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How do you Remove mold from wood floors? [Surface and Ingrained]

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When you notice mildew on your wood flooring, you must act quickly. Although the procedure is quite straightforward, it does require some basic knowledge to get through. 

So what is the best way to get mold off of wood floors?

It depends on whether you’re dealing with surface or embedded mold. With the help of a cleaning solution, you can typically get rid of the former. However, extra actions such as drying, sanding, cutting, or replacing the damaged portion are required for the latter type.

How to Remove Mold from Wood floors

In this post, I’ll show you how to remove both kinds of mold from wood floors, and share the best cleaning solutions and preventive measures you can take to keep your flooring in good condition.

What Causes Mold on Hardwood Floors

There are several reasons why it might appear on your wood floors. The most common one is high humidity, which creates an ideal environment for mold spores to grow.

Another possible cause is water damage. If there’s been a recent leak or flood in your home, that could lead to the growth of mildew on your floors.

Furthermore, dirty floors provide a perfect breeding ground for mold. If you don’t clean your floors regularly, or if you use the wrong cleaning products, that could lead to the development of mildew.

Removing mold from wood floors

Mold is a common issue, especially among first-time homeowners. Buildings are constructed at a rapid pace and are airtight today. Moisture does not have enough time to dry and evaporate. Hence, mold usually develops when moisture cannot escape.

There is no doubt that the sight of mold is not a pleasant experience, and on the top of if it is not handled quickly, it could result in a slew of allergic reactions.

It can develop both on the surface of the wood as well as penetrate deep into the grain. The best way to remove mold will depend on how deep it is. If it is only in a small area, you may remove it yourself: it will save you spending hundreds of dollars.

However, if the situation is serious, for example, if the mold is covering a wide section of the hardwood floors, I recommend contacting professionals. They’ll bring all of the necessary high-tech tools required to remove it from your home.

How to Remove White Mold From Wood

It usually appears on the surface. If you have white mold on your wood floors, the first thing you need to do is identify the source of the moisture. If it’s coming from a leaky pipe or an appliance, you’ll need to fix that problem first. Otherwise, it will just keep coming back.

To clean the surface you can use either of the mentioned solutions:

  • Distilled Vinegar + Dish Soap + Water
  • Cleaning Sprays (keep reading for the detailed reviews of the best products)

First wear safety gear like gloves, goggles and a mask. Then spray the solution on the affected area and let it sit for around 30 mins. Finally, wipe it with a damp cloth and let it dry.

How to Clean Black Mold From Wood

It is more dangerous and usually indicates water damage. Black mold can penetrate deep into the wood and cause irreparable damage.

The first thing you need to do is find the source of the moisture and fix it. Then, using a stiff brush, scrub the area with one of the following solutions:

  • Baking Soda Paste
  • Hydrogen Peroxide + Water
  • Vinegar + Water
  • Cleaning Solutions (Mold Armor, Chlorine Bleach)

Let the solution sit for about half an hour. Then wipe off with a damp cloth.

Best Way to Treat Mold on Wood

Before we move to the step-by-step procedure, let’s first take a quick look at the best cleaning solutions you can use to remove the mold.

1. Mold Armor 

Home Armor; Mold Armor Instant Mold & Mildew Stain Remover, 32 oz - Pack of 2

Mold Armor instant mold and mildew killer is a beast. Let’s face it: you need to get rid of all the mold on your wood floor right away. You can refinish the surface if it becomes lighter as a result of the harsh chemicals, but at the very least you have eliminated it. Worst case scenario: mold infiltrating your floorboards and getting embedded. Hence, causing permanent damage.

Pros 

  • Removes stubborn mold stains – 2x stronger than other brands
  • No scrubbing required – just spray, let it sit and wipe
  • Can be used on multiple surfaces including wood floors
  • Leaves no residue

Cons 

  • Contains bleach – you may need to refinish the wood surface once done
Check Price

Is Mold Armor Just Bleach? 

There answer to this question is both yes and no. Mold Armor does contain bleach, but it is not just bleach. The main ingredient in Mold Armor is sodium hypochlorite, which is also found in household bleach.

However, the concentration of sodium hypochlorite in Mold Armor is much higher than in regular bleach. This is what gives Mold Armor its powerful mold and mildew fighting capabilities.

Can I Use Mold Armor on Wood? 

Yes, you can use it on wood flooring. Just scroll down the amazon product reviews of previous customers of Mold Armor who used it on wood and you’ll be amazed by the results. In addition, this spray can also be used on other surfaces such as tile, grout, concrete, and vinyl.

2. Concrobium 25326 

Concrobium 25326 Mold Control Spray, 32 oz

Concrobium cleaner is the most natural and effective product I’ve found to deal with surface mold. Even though it isn’t as strong as Mold Armor, it is free of harsh chemicals and bleach and gets the job done fairly. It works by creating an invisible barrier on the surface that mold cannot penetrate.

Pros 

  • Free from harsh chemicals – an EPA approved formula
  • Easy to use – no scrubbing or rinsing required
  • Kills mold spores, removes bad odor, and protects against mold regrowth.
  • Odorless – ideal for scent sensitive people
  • Perfect solution for removing low to medium mildew
  • Suitable for larger areas – can clean around 100 sq. feet with just one bottle

Cons 

  • May not remove bold mold stains completely
Check Price

3. Chlorine Bleach 

Clorox HE Performance Bleach, 121 Oz. (Pack of 1)

If you’re looking for a cheap and quick solution to get rid of mold on your wood floors, then chlorine bleach is the way to go. It is the strongest concentrated bleach you can use to remove mold and mildew. However, it can also damage the wood if not used properly.

You can mix it with water at a 10:1 ratio, use a sprayer and apply it to the affected areas. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then scrub with a brush. Finally, wipe with a damp cloth and let it dry completely.

NOTE: Make sure to open all the windows and doors for ventilation

Pros 

  • The strongest bleach formula compared to bleach found in local stores
  • Affordable – can be diluted with water and used on large areas effortlessly
  • Household necessity – can work on multiple surfaces such as fabric, wood, tile
  • Effective in removing black mold stains

Cons 

  • May lead to discolorization on wood if used inappropriately
  • Contains harsh chemicals
Check Price

How to Remove Surface Mold From Wood Floors

Surface mold affects the top layer of a wooden floor, as the name implies. Furthermore, if there is a carpet, it will nearly certainly stain. This mold is rather easy to get rid of.

Things You’ll Need:

  • N-95 Mask
  • Gloves
  • Safety Glasses
  • Cleaning Solution (any of the mentioned below)
  • 100 & 220 grit sandpaper
  • Clean Rag
  • Sprayer bottle

When you gather all needed items, simply follow the steps indicated below:

  1. Protect Yourself  – The first thing you need to do is protect yourself. This means wearing gloves, a mask, and eye protection. The above-mentioned solutions especially the chlorine bleach contain harsh chemicals and you don’t want it coming into contact with your skin or eyes.
  2. Scrub the Mold  – After letting the solution sit, it’s time to scrub. Use a brush or sponge to scour the moldy areas. Be sure to scrub thoroughly so that you can remove as much of the mold as possible.
  3. Wipe It Away – Next, take a damp cloth and wipe away the mold. If there are any stubborn areas, you can use a toothbrush to get rid of them.
  4. Dry and Ventilate – After cleaning mold, it is important to dry the area completely. This can be done with a clean towel or a hairdryer on the lowest setting. Once the area is dry, open up all the windows and doors to ventilate the room.
TIP: Use a box fan to help circulate the air and speed up the drying process.

How to Remove Mold Stain From Wood 

Cleaning off mold will often leave stains behind. To remove them you can use a solution of distilled vinegar and water. Mix them in a 1:1 ratio and apply the solution to the stains with a clean cloth. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then wipe it away with a damp cloth.

If the stains are stubborn, you can try scrubbing them with a soft-bristled brush. Just be careful not to damage the finish on your floors.

Can I Sand Mold off of Wood 

Yes, you can sand mold off of wood. However, you should prepare the wood before sanding such as:

  • First, use a cleaning solution to kill off the mold and clean with a rag. (This will prevent mold spores from spreading in the air)
  • Dry out the wood completely

Once you’re done with the above-mentioned steps, use 100 and 220grit sandpapers.

NOTE: Sanding will damage the finish of your wood floor. You'll need to refinish it after you're done.

Can You Use Bleach on Wood Floors 

Yes, you can use bleach on wood floors. However, you should use a diluted solution of bleach and water. You can combine 1 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water.

Spray and let it sit for 10-20 minutes, then wipe away with a damp cloth. You may need to do this several times to remove it all especially black mold.

NOTE: Bleach isn't effective in killing the mold spores. Plus, it will discolor the wood surface.

Alternative Methods for Cleaning Surface Mold

Below are a few more DIY solutions you can use to clean mildew:

1- 3% Hydrogen Peroxide 

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural mold killer. Fill a spray container halfway with 3% hydrogen peroxide. You can use it to clean your floors the same way you would with other cleaners.

NOTE: Do not mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar as it will create a corrosive substance known as peracetic acid that will harm your wood floors.

2. Tea Tree Oil 

Tea tree oil can also be used as a natural cleaning solution. A spray bottle and distilled water are required, as with most cleansers. 

Take 1 cup of water + 1 teaspoon of tree tea oil, mix the solution in a spray bottle and it is ready to use.

3. Borax With Water 

Borax is a natural cleaning product because of its antimicrobial properties. It can also be quite effective in killing mold spores.

Mix 1 cup of borax with 1 cup of water and stir until the borax is dissolved. Then, apply the solution to the affected areas with a brush or sponge.

How to Remove Ingrained Mold From Wood Floors

Ingrained mold penetrates the wood and causes much more significant, harder, and expensive to remove damage. Often, a professional is required to remove this type of mold.

Sometimes the mold penetrates so deep into the wood that it becomes impossible to restore the wood. In this case, the best you can do is cut and replace the damaged part to stop mold from further spreading to the remaining areas.

When dealing with the embedded mold, follow the below steps:

1. Testing Depth

The first step in eliminating ingrained mold is to evaluate the afflicted area because you may not know how deep the mold has infiltrated into the wood.

Take a sharp tool such as a screwdriver and press it into the affected area. If the instrument penetrates the wood deeply and the wood feels mushy, the problem is more complicated.

2. Dry your Wood Floors

Mold spreads when there is moisture present, therefore you must eliminate it before moving on.

To do this:

  • Bring a drying fan or fans and direct them toward the infected area.
  • Wear a mask when you are in the space where mold is present.
  • Turn your fans on and keep them on for several hours.
  • Keep all of the windows open and put a box fan, turn it on and face it to the outside of a window. It will keep throwing mold-infected air outside of your house.

3. Remove Upper Layer

Use 100 grit sandpaper to scrub the mold. Once done, again use 220 grit sandpaper to smooth and even out the surface. Alternatively, you can also you a metal hand scraper if you don’t feel comfortable with sandpaper.

TIP: Sand the affected area in a circular motion or towards the grain. It will make sure that you don't create any uneven surfaces.

4. Spray Cleaner

Even though sandpaper did help in cleaning the mold off. There will still be some spores left behind, which if not removed will lead to mold regrowth.

To fix it, simply spray any of the above-mentioned cleaning solutions such as Mold Armor and let it sit for a few mins. Then clean the surface with a damp cloth.

5. Cut Out Damaged Wood

If you suspect that some part of the wood is irreparable, cut it off, buy and replacement from your nearest store and put it together.

6. Clean & Vacuum

Clean the area with the help of a vacuum. It will remove all the dust particles, which if not removed can spread mold spores in the air and cause new mold growth.

NOTE: Make sure to use heavy-duty trash bags to dispose of the infected wood and other cleaning materials.

7. Restore Wood Color

Finally, it is time to make your floor look new again. Usually, the infected mold will leave stains, to conceal them you will need to refinish your wood floors.

TIP: Use a lighter shade of finish than the already existing one to make the stains less visible.

How to Prevent Mold in your home?

if you’re a homeowner who is already struggling with mold or wants to avoid it completely. Let’s go through the six most efficient ways to ensure mold never becomes an issue for you or your family.

1. Understand Where Mold Loves to Grow

Mold, as you may know, thrives in wet environments. It may grow in any climate with a humidity level of more than 55%. Homes close to water or in humid climates are especially vulnerable.

The main sources of moisture are:

  • Clothes that have been left wet around the house
  • Humidifier
  • Condensation – forms on hard surfaces such as windows, pipes, and cold temperatures

2. Do a Mold Check-In High-Risk Places

Perform a quarterly mold inspection in high-risk areas of your house. The most vulnerable locations usually include:

  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen- especially inside cabinets
  • Basement
  • Within your confines
  • Under carpet

In addition, mold can grow on a variety of materials including drywall, ceiling tiles, and upholstery.

3. Ventilate Your Home

Many heating and cooling systems in your home do not ventilate the air. They’re made to recycle the air, keeping hazardous mold-infested air within.

Generally, most new homes are required to have ventilation technology, which filters out mold spores and brings clean air into your home.

TIP: Consider investing in an HRV ventilation system if you don't already have one; it's not that expensive and well worth the money.

4. Remove Carpeting

One of the most important ways to prevent mold growth in your home is by removing any carpeting. Carpets are a breeding ground for mold and other bacteria because they’re often made of natural materials that absorb water.

NOTE: Any carpet that has been wet for longer than 24 hours should be disposed of.

5. Use Dehumidifiers

A dehumidifier is an excellent way to keep your home’s humidity levels in check. By reducing the amount of moisture in the air, you’re creating an environment that’s not conducive to mold growth.

It operates by sucking moisture from the air and dumping it in a bucket. Humidifiers are also available in several sizes and price ranges. Make sure, however, that the unit you buy is the proper size for your space.

6. Clean And Disinfect Any Mold Immediately 

If you do find mold in your home, it’s important to clean and disinfect the area immediately. The longer you wait, the more it will spread.

Prevention is always better than cure. By following these simple tips, you can avoid the headache and expense of mold removal.

Related Questions

Can Mold Grow Under Hardwood Floors?

While mold can grow under hardwood floors, it’s not common. Mold needs a source of moisture to grow, so unless there’s a water leak or other problem that’s causing moisture to accumulate, you’re unlikely to have mold growth.

How to Draw Moisture Out of Wood Floors?

Drawing moisture out of the wood floors is easy, however, it may be a little time taking procedure. You can use dehumidifiers, place fans, open windows and let the fresh air and light come in or remove the wet carpet.

Is Mold on Hardwood Floors Dangerous?

It is dependent on the mold type. Black mold, for example, is hazardous because it can cause allergies, itchy eyes, headaches, and respiratory issues. Small mold on hardwood floors isn’t often dangerous, but it can be unsightly and can lead to severe wood damage if not addressed promptly.

How to Tell if There Is Mold Under Wood Floor?

If you see black, green, or brown spots on your wood floor, mold is likely to be present. Another sign of mold is a musty smell. Similarly, warping or cupping of the wood may also indicate that mold is present.

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