Found moldy furniture in your South Jersey home? Not quite sure how things got so moldy? Let’s take a closer look at mold in general — what causes it, how to prevent it and how to deal with it.
What Causes Moldy Furniture?
Mold is caused by moisture. Whether it is water from a leak or moisture from humidity, once your furniture is exposed to moisture, mold can develop and spread.
The more obvious cause of mold on furniture is water damage from a leak, flood or other water intrusion. If water damaged contents and furniture are not properly dried out (if effective dry out is even possible) and cleaned, the residual moisture locked in the porous fibers will eventually allow mold to development. Wet furniture (that stays wet) gets moldy, plain and simple. If you have mold on your stuff following a water incident, it is pretty easy to track the causation and figure out why everything is moldy.
The less obvious culprit behind moldy contents is a combination of high humidity and poor air circulation. In most cases, mold on contents and belongings is the result of excess indoor humidity, insufficient air flow, poor ventilation and/or condensation at exterior walls. A combination of these conditions can allow moisture buildup over time and leave your furniture vulnerable to mold contamination.
We often see mold on furniture…
- that is stored in a basement, attic or other storage area with little to no air circulation.
- that is placed up against a wall, restricting all air flow between the wall and the furniture.
- that is placed in a space that suffers from high humidity, exposing the porous contents to warm, moisture air.
- that is stored in an already humid and moldy environment that can cross-contaminate to the furniture.
While moldy furniture is concerning, South Jersey homeowners should be aware that the dampness that caused mold and mildew on the furniture could have caused mold on building materials (walls, floors, ceilings, etc.) as well. If you found mildew or fungal growth on your contents or personal belongings, you should consider getting your South Jersey home inspected and tested for mold to learn the full extent of the contamination. You could have a bigger problem than you may realize, and a mold inspector near you can help.
How To Prevent Mold On Furniture?
They key to mold prevention is moisture control. By keeping your New Jersey home nice and dry, your furniture will stay nice and mold-free. Exposure to moisture is what leaves South Jersey homeowners with moldy furniture and personal belongings.
- Water Dryout – Address leaks, floods, and water intrusion right away – water needs to be dried up right away, in a timely manner. South Jersey homeowners should monitor for signs of water, and start drying efforts immediately. If furniture or contents get wet, don’t let them just sit around — start drying them off right away to prevent fungal growth.
- Humidity Control – Keep indoor humidity throughout the structure below 50% – this might require taking steps like installing a dehumidifier, running the air conditioning during warm months, running bathroom exhaust fans, running kitchen exhaust fans, and more.
- Proper Ventilation – Proper ventilation cycles out warm, moisture air – check attic ventilation, run exhaust fans when appropriate, maintain the HVAC system, open windows and doors when appropriate, and run fans when necessary.
- De-Clutter – Excess, disorganized clutter can restrict air circulation and allow moisture buildup over time. To optimize air flow, limit the amount of stored contents when possible, keep all your stored contents organized, and avoid placing furniture right up against walls.
Can Mold Be Removed From Furniture?
Mold on hard, non-porous contents (i.e: contents made completely of hard plastic, metal or glass) can often be cleaned by the homeowner with a mild detergent or following normal cleaning instructions. However, most furniture is made of porous materials, or have porous components, that make it extremely difficult to effectively clean. Furniture made from porous materials, like wood or fabric, can trap microscopic mold spores in the tiny pores and make effective mold removal nearly impossible. Even if the furniture looks clean, microscopic spores trapped within its fibers can eventually germinate and spread again. All it would take is a little moisture.
More often than not, the outcome for moldy furniture is disposal. Mildew contaminated items like sofas, mattresses, upholstered seating, cushions and rugs should be discarded and replaced. Understandably, some furniture and contents have high monetary value or sentimental value that makes disposal difficult. If you insist on attempting to salvage moldy furniture, a contents cleaning company or upholstery cleaning company might be able to help. However, it is important to keep in mind that even the best cleaning efforts may be temporary and ineffective in the long run.
Is Moldy Furniture A Sign Of A Bigger Mold Problem Elsewhere?
If you see mold and mildew on your furniture, there is a very good chance that you have mold developing (likely worse) elsewhere as well. Usually moldy contents is a sign of a bigger mold and moisture problem in the building structure. If damp conditions have allowed fungal growth on your furniture, imagine what it could have done to your porous building materials. Mold can lead to health effects, property damage and safety concerns. Fungal growth needs to be actively removed to restore clean and safe conditions.
Mold contaminated walls, ceilings and floors in a home requires professional mold remediation. Indoor mold growth needs to be actively removed following specific remediation protocols and safety procedures. Mold contaminated materials require special retrieval and disposal to ensure a thorough and effective cleanup. While moldy furniture can be discarded and replaced, removal and disposal still requires special care. Mishandled moldy furniture and moldy building materials can cross-contaminate to clean, unaffected contents and surfaces. That is why mold remediation is always completed under containment. If you are dealing with an indoor mold problem with moldy furniture, let a mold remediation professional near you help.
Professional Mold Testing & Mold Inspection
If you discover mold on furniture, contents or personal belongings, you should consider contacting a mold inspection specialist near you to conduct a thorough and comprehensive inspection with mold testing. A professionally trained inspector will be able to investigate the full extent of the contamination, get to the moisture source and prescribe an appropriate solution. If professional mold remediation is necessary, all moldy contents and moldy building materials will be be safely removed under containment and discarded. The remaining surfaces will be cleaned following specific mold remediation procedures to restore safe and mold-free conditions. Following professional remediation, all moisture issues need to be properly addressed to make sure that your new furniture stays mold-free.
To learn more about mold inspections and mold testing near you, contact Mastertech Environmental today to speak with a member of our team — 609-948-8844.