White mold/mildew on some of my wood furniture

Mia_October 18, 2013

We get hot, humid summers here, and I run my window AC to help combat the indoor heat, but I've, regretfully, never used a dehumidifier in this house. I'm moving in about six months or so, and I don't want to bring any mold/mildew problems with me to my new place. So I need advice as to how to avoid spreading the problem to a new home.

Within this past year, I've noticed white mold/mildew on the unfinished wood on the back sides of two of my dressers in my bedroom. On one dresser, the white stuff grows to about halfway up the back of the dresser. I've had these dressers for many years, and I've never had any issues before this house. Can that white mold make it's way inside the dressers to my clothing? I have no other place to store all that clothing. (I also noticed some orange dots on a few collectibles that are made of paper or cloth).

The white mold/mildew on my two dressers developed after I used a spray insecticide a number of times along the baseboards behind those dressers. So maybe the wet insecticide added to the moisture in the air in humid summers.

I tried to remove the white mold from the wood twice, by using a disposable cloth that contains some bleach and soap, but the white stuff always grows back. I'm not able to take this furniture outside to do a proper removal of the mold.

I won't be taking those two dressers to my new home when I move. Yet I'm so worried that the problem is now spreading to my other furniture, books, sofa, mattress, clothes, etc. Or maybe it has spread, but I can't visually see the mold yet? And I don't want to bring something to my new place that has any mold or spores on it.

So to avoid bringing the problem to a new home, should I discard my mattress, other furniture, books, etc when I move, even if I don't see any mold on these items? What should I do to avoid spreading the problem to a new home?

Not sure if I'm overreacting or not. Thank you very much for any help and advice.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If I didn't see the white stuff on the other pieces I wouldn't worry but to make yourself feel better disinfect them after they leave this home and before they go into the new house. Try not to get too anxious about this, the white stuff may not even be mold and every house has some mold lurking somewhere. Most of it is not harmful. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 2:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You can make up a spray of 5-10% bleach diluted in water in a recycled spray bottle. Spritz on surfaces, wipe off any drips with a cloth and allow to dry. Don't use it on anything you're not sure of, like an antique finish or anything upholstered. But raw wood or modern polyurethane finishes can take it.

Upholstered items can be cleaned with a cleaning machine if necessary.

I wouldn't worry too much about clothes inside a dresser unless you see mold on them or they smell musty.

I've had this too in a humid basement, along with a bit of a musty smell in the summer. We started using a dehumidifier and the problem went away.

Mold spores are everywhere so they can't really be eradicated no matter how hard you try. The goal is to not provide the conditions conducive to growth.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 2:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dryness is key. Mold spores are everywhere all the time, even in your new house. They wont grow and bloom without moisture. So if you live in a humid area think about running a dehumidifier to keep the air dryer and clean up/dry any water leaks or spills immediately.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 10:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

forget the bleach..while is good in hard non porous surfaces..it not so good on porous..

try white vinegar, a borax solution and water( not with the vinegar). just spray and let dry..don't wipe the solution away. these help prevent the mold from growing


    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 8:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The mold is probably living on the finish you have on those pieces, is it a natural finish like tung oil or bees wax? Either way, first thing you can do is WIPE it off, don't spray it, spraying the surface will allow the spoors to spread. (Under a microscope some mold looks similar to a dandelion head when it goes to seed)
As for what to wipe it with, something with a strong Antimicrobial agent is best, an EPA Registered disinfectant would be preferred -but that may hurt the finish.
Once it's gone, to keep it gone keep the humidity in the home bellow 60% and you should be fine.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 9:28AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Getting cat urine smell out of carpet...
What's the best way? Or what's the best thing to make...
The strangest, persistent odour
Hello all. This is a serious mystery. About a month...
shutting off water before vacation ?
I recently saw a bit on DIY Network about preventing...
Dealing with a crazy neighbor
Condensed version: My neighbor aggressively pounds...
Is the snow causing roof damage or any plumbing issue?
My first floor bathroom today have water leaking from...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™