Nothing can beat that beautiful antique furniture that has been in the family house for decades. There is a reason why an antique looks good, and that is because of proper maintenance and cleaning. But when mildew or mold gets to your furniture, antique wood requires much more special attention than just dusting and wiping. You really must know how to clean mildew off antique wood furniture the right way so you can stop the spread and avoid damaging the wood.
The first thing you have to know about mildew is that it is a fungus. It comes in different forms and types that can interact with the wood in various ways. To better understand the enemy and know how to clean mildew off antique wood furniture, let us talk more about fungus first.
Different Kinds Of Mildew
Mildew can grow on furniture, vinyl, cotton, and other things that sit around for a long time. We commonly mistake mold for mildew and vice versa. If mildew is detected, it must be dealt with immediately because some mildew can be toxic and harmful, especially if there are children around. To understand mildew better, take a look at this list of the more toxic mildew types to be aware of.
To learn how to clean mildew off antique wood furniture, you should be aware of the basidiospores. This type of mildew is most common in wood. What it does is it promotes the rotting of wood even if the wood is untouched. It may look dry, but moisture is present, and mildew is the first step for fungus before your wood will start growing toadstools and mushrooms. This type of mildew can cause allergic reactions, and the mushrooms can be poisonous when eaten.
This mildew is more common in plants than in wood. This type of mildew can cause asthmatic symptoms and can worsen allergies. This mildew thrives in places where the humidity is high.
This type of mildew can cause severe allergic reactions. It comes in different varieties which attack the airways. Those who have weaker immunity can suffer from a lung infection if inhaled in large amounts.
This type of mildew is more commonly known as bathroom mold. It is found in windows, bathtubs, and showers. This type of mildew is not as harmless but can still trigger skin irritation. It is usually black with a little bit of green.
For people with poor health, the Rhizopus type of mildew can be dangerous. It can cause lung lesions, vomiting, and skin irritation. Mildew that is usually seen in places where bacteria is present represents this type. Examples are the garbage disposal, food, and drains.
Cleaning Mildew Off Antique Furniture
Mildew will grow when your furniture is exposed to humidity, which can cause moisture build-up. Knowing how to clean mildew off antique wood furniture is essential to saving your antique furniture without destroying its face value. The first unofficial step to take is to gear up properly when dealing with a fungus by using gloves and a mask. Next, you can follow these steps to get rid of mild dew on your antique furniture.
When dealing with mildew, it is essential to have the furniture dry first. If the antique furniture has been placed in a garage, basement, or storage unit, give it some time to breathe outdoors, under the sun. Move the furniture outside or indoors where there is adequate ventilation when you start cleaning. You can also remove the moisture by using a dehumidifier or turning on a heater and placing it next to the furniture. Fans are also an excellent way to blow out and dry the moisture from your furniture.
To remove the mild in places where there are cracks and holes, you can vacuum clean the furniture. We sometimes imagine hardwood to be solid, but in fact, wood is a porous material. It can absorb moisture and odor, just like a sponge.
When you vacuum clean the furniture, it is recommended to use a thin hose paired with gentle suction. A Hepa vacuum is also very effective since it is designed to absorb particular impurities like mildew. If you do not have a Hepa vacuum, a regular one is fine. Just remember to clean the filter right after using the vacuum because the fungus is still alive and can contaminate the filter.
An excellent solution on how to clean mildew off antique wood furniture is hydrogen peroxide. Dampen a piece of cloth with hydrogen peroxide and blot the areas where the mildew appears. Peroxide is an excellent solution because it is safer than bleach and other chemicals. It also does not harm the wooden fibers of antique or old furniture, preserving its rigidity.
If you are dealing with delicate furniture with a drawing or illustration that you don’t want to damage, do a test first. Apply hydrogen peroxide in a small specific area and check for the effects. If no discoloration or damage occurs, then proceed with applying peroxide to all the affected areas.
After applying your hydrogen peroxide solution, store the furniture in a safe and dry location. If your house has a high humidity level, you can keep the humidity under control by using a dehumidifier. The heater can also be an excellent way to regulate humidity. Avoid putting your furniture in locations where it can accumulate moisture like near the air-conditioning or refrigerator.
When keeping old furniture in the house or storage, it is essential to take good care of it by practicing proper maintenance and cleaning. But there are always natural situations we cannot avoid that can harm the wood. If you leave your old wooden furniture near places that it can accumulate moisture, it will soon grow mold and mildew. Knowing how to clean mildew off antique wood furniture is needed if you want to save your furniture for future generations to use. Here’s how to learn more about wood furniture care.