.
Your top priority for mold prevention is humidity in your home. This is often an issue in basements during warmer months. Mold and mildew are going to thrive in moist environments, so don’t let them!
A dehumidifier will help keep the humidity down and mold from growing.
Another top priority is fixing anywhere that does have a dampness problem. That may mean getting some paint to seal basement walls or having areas of your home fixed professionally if it’s a severe problem.
Last but not least, make sure to get plenty of ventilation in your home. Fresh air and air flow will help prevent things from settling down and keep your house nice and clean.