How to Remove Mildew From Painted Wood

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Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves

  • Safety goggles

  • Protective clothing

  • Water

  • 1 cup chlorine bleach

  • 2 large buckets

  • Soft-bristled brush

  • Sponge

  • Dry towel


To speed the drying process, a small fan can be placed in front of the damp wood.

Mildew is a type of fungus that thrives in warm, wet environments. Found both indoors and out, mildew can grow on almost any surface and can become particularly problematic in areas where moisture is prevalent, such as in the bathroom or under the sink. Mildew is especially fond of fixtures and furnishings made from natural, fibrous products such as wood as the fungi uses any available organic materials as a food source. Additionally, the minerals in many types of paint can also be utilized by mildew, making painted wood a particular challenge to treat.


Step 1

Don protective clothing prior to attempting mildew removal. Put on rubber gloves, safety goggles, a long-sleeved shirt and full-length trousers. Be sure to choose clothing that is of little to no value as they may become discolored as a result of the cleaning process, particularly if attempting to remove mildew from an overhead location. Open any available doors and windows to provide adequate ventilation.

Step 2

Combine 1 gallon of warm water and 1 cup of chlorine bleach in a large bucket. Stir until the two are well blended. Fill a second bucket with plain water.


Step 3

Dip a soft-bristled brush into the solution and then apply the wet brush to the affected area. Scrub gently using small circular motions, working on one small area at a time.

Step 4

Soak a sponge in the bleach water. Wring the excess fluid from the sponge and then use it to wipe away the loosened debris.

Step 5

Dip the sponge in the bucket of plain water and squeeze to remove any bleach from the fibers. Wipe the treated area with the clean sponge, rinsing away any excess bleach water.

Step 6

Pat the area with a clean towel to remove surface moisture. If any mildew remains, repeat the procedure. Allow the wood to dry completely before attempting a second treatment.



Lisa Parris

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.