How to Prevent Mold on Wood (A Quick Guide)

If you find mold on your furniture or any other wooden item, it is a bothersome situation. It infiltrates silently, and if moisture is present, it assaults the wood, causing it to deteriorate slowly and is dangerous for people. Of course, you don’t want it to come to that, so you want to know how to prevent mold on wood?

By providing adequate ventilation and preserving the lowest possible levels of humidity, you may avoid mold growth on wood. Other considerations for protecting the wood include using the proper sort of wood and using the best finisher.

If wood mold is found, getting it out of wood might be difficult if you don’t know how to go about it. In addition to learning how to prevent mold on wood, you will also learn how to identify mold on wood and how to deal with the issue if it already exists in this article. Are you attached to the wooden object? Then you should read this essay in its full without a doubt.

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What is mold?

Mold on wood is, in essence, a form of fungus. Fungi are little, multi-species organisms that can be black, white, orange, green, or any other color. Both indoors and outside can have fungi.

How to Prevent Mold on Wood - Black mold
How to Prevent Mold on Wood – Black mold

Fungi are identified by their hyphae or mycelium and do best in damp environments. Fungi can occasionally develop fruiting bodies called mushrooms. These function to produce spores that are easily dispersed through the air by the wind.

How to Prevent Mold on Wood - white mold
How to Prevent Mold on Woodwhite mold

Wood mold is in fact a scavenger of dead wood in nature. The fungus will use the wood as a breeding ground and gradually make it disappear. However, the wood that we as woodworkers use to make furniture or other items is also ‘dead’ wood. Mold can, if the conditions are right (damp), affect that wood, and we don’t want that.

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What does mold on wood look like?

Earlier I already described the mushroom, and many do not know that this is the fruiting body of a fungus. These two are often viewed as two different things. And yet this is the same: a fungus. However, the mushroom is only visible for a limited part of the year, or in some cases, the fungus does not even produce any fruiting bodies at all.

How to Prevent Mold on Wood - Close up
How to Prevent Mold on Wood – Close up

The fungus itself is there all year round, sometimes visible, but in many cases also invisible under the ground or inside the wood. But if you are dealing with fungus, how do you recognize fungus, in addition to the short period that the mushrooms are visible.

Mold on wood looks like a network of fine fluffy white, black, or green threads that branch and spread themselves over and into the wood.
Sometimes these hyphae, also called mycelium, are thick, but there are even some fungi that are not visible to the naked eye.

What does mold on wood smell like?

The smell of wood mold is very typical and once you’ve smelled it, you’ll quickly recognize mold again.

The smell of mold can be described as musty and earthy. You can compare the smell with the smell of rotting wood, because mold is already present.

The musty smell of wood mold, which is a result of the hodgepodge of mVOCs produced by the mold and released into the air, is usually quite unpleasant and intensifies over time as the mold begins to spread.

Is mold on wood furniture dangerous?

Yes, of course. Besides being unsightly and the wood will gradually rot, mold on wooden furniture can also be dangerous for you and your family members. Fungi can be divided into allergenic fungal type and pathogenic fungal types.

Can mold on wood make you sick?

The musty smell that the allergenic mold kind emits makes people cough and makes their allergy or asthmatic problems worse. Other side effects that affect your airways include skin rashes, lightheadedness, and breathing difficulties. Other negative health effects brought on by fungi include hay fever, nasal congestion, and itchy eyes.

Your family members may become seriously ill as a result of the pathogenic type of fungus on your wood furniture, especially if they have weakened immune systems. They may experience nail issues, athlete’s foot, organ infections, and skin irritation.

If the mold on your wooden furniture contains toxic substances, you need to be extra careful. Due to mycotoxin substances, it can cause serious damage.

Exposure to these substances occurs through inhalation, contact or ingestion. Some deadly diseases it can cause include cancer, liver damage, hormonal disorders, and nervous system disorders.

What does mold do to wood?

Mold will settle in or on the wood and use it as a breeding ground to grow on.
This will cause the wood to rot, soften and pulverize or disappear.

How to Prevent Mold on Wood - Rotten wood
How to Prevent Mold on Wood – Rotten wood

In addition to the musty smell and the spores that are released and that can make people sick, this also creates the effect that fine dust will be released during pulverization. It is therefore very important to know how to prevent mold on wood, so that mold does not stand a chance.

How to prevent mold on wood?

Now that you already know that mold thrives best in moist environments, the logical next step is to know how to avoid mold on wood to ensure you have a dry environment. You can do this by opening windows for air circulation and using dehumidifiers or fans.

Keep not only the moisture content in the room as low as possible but also the moisture content of the wood. If your wood is wet, let it air dry or in the kiln. This dries out the wood and makes it mold-resistant. To know how to dry wood quickly and effectively, I recommend reading my article, 4 correct ways to dry lumber fast. You will find many useful tips there.

Another great tip for keeping wood clean, dry, and mold-free is to seal the wood. You can treat the wood with mold prevention spray, which reduces moisture absorption, but you can also apply a good finisher to reduce the chance of future mold problems.

Finishers come in a variety of forms, which I will go into in more detail in my article. If you don’t know the difference between varnish, oil, wax, and all the other options, then my blog, 4 Types Of Wood Finishes. What To Use When And How? is the one you should definitely read. In no time, you will know exactly what you need.

Another good tip is not to use wood in damp rooms, such as a cellar. Basements have notoriously high humidity and flood risk. So think before you start building something with wood. If the conditions are not optimal, switch to a material other than wood to avoid issues.

You may have heard of the bleach technique on how to prevent mold on wood, but is it bad to use bleach on mold?
Well the answer here is both no and yes. To prevent mold on the wood, bleach isn’t bad, but you do need to make sure you’re going to thin it out.

On the other hand, bleach is not a good idea. The bleach will stain the wood because the chlorine present will not penetrate the wood. In addition, bleach is also unhealthy in contact with people.

The species you will be utilizing is another factor to think about if you want to prevent mold on wood.
The hardness and durability of each type of wood can affect whether or not it is vulnerable to a fungus assault.

You may find out more about the Janka hardness and durability of wood by clicking on the link, and you can decide which kind of wood is the best option for your project.

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How to Treat Moldy Wood?

You can remove mold in several ways. However, I believe to treat moldy wood that common sense should be applied in this situation.

It is suggested to discard the wood if the fungus infestation is exceedingly bad. In general, you can assume that you can get rid of a mold infestation on your own if it is less than 1 square meter in size (approximately 10 square feet). You may accomplish this using cheap cleaning supplies from the grocery store.

Treatment for a fungal infection must start right away. The likelihood that the fungus may spread and endanger your health increases the longer you wait. Start cleaning wood with these step by step instructions and using one of the five techniques listed below.

Step 1: Wear protective clothing

Some agents can be irritating or corrosive, so it’s important to protect yourself when dealing with mold as it can be dangerous if inhaled or ingested.

While cleaning, be sure to wear safety goggles, a face mask that covers your nose and mouth, and rubber gloves.

Step 2: Vacuum the area

Gather any loose mold spores on or near the wood’s damaged area using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Vacuum the space completely, then empty its contents outdoors.
Make sure the vacuumed item is completely enclosed in a plastic bag to prevent any residues from evaporating.

Step 3: Remove or kill the mold

If the fungus has not penetrated deep into the wood, you can probably kill it. But, how do you kill mold on wood? Well, that’s easier than you might think. There are several options that I give you below. You can view which products you have available at home and get started almost immediately.

Distilled White Vinegar:

In a spray sprayer, combine equal parts vinegar and warm water. Spray the region that needs treatment, then let it sit for an hour. Use a damp cloth to clean, then a dry one.

Warm water and dish soap:

Pour about a teaspoon of warm water and dish soap into a spray bottle, then shake to blend. After applying a spray, gently scrub the afflicted area. Utilize a towel to dry completely.

Detergent and diluted bleach:

Clean unfinished wood with dish soap, diluted bleach, and 20 parts warm water if mold has infiltrated the material. Apply the solution with a gentle brush and scrub the afflicted area well. The solution should air dry.


Use borax as a safe substitute for bleach on stained or painted wood. Mix a cup of water and a tablespoon of borax. Use a gentle brush to apply to the afflicted region. Rub the mold off, but keep the wood covered in the borax solution. To hasten the drying process, direct a fan at the treated surface.


After attempting the aforementioned methods, remove any leftover mold with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum the affected area to get rid of stray mold spores and debris. If necessary, paint the wood again.

step 4: clean up the wood

After using one of the above methods, it is recommended to clean the wood. You can do this with just lukewarm water or a furniture cleaner.
After cleaning, it is best to apply a finisher such as wax or oil to prevent new mold spores from settling again.

5 Useful tips if you want to remove mold from wood

  • Throw it away if you’re unsure or if there’s too much mold.
  • Solid wood is easier to clean of mold than porous surfaces like particle boards.
  • To ensure that no mold spores remain, don’t forget to clean EVERY piece of wood that was close to the mold.
  • After the initial cleaning, return to check for any indications of new growth.
  • If you’ve cleaned the surface well and the mold still appears to be returning, the furniture needs to be thrown out because it’s likely that the mold has penetrated deep into the wood.

How do you get mold stains out of wood?

Black areas may occasionally remain after mold clearance. Because of how deeply they have ingrained themselves in the wood, these stains are the most difficult to remove. Fortunately, certain black water stains on wood can be removed. Even better, it’s a product that’s advantageous to the environment and safe to use.

Dark stains on wood can be easily removed using oxalic acid. Rhubarb contains the naturally occurring chemical oxalic acid, as do many other plants. Chocolate, almonds, berries, and beans are among additional foods that contain oxalic acid in substantial quantities. Despite the fact that it is a chemical that can be safely used, wearing protection gear is recommended (gloves, goggles).

Black stains can be removed by soaking a clean cloth in oxalic acid and applying it to the spot.
After then, let the oxalic acid do its job for roughly an hour.
If the stain hasn’t completely disappeared by the time you remove the towel, you can continue this step, brushing the stain as you go.
After the stain has removed, wipe the area where it was with hot water and a dry cloth.

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I hope this information on how to prevent mold on wood was helpful, and that this blog inspires you. If you love woodworking, pleas check my YouTube channel and see how I build my workshop

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