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Furniture Mold Removal and Prevention

This guide is designed to help you clean up mildew or mold that is often discovered growing on the wood, composition / MDF backboard or the underside of  furniture.

Why does mold grow on my wooden furniture?

  1. FoodThe organic wood  and wood fiber materials that the manufacturer left unfinished is their ideal food source. You’ll notice that other laminated sides of furniture doesn’t have this problem.
  2. 2. Warmth. Panama is a tropical country, so warmth that is required is a given.
  3. Oxygen. Unlike plants, mold and other fungi are more like animals in terms of needing oxygen. They need the same air we do, but they go a step further by spreading airborne spores which are a real air pollution hazard.
  4. Water and Moisture. Like us they need water. Again, Panama is a tropical country with high humidity, so you will have problems. This is probably the biggest culprit in mold and mildew problems.
  5. Mold Spores: Mold is  naturally occuring and mold spores are especially prevalent everywhere in a tropical country. Mold spores are found everywhere, and can grow on any organic surface, given the right conditions. To prevent mold growth, keep all surfaces clean and dry, and provide plenty of ventilation.

What do I need to use?

Before you start please make sure you have the following items on hand:

  • Disposable gloves
  • N95 graded mask for dealing with airborne mildew/mold spores
  • Package of disposable anti-bacterial wipes (DO NOT USE BABY WIPES)
  • Garbage bag for the used wipes and gloves
  • Mold control spray (Concrobium Mold Control Spray)
  • Shellac, liquid wax or other water resistant sealer

Notes:

  1. Antibacterial wipes that contain bleach or other chemical to kill the fungus is critical. If you used baby or sanitary wipes you’ll just end up feeding and spreading the fungus with more moisture and food!
  2. Mold Control Spray: You have several choices in mold control spray. We wanted something with low toxicity so we chose Concrobium for its Sodium Carbonate (Soda Wash) and TSP (not listed on ingredients but can be found in their safety data sheet). The Concrobium Mold Control Spray is rated for 3 months and works by putting a “salt” in the backboard material that makes it difficult for the mold or mildew to grow.
  3. Shellac, Polyurethane & Varnishes: I used a polyurethane spray to “seal” the backboard after I was all done and given the number of days it took the smell to dissipate and my wife’s displeasure about having done it indoors, I would have skipped this step or gone with liquid wax.

The process to use for removing the existing mold

  1. Wear your 3M N-95 mask. Mold spores can cause serious allergic reactions, coughing and inflammation in your lungs.
  2. Wear your disposable gloves. Be sure to avoid touching the mold or mildew to minimize the chance of it spreading. Be sure to use a wipe to clean the gloves if you do directly touch it.
  3. Take the disinfectant wipe and systematically wipe down the surface. Take great care to not smear the mildew or mold into areas that are not affected. Fold the wipe to give a clean surface for each wiping stroke.
  4. Dispose of each wipe in the plastic garbage bag.
  5. Be sure to use a new wipe when cleaning unaffected areas.
  6. Be sure to wipe the entire backboard, even the spots where you do not see the Mildew or Mold. We are trying to kill any spores that may already be there.
  7. Be sure to use disinfectant wipes and not a wet rag. We want to avoid adding more moisture than necessary.
  8. When you are done completely wiping the backboard surface or the moldy furniture, you should throw your gloves into the plastic garbage bag full of dirty wipes and then tie the bag closed and take it outside to dispose of in the trash.
  9. Use the Concrobium spray to treat the backboard or other wooden surfaces by spraying evenly.
  10. Wait for the treated area fully dry. You can use a hair blow dryer or air conditioner or put into a sunny area to speed up this process. THIS IS A CRITICAL STEP, as the Concrobium will crush the existing mold spores at the roots as it dries.

When dry you can put the furniture back into use.
You may need to reapply the mildew mold control spray again in 3 months if your still have a moisture problem.

Other Steps to Help Prevent the Mold from Returning? Seal the Wood

We suggest a good process is to seal any wood, particle board, MDF or fiberboard to prevent the wood product from continuing to absorb moisture and to take away the food source (the wood products) from mold spores.

Use a good grade water based sealer such as Lanco Acry-Seal which is available at Novey and other hardware stores in Panama. Apply the first coat with a liberal application of the product, especially on fiberboard, particle board and MDF. These types of manufactured wood products will absorb a lot of sealer.

Let the first coat dry well, and then apply a second layer of sealer.

After the sealer has dried well, a light spray of Concrobium will also help reduce the chance that mold will return.

 

Need more help or advice on mold control or health issues related to mold? Call us (+507 6956-1130) or send us a message today.

 

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