NC State Extension Publications

Removing Mold from Household Items

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Mold can be removed from most items if you clean and dry the item quickly. If an item is expensive or has sentimental value, you may want to consult with a home remediation or cleaning specialist. Companies that work in fire and water damage restoration, rug and carpet cleaning, furniture repair, and textile and art restoration usually have this expertise.

Removal Suggestions

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Household Item

Impacts of Mold

Cleaning Process

Clothing and Fabrics

Mold can cause permanent damage to some items.

For washable items, pretreat stains with a non-ammonia detergent. Read the product label and wash at the hottest temperature with detergent and appropriate bleach(oxygen based for colors and delicate items; chlorine for bleach-safe colorfast items).

Carpeting, Rugs, and Padding

Mold can be avoided if carpet is dried out within 48 hours of getting we. Moldy padding should always be discarded.

Use a water extraction vacuum to dry wet carpeting. Remove and replace saturated carpet padding. Accelerate the drying process by using fans and dehumidifiers, air conditioning or heaters. Professionally shampoo or sponge-clean mold areas of carpet using carpet cleaning products. Use hydrogen peroxide on stubborn stains; test first. If the mold persists, discard the item.

Hard Surface Floors: Vinyl, Linoleum, Tile, Ceramic, Laminate, Wood

May be cleanable unless water remains under the flooring where it can damage substrate or subfloor.

Surface mold on hard flooring may be vacuumed with a HEPA vacuum (do NOT use a standard vacuum) or removed with a damp mop and a solution of water and mild non-phosphate detergent. Scrub or strip floor finish, if necessary. Dry quickly and thoroughly, making sure the subfloor is dry.

Ceiling Tiles

Seldom salvageable if damaged by water and mold.

If the tiles show minimal mold growth, you may be able to clean them. Wear protective clothing and clean with a damp cloth and solution of water and mild non-phosphate detergent. Dry quickly. A stainblocker coating may be needed before repainting to prevent water stains from showing through.

Drywall and other Wallboards

Mold may not be visible, but may be growing in the wall cavity.

Dry within 48 hours. If the wall insulation is wet, it must e removed and discarded to reduce the risk of wood decay. To clean, use a HEPA vacuum and wipe with non-phosphate detergent. Damage caused by sewage water should be disinfected using a bleach and water solution.

Furniture: Hard-Surfaced (Wood, Laminate, Veneer, Bamboo, Steel, Resin, etc.)

Cleanable, but some items may be damaged.

Remove mold with a damp rag and solution of water and mild non-phosphate detergent. If the damage was caused by sewage water, disinfect using a bleach and water solution. Dry thoroughly in a well-ventilated location, but not in direct sunlight, which may cause it to warp.

Upholstered Furniture and Mattresses

Seldom salvageable if damaged by water and mold.

If the item has sentimental value or was in contact with clean water for less than a few hours, you may be able to restore it. Upholstered furniture can be stripped to the frame; the frame disinfected using a bleach and water solution; and then reupholstered after the frame is completely dry. It is a good idea to have mattresses sanitized by a professional.

Leather Clothing and Furniture

Salvageable if cleaned. Clean when mold growth is first notice.

Use a soft bristled brush or clean cloth to brush the mold spores off. Clean with a solution of water and non-phosphate detergent. Wipe off with soapy residue and dry thoroughly. Items may be wiped down with a 50/50 mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol. Dry thoroughly then use a leather conditioner.

This material is adapted from Healthy Homes: Removing Mold in Your Home, authored by Dr. Pamela Turner, Melanie Badding, and Jackie Ogden, University of Georgia Extenison, 2018.

Authors

Housing Specialist
University of Georgia Extension
MPH, BHS
Armstrong State University
FACS Extension Agent
University of Georgia Extension
FCS Program Leader
NC State, Agricultural and Human Sciences

Publication date: Jan. 15, 2019

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