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Removing Black Mould in Wood: A Job for the Professionals or Do-it-Yourselfers?

Adriana Aziz
February 9, 2023
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how to remove black mould from wood custom graphic

The last thing you want to find in your home is black mould! Not because it is unsightly to look at (even though that’s a good reason, too), but because it poses a threat to one’s health. Known to affect the respiratory system and trigger allergies, black mould is a dangerous fungus to have in close proximity.

So, if you suspect that wooden elements in your home have fallen prey to black mould, it is important to act swiftly, but not hastily. There is a safe way to clean mould in wood that involves the use of appropriate cleaning products and techniques. If you’re wondering what this method is, keep reading to find out!

How to Identify Black Mould

a slab of timber that is infested with black mould

Before you attempt to clean any type of fungus in your home, it must be identified first. This ensures that appropriate measures are taken to remove it, and that the surface does not suffer any damage in the process. In order to determine whether you are dealing with mildew or black mould, it helps to know what these two fungal growths look like. The former has a powdery texture and is greyish during its initial stages of development; however, as time passes, the colour darkens and appears black/brown. 

Black mould, on the other hand, can sometimes have a greenish colour, but in most cases, it is dark and black in appearance. As a colony, black mould has a furry/fuzzy texture, and the individual spores are circular in shape. Keep in mind that black mould may also look slimy if it has developed on damp wood or a wet surface. The fungus thrives in damp and humid environments which is why it is crucial to clean your house regularly, and maintain maximum ventilation in all rooms. 

What You’ll Need to Clean Black Mould Off Wood

assorted cleaning equipment and utensils used for removing black mould in wood on a white background

Having the right tools and materials is crucial for successfully cleaning mould in wood. Considering the fact that you are dealing with toxic black mould, you want to make sure that you get the job done safely and efficiently. 

Here is what you will need for the removal process:

  • Full-length clothing
  • Face mask
  • Protective goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • HEPA vacuum cleaner
  • Sponge/soft scrubber
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Soft cleaning brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Wood cleansing product

When you have all the protective gear, tools, and products at hand, you will be ready to begin the process of removing black mould from wooden surfaces in or around your home.

Step-by-Step Guide to Clean Black Mould in Wood

person using chemical spray to remove black mould from wooden table

Learning how to clean black mould from wood is not very challenging. That said, it is critically important to use a tried and tested cleaning method as opposed to one that is used for general wood cleaning purposes. Fortunately, MaidForYou has got all the information you need, right here!

To learn how to clean mould on wood at home, follow the instructions below.

Step One: Gear Up to Protect Your Skin and Eyes

Along with black mould, chlorine bleach is not something you want to touch directly, or expose your skin and eyes to. The fumes can be dangerous to inhale while the liquid itself can leave stubborn stains on fabrics. Consider wearing old, full-length clothing when handling the product, and be sure to put on the protective eyewear, face mask, and rubber gloves before you begin. 

If the wooden object in question can be moved, experts recommend carrying it outside and cleaning off the black mould outdoors. On the other hand, if you are working in an indoor space, ensure that the room is well-ventilated. Regardless of whether you are carrying out the process inside or outside your house, it is advisable to lay down tarp or plastic sheets to catch bleach drips and splatters.

Step Two: Vacuum the Mould Spores

Using a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filtration, carefully vacuum over the mould-infested area. Start from the top-most area and work your way down with slow movements. The goal is to remove as much of the black fuzzy colony without unsettling it. If you work hastily, you run the risk of dispersing mould spores into the air, thereby spreading the fungus to other surfaces. While they may not survive on another surface or area where the environment is not favourable, you wouldn’t want to have any traces of black mould in your home.

After you have vacuumed the wood thoroughly, be sure to dispose of the mould spores safely by trapping the debris in a garbage bag, and sealing it before throwing it in the dustbin.

Step Three: Clean with Dish Soap

NOTE: This step is recommended for sealed/finished/painted wood

For thorough removal of black mould in wood, it’s important to wash the surface with soap and water. For this, you will need to mix 1-2 teaspoons of dishwashing liquid in about 4 cups of water. Do this in a basin or plastic container that is specifically used for cleaning purposes. At this stage, you will need a soft-bristled brush, as well as a dry sponge or soft microfibre cloth. Begin by dipping the brush in the cleaning solution and shaking off excess liquid; you want to avoid soaking the wood when cleaning with soap and water. Gently scrub the affected area and blot it with the sponge/cloth to absorb moisture between scrubs. 

Step Four: Spray With Vinegar

NOTE: If there is a mould stain left on the wood, skip to the next step

Distilled white vinegar is an effective black mould killer when used at full-strength. It will not, however, remove darkening or stains on the wood. To kill mould spores with white vinegar, simply transfer some amount of the ingredient to a spray bottle, and spritz the affected area. Again, do this mindfully to avoid saturating the wood. There is no need to scrub or clean the area; instead, allow the vinegar to sit and dry on the wood for up to an hour or so. 

Step Five: Remove Stains With Chlorine Bleach

For large colonies of black mould that have left a mark on the wood, chlorine bleach is your best shot at getting rid of the stains, and killing the spores at the same time. Of course, it should not be used alone or undiluted as the raw chemical can damage wood. To remove black mould stains in wood, combine half cup chlorine bleach, 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid, and 1 cup warm water; once properly mixed, apply it to the wood using the cleaning brush, and leave it to dry on the surface. Complete this step using a damp, soft cloth to wipe over the area so that the bleach and soap is rinsed off.

Note: If the wood looks dull or lifeless after it has dried completely, use a wood cleansing product to give it a revitalised appearance. 

While dealing with black mould can be unsettling for some (especially large colonies), it is fairly easy to follow the step-by-step instructions above, and get rid of the toxic fungus completely. As an alternative to DIY removal of black mould in wood, you can opt to hire a professional cleaner or cleaning service that can do the needful for you. The good news is that you now have all the information you need to determine whether it is a job for the professionals, or one that you can take on yourself!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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