Removing Mildew

I have air-dried wood that is beginning to grow large patches of mildew. How can I remove it?

Carol Reed: This is a difficult question. Your air-dried wood is no longer dry, or mold would not grow. Bleach may stop the growth, but the discoloration will remain. Sanding puts dangerous particles in the air you do not want in your (or anyone’s) lungs. Dispose of the wood. This is the only solution, as witness the mess left after the recent hurricanes.

Michael Dresdner: It really depends on the type of mold. Mildew is easy; full-strength household laundry bleach will kill mildew, and its color, immediately. It self-neutralizes as it dries to salt and water. Certain other molds, including the famous blue-green mold that attacks maple, can be removed with highly concentrated peroxide (35% solution.) Be very careful handling peroxide, as it is quite caustic, and will instantly burn skin and mucous membranes. Gloves, goggles and respirator are in order. However, once it is on the wood, it will do its job immediately, killing the mold and removing the stain. As it dries, it turns into water and oxygen, so once again, no neutralizing is needed.

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