Mold on Wood
Removing mold and mildew from wood cabinets, wood paneling and wood furniture should be treated on a “type of wood” basis. Wood is especially susceptible to mold growth as it is an organic material. Molds main function is to breakdown organic material (think of fungi or mushrooms growing on wet leaves or fallen logs).
The more porous or softer the wood, the greater the chance that mold will infect deeper into the wood. Furniture, wood paneling or cabinets that have a shellac, paint or finish will certainly add an extra barrier, but don’t be fooled. Mold left on long enough can eat its way through pretty much everything. A good example of different types of wood would be to consider particle board. This is extremely porous and if mold is found on this type of surface you should probably remove it immediately, mold will most likely have made it through the surface.
To remove mold and mildew from wood you first need to remove the lose spores. Mold spreads via these spores and once airborne will travel. You don’t want them to lift off one surface and land on another. If you clean your troubled area outside that is great. The best procedure is to first vacuum off lose spores with a vacuum fitted with a HEPA filter. Dispose of the contents immediately. If the area affected with mold is smaller, you can use a dampened cloth but make sure you clean from the outside in so a not to unsettle the spores.
The next step will be to test the wood surface. Find a small inconspicuous spot and apply mold cleaner. You want to make sure that you don’t harm the surface. This is where products like bleach just won’t work. Cleaning mold and mildew on wood will depend on the type of surface and the amount of mold. If the mold is just on the surface, using a surface cleaner and a little elbow grease will probably be sufficient. Make sure that the mold is removed completely and they dry the surface immediately. Use a fan or direct sunlight. Once dry, it is recommended that you use a mold inhibitor. Again, apply this to the surface and allow drying completely. Once dried, you can repaint, varnish or shellac if desired. For wood surfaces that are more porous, lightly sanding the surface might be required. Use the finest sand paper to begin, sanding lightly to remove the mold that has grown deeper into the wood. Next, treat with the proper cleaner, allow to dry completely, treat with mold inhibitor and again dry completely before refinishing.