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Clean, Dry, Repair and Disinfect Furniture
By Jim Brown
After being damaged by water, furniture will often grow mold if not treated and dried within 24 hours. In many cases, if treated immediately, chances are that restoration is possible and you will not have to discard the item.
The type of furniture has a lot to do with the option to restore it and remove any mold that grows on it. For example: solid wood surfaces may be treated so mold can be removed without damaging the item too much. With items that support mold growth, it is usually not cost effective to try and remove the mold.
Hire a Restoration Professional
Hiring a restoration professional will assist you in making the right decisions regarding what can and should be restored cost effectively. For example: with antiques or furniture of great value, the cost of treatment is usually justified. In these cases, a furniture restoration professional should be consulted.
In addition, with a restoration company on your side, you will benefit the extended knowledge, experience, and equipment. These factors may contribute a lot to the success of the restoration process while keeping it as cost effective as possible.
Removing Mold from Furniture
If the environmental conditions are controlled and humidity levels are lowered, furniture can be treated onsite. If conditions do not allow it, you can improve conditions in one room and set it as a treatment room or you can move your furniture to an offsite location.
Hard Surface Furniture
To remove mold from hard surface furniture such as tables, desks, and bookcases, start with wiping with a clean cloth with alcohol. Test the bottom or back first if concerned regarding the finish. To remove any remaining discolored areas, simply sand off the spots.
To restore the finish and to prevent future damage, apply a clear coat finish after mold is completely removed. This will further protect the wood by sealing the wood to moisture, which will inhibit mold growth as well as keep any residual spores from becoming airborne.
Porous furniture is usually upholstered furniture. To remove mold spots brush with a broom to remove loose mold from the outer covering. It is recommended to perform this task outdoors if possible, so you won't spread mold spores indoors.
To remove additional mold, vacuum the surface to draw out mold. If mold remains and fabric is washable, sponge lightly with a thick soap or detergent suds and wipe with a clean, damp cloth.
For the remaining mold, wipe the piece with a damp cloth dipped in diluted alcohol (one cup denatured alcohol to one cup water) or a chlorine bleach solution (1/4 teaspoon bleach to a cup of water). Be sure to test in a hidden area of the furniture before applying this technique.