How to Remove Mildew on Wood Furniture

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Rubber gloves
Protective eyewear
Face mask
Plastic bag
Clean, empty spray bottles
Garden hose
Soft-bristled scrub brush
Mild detergent
Mild bleach
Light-grit sandpaper

If you have any indoor or outdoor wooden furniture that has come under attack from mildew, you’ll want to know how to remove it. While set-in mildew may seem a bit tricky to get rid of, you'll find that with a few common household items, your wood furniture can be clean and mildew-free in no time. Below are the steps you will need to take in order to remove mildew from any wooden piece of furniture in your home.

Step 1 - Give Your Wood Furniture a Preliminary Cleaning

A garden hose

Before you begin, make sure to protect yourself by wearing rubber gloves, eyewear, and most importantly, a face mask to avoid breathing in any spores.

The first step to getting rid of mildew is to clean off as many spores as possible. Take a vacuum cleaner equipped with a hose, a soft brush attachment, and a HEPA filter and go over the affected area to remove any loose spores. Empty the bag or canister into a plastic bag and dispose of it when you’re done.

You can give the affected wood furniture a thorough water washing too. If you're removing mildew from a piece of indoor wooden furniture, use a water-filled spray bottle, paying special attention to the mildew-laden areas. Then, vigorously wipe the furniture with a sponge or washcloth. You may need to repeat this process several times before the affected areas are completely clean. Once you've finished this preliminary cleaning, use a washcloth or paper towel to dry off your furniture.

Alternatively, if you're attempting to remove mildew from a piece of outdoor furniture, you can use a garden hose to rinse any mildew-heavy areas. Once it has been sufficiently rinsed, use a sponge or washcloth to get rid of any caked-on dirt, dust, or other type of filth. If you don't feel like waiting for the furniture to air dry, you can manually dry it with the aid of a washcloth or expendable towel.

Step 2 - Apply Your Cleaner

Spray bottle

Now that you've carried out your preparatory water washing, you're ready to produce and apply a highly effective homemade mildew on wood removal solution. There are actually several options for this, based on whether or not you’re treating finished or unfinished furniture.

Indoor furniture, which is usually finished, will usually not need such abrasive cleansers because the mildew won’t penetrate as far into the wood. Mild cleaners will also preserve the finish while product like bleach could damage it. So stick to a simple solution of dishwashing detergent and warm water and apply it to the wood with a soft-bristled scrub brush. If the mildew persists, you can try a vinegar solution instead. Spritz the affected areas with vinegar from a spray bottle and leave it to sit for about an hour. Afterward, wipe the wood clean with a damp towel. If the furniture appears free of mildew upon inspection, then you can finish drying it; otherwise, reapply the solutions as needed.

For unfinished wood, begin by combining a mild brand of bleach with cool water inside of a clean, empty spray bottle. Seal the bottle and proceed to apply the cleaner to any affected areas of your furniture. Allow the bleach-based solution to sit for three to five minutes and, once it's had ample time to set in, use a sponge, washcloth, or soft-bristled scrub brush to vigorously scrub the mildew deposits. Follow up by rinsing off your cleaner with a water-filled spray bottle. If any mildew deposits remain, repeat this step until they have been successfully purged.

Step 3 - Sand the Mildew Deposits

Roll of sand paper

If, after several cleaner applications, any mildew deposits remain embedded in your wood furniture, you will need to sand them off. Using a sheet of light-grit sandpaper, carefully proceed to sand the mildew-heavy areas in smooth up-and-down motions. Although it may seem tempting, it is very important that you abstain from using a power sander when performing this step, as it is simply too powerful a tool for the job you're doing. After the mildew has been removed from your furniture, give it another good water rinsing to remove any resulting dust.

If you need to use this method in the case of a finished piece of furniture, you will need to sand off the rest of the remaining finish to your entire surface is uniform later refinishing.