Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in moist, warm and damp conditions. And unless it’s a specific type of mold like that found on blue cheese, you won’t find anyone who’s happy to see it in their house. You may find it on bread, in bathrooms, in kitchens, on floors, and on grout among countless other areas.
Mold usually appears as fuzzy, leathery staining or a discoloration on organic surfaces. It can be hazardous to your health and home when not removed promptly.
Mold can grow anywhere, including your wood floor. In fact, mold can thrive on your wood floor when it’s not properly cleaned and dried.
Warm temperatures, moisture, and grime on your hardwood floor can provide the perfect home for an enterprising fungus colony.
Regular cleaning, disinfecting your hardwood floors, preventing moisture buildup, and quickly mopping up spills on the surface all greatly help keep mold at bay.
At the same time, these good practices also help preserve the beauty of your floors while adding life to your investment.
Is Mold on Hardwood Floors Dangerous?
Mold usually grows from spores to a large colony within a few days. The spores are airborne and pose a respiratory health concern to both people and pets.
While not all types of mold are dangerous, some types such as black or green mold produce toxins.
Mold also poses dangers to flooring. You may find mold in any area in a building such as wood flooring, sub-floors, baseboards and drywall just to name a few.
Mold flourishes on organic materials when exposed to moisture and a favorable building temperature.
Mold should be removed as soon as possible before it wreaks havoc. When you find minor mold colonies in your home, you can remove them as per our guide below.
Mold in large quantities should be removed by a contracted expert who will use specialized equipment. Attempting to remove large mold colonies on your own poses health hazards as well as hazards to your home.
Signs of Mold under Hardwood Floors
As mentioned above, mold usually appears as a discoloration, stain, or a fuzzy growth on the surface of a wood floor.
It can come in a variety of colors such as black, white, green, gray, brown or yellow. Mold usually grows in areas that were once exposed to water, spills or moisture.
Mold produces a pungent, musty smell in your home. Simply put, it smells like decay.
As a homeowner, if you encounter such an odor, carefully examine areas that are prone to moisture such as below the sink, under carpets, in kitchen cabinets, in basements and around appliances that utilize water.
Mold growth can also be a sign of water-damaged hardwood floors or baseboards. When exposed to water, wood will always eventually warp or decay.
For that reason, you should be careful when deep cleaning a hardwood floor using water based cleaners. Always completely dry any film of water or avoid using water based methods entirely.
How to Remove Mold from Wood Floors
When you spot mold in your home, take immediate action. First of all, think about what causes mold on your wood floor and figure out how you can prevent it.
If there is a leakage or spill, fix it before you proceed with removal.
Inspect the degree of damage caused. If it is the entire floor, you will have to consult a wood flooring expert who may recommend refinishing, replacing the floorboards, or removing the mold.
For small spots of mold on your hardwood floor, however, follow along below. First, gather your supplies, and then prepare for battle. :
You will need:
- Face dust mask
- Protective hand gloves
- Distilled white vinegar
- Paper towels
- Spray bottle
What to do
Aerate the room
Be sure to open all the windows and get the room ventilated. This will drive out any excess moisture from the room and also help you avoid inhaling spores.
Put on your rubber or latex gloves and a face mask and proceed with the next step.
Apply a vinegar and water solution
Mix ¼ cup of distilled white vinegar with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the mold and cover the area with paper towels.
Vinegar kills fungus, is an anti-deodorant and is safe to use. Besides killing the mold, it will also clear the musty smell.
Clean the spot to remove mold
After spraying, immediately wipe out the mold using the paper towels and dispose of them immediately.
If the mold stains are stubborn, use a sponge to scrub them off. Follow with a damp towel to clear the vinegar solution. Completely dry out the area using a dry towel.
Vacuuming and cleaning
Once the mold is removed, vacuum the entire room using a vacuum cleaner designed for hardwood floors.
This removes any traces of the mold and other dirt debris. You may consider deep cleaning afterwards using your favorite cleaner.
The paper towels used for cleaning out the mold and the content of the vacuum cleaner should be disposed of into a trash can and sealed.
Remember to completely keep the room dry and possibly use a humidifier to remove as much moisture as possible.
If the mold recurs, it means it is growing under the floorboards.
In that case, you may want to hire a floor expert who should remove the boards, clean and kill the mold, and reinstall the boards.
Do note that your vinegar and water solution can damage wood floors when left standing on the surface for long — so make sure to dry it as quickly as possible after spraying with paper towels.
How can you tell if your floor has mold?
It is important that you are aware of the signs of mold on your floor. This allows you to remove it as quickly as possible, before it causes further damage.
There are a number of different ways you can if your floor has mold. One of the most common ways to know this is by the smell. While in some cases you will be able to see the mold, this is not always possible if it is underneath the floorboards.
Given this, you will want to check for musty smells. These smells will typically be quite prevalent when there is mold present.
The second way in which you can tell is by inspecting the flooring, if you see any dark patches on the floor, then it is likely that this could be mold. In addition to this, if the flooring has been water damaged, this can be a sign of mold too.
While it is possible to clean up the majority of the water, sometimes some can be left under the floorboards, which can then lead to mold. If you are concerned about mold, we would recommend checking beneath the floorboards.
Mold is a health hazard and should be removed before causing harm. Mold can also stain a wood floor and can cause permanent damage.
Products formulated for killing mold should be used with care and tested before using. If you are not sure, consider contracting an expert to remove mold from your home. But whatever you do, make sure you get rid of the mold before the mold gets rid of your nice-looking floors…or you.