If you’re familiar with wood mold, the timing of this article might come as a surprise – after all, wood mold mainly comes in the Spring, right?

Although that’s correct (kudos to you if you remembered that from our mold article a while back), those of us involved in the wood packaging and lumber industries would say that we should never forget the horrors wood mold can cause. Some might say it’s even… spooky.

This time of year, everyone’s expecting something scary. Jack-o-lanterns and ghosts, goblins and ghouls, something sinister seems to be around every corner. While our minds are set on Halloween, we thought this would be a good time to talk about something that is truly frightening – wood mold.

Wood mold can be inconvenient, annoying, and, unfortunately, cause product loss. Today, we’ll take a look at what wood mold actually is, how to prevent it, and what to do when you get wood mold.

What is Wood Mold?

Believe it or not, wood mold isn’t an actual type of mold. It refers more broadly to any species of mold that can feed on dead wood… really narrows it down, right?

When talking about mold, everyone gets that uneasy feeling. What is this? How do I get rid of it? Is it dangerous? All of these are perfectly normal questions to ask when finding mold anywhere. Luckily, most species of mold that infect pallets aren’t toxic to humans – you can take that sigh of relief now.

That being said, there is one type of wood mold that should send shivers down your spine, Stachybotrys. No this isn’t a dinosaur, in fact, you’ve probably heard of this mold before. This prehistoric-sounding mold is commonly referred to as black mold. This species of mold commonly grows on wood and presents itself as tiny black dots that spread as it grows. It’s recommended that if you suspect your pallets or other wood products are infected with black mold that you wear PPE when handling the wood.

Now that the ominous warning is out of the way, let’s talk about how wood mold grows.

The number one factor in mold growth is moisture, this is pretty much undisputed. Wood mold will develop if enough moisture is present in and around your pallets. Wood mold uses this moisture to break down the cellulose present in your wood, from there, the mold will continue to grow if not taken care of.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prevent wood mold growth.

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Preventing the Horror

Although wood mold isn’t going anywhere any time soon, there are ways to prevent it.

Moisture, temperature, and oxygen content are all elements that encourage the growth of mold. Naturally, taking these factors off the table would be the best way to prevent wood mold growth… unless you’re the most profitable lumber buyer/distributor ever, this really isn’t an option. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take that won’t break the bank.

Moisture, temperature, and oxygen content are all elements that encourage the growth of mold. Click To Tweet

Unless you’re in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, or consumer goods industries, there’s a good chance you’ve stored wood products outside a time or two. This is extremely common and is an easy way to save precious warehouse space. With the outdoors though, the risk for wood mold increases.

Keeping your wood products dry is the largest preventative measure you can take. If you’re in a naturally dry environment, this means you’ve lucked out! If you’re in the other camp, welcome to the club. When it’s raining, or extremely humid, placing tarps over your pallets is a great idea. Letting your wood products become saturated is the worst thing you can do.

Once the rain is over, it’s essential that you take your tarps off of your wood products. When the sun shows its face, the tarp will work against your lumber, creating a sauna-like effect. Obviously, this creates the perfect high-moisture, high-temperature environment for mold. That being said, you should probably take the tarps off after it rains.

Sometimes, even with preventative action, wood mold persists. Life always finds a way, doesn’t it?

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Killing Wood Mold

There are really only two ways to kill wood mold. Pressure washing and chemical treatment.

Pressure washing your pallets may seem like an oversimplified way of defending against wood mold, but if you can’t use chemicals, this just might do the trick. If you’re going to pressure wash your pallets or wood products, make sure you do it slowly, getting rid of all visible mold. Even the smallest spores can grow back.

If you’re looking to really bring the heat to wood mold, and if you’re allowed to, chemical treatment is the best option. Using a diluted bleach solution, you should slowly spray the entirety of the pallet until you’ve covered its whole surface. With this method, the mold is killed rather than being washed away.

Regardless of the method you use to remove mold, you should keep in mind that moisture can bring back mold in an instant. Any of your wood products with a moisture content of 19% or higher are running the risk of getting mold. Click To Tweet

Regardless of the method you use, you should keep in mind that moisture can bring back mold in an instant. Any of your wood products with a moisture content of 19% or higher are running the risk of getting mold.

Something Spooky Simplified

Hopefully, this article has made you feel at ease when dealing with wood mold. Knowing what wood mold is, how to prevent it, and how to destroy it should give you the tools to save your pallets and other industrial wood products.

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