How Do You Keep Furniture From Molding in Storage?
How do you keep furniture from molding in storage?
Mold can grow on any type of furniture. If you catch it early, you might be able to clean off the mold. But sometimes the spores grow deep into the material making it more difficult to remove.
Mold growth requires moist environments, so the key is choosing a storage unit that stays dry. You can also take steps to prepare and position your furniture within the unit to prevent mold issues.
If you’re preparing to put furniture in storage, keep reading to learn ways to prevent mold growth.
Choose the Type of Storage Unit Wisely
Renting a storage unit is a common way for people to store furniture, whether you’re moving or simply have furniture you no longer want in your home.
Not all storage facilities offer the same quality of storage solutions. You’ll find a wide range of options, including those with exterior doors and storage that’s inside a building with access from the hallways.
Climate-controlled storage units stay at a consistent temperature year-round. The temperature controls help reduce moisture and humidity in the unit. They’re beneficial in areas with extreme temperature changes through the seasons.
Some units also feature extra humidity control options.
If you have valuable furniture, a climate-controlled unit might be worth the investment. It can prevent mold from growing by maintaining ideal storage conditions.
It can also prevent warping that can often happen with wood furniture when it’s exposed to extreme temperatures.
Inspect the Specific Unit
Check out the specific unit you’ll be renting before you sign any agreements. This helps you evaluate the risks of mold growth.
Mold spores are all around you, but they don’t become a problem without moisture. When choosing a storage unit, look for the potential of moisture getting into the space.
A door that opens to the outside could increase the chance of rain or other water entering the unit. Look for drainage in the area surrounding the unit. A low-lying area might also be at higher risk of collecting water when it rains.
Look inside the unit for cracks or gaps where water might leak into it. Check for signs of previous water entering the unit. That might include marks and dark spots on the walls or ceiling.
Make sure there’s not already mold growing in the unit. Mold and mildew can grow on walls. If the unit has growth without stored items, you can assume the conditions are ideal and the mold will eventually reach your furniture and other stored items.
Clean Your Furniture
Before packing furniture to move it into storage, make sure it’s clean. Mold spores need something to feed on in addition to moisture. Dirt and dust that’s on your furniture can provide that source of food for the mold.
Use mild soap and water to clean furniture pieces. You can also use a furniture-specific cleaner based on the material.
For upholstered furniture, vacuum any crumbs or debris from the crevices. You can also vacuum the cushions to remove dust and debris. Clean stains and soiled spots with upholstery cleaner.
Let Everything Dry Before Storing
Always make sure everything you put in your storage unit is completely dry before storing it. If you clean your furniture, give it plenty of time to dry.
Avoid putting anything else that’s damp or wet into your storage unit, such as damp sheets or blankets. If that moist item touches your furniture, it can create ideal mold-growing conditions. It can also increase the overall humidity in the storage unit.
Install a Moisture Barrier
Moisture barriers can add extra protection, especially if you’re storing furniture in a space that isn’t climate controlled.
A simple option for the floor is placing a plastic sheet or tarp down on the floor. This creates a barrier between the floor and the furniture if moisture seeps up into the storage space.
You can also install a plastic or foil moisture barrier on the walls of the storage unit. This can prevent moisture from coming in through the walls.
Position Furniture Away From Walls and Doors
The location of your furniture within the storage space can affect the chances of mold growth.
Moisture is likely to come into the unit through cracks or leaks in the walls or through the door. By positioning your furniture away from those locations, you can minimize how much moisture reaches it.
Allow for Airflow
Another important part of preventing mold and moisture issues is through airflow. When renting a storage unit, you can’t always increase ventilation to the space. But you can improve the ability for air to flow around your items.
Choose a storage unit that’s large enough to hold your items without crowding them. Leave spaces between furniture and other stored items. This allows the air to move around the items and may help dry up moisture that gets into the unit.
Avoid pushing any items up against the wall or cramming the storage unit full from top to bottom.
Raise Furniture Off the Floor
If your storage unit is on the ground level or has a door that opens to the outside, it’s possible for moisture to get into the unit. It’s likely to pool on the floor if this happens.
Raising your furniture slightly off the floor can keep it from touching the water. Even a few inches can be enough if a little water gets into the unit. This keeps the furniture dry and may prevent mold growth.
Pallets or furniture risers offer an inexpensive way to lift up your furniture. Make sure everything is stable once it’s elevated to prevent it from tipping.
Avoid Plastic Wrap on Furniture
It might seem logical to wrap your furniture in plastic to keep moisture away, but it can have the opposite effect.
Plastic can trap moisture underneath it and against your furniture, especially on leather furniture. This can increase the chances of developing mold.
Plastic also doesn’t let your furniture breathe, especially on fabric-upholstered pieces such as sofas and chairs.
Blankets or other fabric can keep your furniture protected from dust and bugs while still letting it breathe.
Add Moisture Absorbing Material
If you’re worried about the moisture levels in your storage unit, you can add materials that absorb some of the moisture.
One easy option is to use charcoal briquettes. Place containers of the charcoal in the storage unit to soak up moisture in the air. Replace the charcoal every few months to keep it effective.
Charcoal can also help absorb odors in your storage unit. This prevents your furniture from taking on a funky smell while you store it.
Silica gel is another moisture-absorbing material you can use in your storage unit. It’s available at home improvement stores.
Create a fabric pocket by sewing together two pieces of fabric on three sides. Fill the pouch with silica gel, and sew the fourth side closed.
Leave the pouches in the storage unit to soak up moisture. You’ll need to replace them periodically just like the charcoal.
Monitor the Humidity Levels
The humidity level inside the storage unit can create the damp conditions necessary for mold to grow. If you live in a humid climate and don’t have a climate-controlled storage unit, it can be difficult to keep humidity levels under control within your unit.
You can use a hygrometer to measure humidity in the air. It gives you a reading that shows the percentage of the relative humidity.
To prevent mold, your storage space should have a relative humidity under 60%. An ideal range for relative humidity is between 30 and 50%. Anything higher than 60% can create growing conditions for mold.
Check the humidity levels in your storage facility regularly. The humidity levels might change with the seasons or the weather.
Check Your Furniture Often
Using a storage facility lets you store and forget your furniture. But waiting too long to check in can increase the chances of mold growth.
Even if the unit is dry with ideal humidity when you put the furniture into storage, those conditions can change quickly.
Check on your stored furniture periodically to make sure the storage area is still dry. Look at the furniture for early signs of mold. If you catch it early, you might be able to clean off the mold and save the furniture.
Address Mold Quickly
If you spot any signs of mold during one of your inspections, take care of the problem immediately.
Move items out of the unit to keep it from spreading. Clean up the mold that you find immediately.
If possible, find the source of the mold issue, such as a leak in the unit or a damp item that made it into storage. Fix the problem that led to the mold growth to prevent it from happening again.
Inspect each item that was in the unit for signs of mold before returning it to the storage space. If one moldy item makes it back into the storage space, it could cause regrowth.
How Do You Keep Furniture From Molding in Storage
Asking yourself, “How do you keep furniture from molding in storage?” can save you from losing furniture. Choosing the right type of storage space and taking precautions to discourage mold growth can help.
If you’re looking for secure storage, check out our storage solutions, including climate-controlled options.