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What Causes Mold on Furniture?

Interior mold growth due to furniture placed too close to a poorly insulated exterior wall

mold on furniture

Mold growth on back side of dresser.

Mold growth on painted table legs due to elevated humidity.

Mold on furniture

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What would cause mold on my dresser in a carpeted room?

The first goal is determining whether the mold is due to excess humidity or a liquid water leak/intrusion.  In most cases, mold on the furniture is due to a combination of excess humidity and poorly insulated exterior walls.   When a dresser is right against an exterior wall, the airflow is restricted and condensation can form.  In time, this condensation creates an environment conducive to mold growth.

Try to keep your humidity beneath 55% during the winter months.  Often this can be achieved by simply running your bathroom exhaust fan 8-12 hours per day.  Also, if your home has poorly insulated walls, keep furniture and bedding 3-4″ away from all exterior walls.   Lastly, be careful with humidifiers, which can greatly exacerbate the issue.

How can I clean the mold off the back of the dresser ? The back of my dresser looks like the one in your picture.

Typically a Borax / water solution works well.  You’re not relying on the killing power of solution, but rather the detergent/cleaning action.  You’ll need to lightly scrub the surface to dislodge the mold growth.  In many instances, some staining will remain in the wood.  This is simply residual pigment and is not a health issues.  As always, wear a tight fitting respirator/mask to prevent inhalation of the spores you’ll dislodge when cleaning.  All cleaning should be performed outside of the home.  Immediately launder all clothing worn during the cleaning process.

My daughter has a skin condition that reacts to warmth and light. Living in a Florida home, we have central air at 68F, but also a window ac unit running at all times in her bedroom as she needs it at around 65F. She also has fans running on either side of her bed and blackout curtains. Two days ago, I wiped down her furniture and changed all her bedding so I know everything was ok. 2 days later, I have discovered the top front of all her wooden dresser drawers, fabric Shadowbox, linoleum floor, dust ruffle on the opposite side of her bed from window ac unit. There is also a ceiling ac duct in the ceiling about6 feet in front of the dresser. What do you think? Is there mold in the ceiling ducts? Is it the window ac? Both? Please give any advice as soon as you can. Do we call in a service? Who is reliable? Stanley Steamer had an ad for ductwork. Thanks so much. I don’t know if I can figure out how to download photos. Sincerely, John

Heavy mold growth on furniture.

The amount of mold growth in the photo is quite severe.  This type of mold is typically only found in rooms with highly elevated humidity.  I recommend installing a relative humidity gauge.  Your goal is to keep the RH below 55%.  The lower the temperature, the higher the RH.    We have a detailed explanation on our humidity page.  Keeping the temperature at 65 degrees will lead to higher humidity.  This temperature may require the use of a dehumidifier.  I would also contact an HVAC company to evaluate your system.  An air conditioning unit should lower the humidity in the home.  Something is not working correctly.

Until the humidity problem is addressed, any cleaning procedures will only yield temporary results.