our guide to removing mould from upholstered furniture

Removing Mould From Upholstered Furniture - Alan Farr Limited

It can be a big shock to discover you’ve got mould on your upholstered furniture. You keep a clean house and you’re probably wondering how it could be possible to have mould growing inside without you realising. Naturally you’ll want to get rid of it as soon as possible, and whether you can salvage the upholstered furniture or have to invest in something new.

Mould spores are almost everywhere outside your house and be be easier than you think to get inside your home. Spores can travel on the air through your windows or doors, be trodden in on shoes, or even just on your clothing. The spores can then remain dormant in your home for a long time and once the right conditions for mould growth come about, it starts to grow. Mould requires moisture to grow, so mould can develop whether you’ve had a serious flood or leak, or something as simple as a build up on condensation. Upholstered furniture that has gotten damp is the perfect environment for mould to grow as they impregnate the fibres of the upholstery and spread quickly. Not only does this damage the furniture, but is also a serious risk to the health of your household.

The good news is that removing mould from upholstered furniture is entirely possible, and will be cheaper than buying new furniture.

Remove Mould Quickly

If you find that your upholstered furniture smells musty or looks as though it has been powdered with green, white or black ‘dust’, it’s safe to say you have a mould problem. You’ll need to fix this as soon as possible because mould spreads quickly and causes a lot of damage. The furniture, no matter what kind it is, will need to be cleaned and dried thoroughly. We’ve put together this simple guide to help with removing mould stains from upholstered furniture so that you can tackle this issue quickly and easily.

How To Remove Mould

Unfortunately, removing mould from upholstered furniture can be tricky. You’ll want to kill the mould spores as well as protect the upholstery from damage. How you tackle your mould problem will depend on how serious and widespread it has become. Even if you only have a small patch of mould, not cleaning it properly can make the problem worse, so being thorough is imperative. You’ll have to decide if you want to take the time to try to remove the mould yourself, hire a professional to reupholster your furniture, or buy a new piece. If you want to do it yourself, read our advice below.

Steps to Remove Mould

Cover Up

The first step in removing mould from upholstered furniture is to properly cover yourself up. Because mould spores are so easily transferable and spread so quickly, you’ll need to get some long-sleeved and full-leg clothing that will protect your skin. You’ll also need some goggles to protect your eyes, rubber gloves to protect your hands, and you will definitely need a respirator so you’re not breathing in harmful mould spores. All of these things can be found relatively cheaply at a hardware store. If you have long hair, you’ll want to tie this up in a bun out of reach of touching the mould. You can also get a shower cap to protect your hair from airborne spores.

Get Outside

When removing mould from upholstered furniture it’s important to have proper ventilation. It isn’t possible to thoroughly remove mould in an enclosed space, so the furniture will need to be moved outside, preferably on a clear, sunny day to assist with killing the mould and drying the upholstery. Being out in the open also helps to prevent you breath in the mould that will be released into the air as you clean. If there’s no clear sunlight to be had, you can still attempt to remove the mould, but it will be harder in humid conditions. Any sunlight is better than none, but if you’re really stuck for good weather, it’s better to move the affected furniture into a room that doesn’t expose the rest of the house.

Sweep & Vacuum

When removing mould from upholstered furniture, it’s best to start by sweeping and vacuuming before using any water. Make sure to lay newspaper under the upholstered furniture when it’s outside, as this will catch any mould residue or debris as you clean. Start with using a dry cloth to wipe at the mould on the furniture. This will need to be thrown away immediately once you’ve finished with it. Then use a dry, soft-bristle brush to sweep over the affected upholstery, making sure not to touch any unaffected areas to avoid spreading mould spores further. Once you’ve wiped and brushed the mould down, use a filtered vacuum with a brush attachment to go over the affected areas again, working the brush into the upholstery as you vacuum. When you’ve vacuumed the furniture as much as you can, the vacuum will need to be emptied and cleaned thoroughly to remove mould spores from inside and out.

Clean It

The next step to removing mould from upholstered furniture is to clean it. Mix together some mild detergent with some water and lather it up. Then, using a cloth, gently work the suds onto the upholstery, avoiding too much moisture to begin with. When the suds have been worked in as much as they can, lightly dampen a new cloth in the detergent water and gently wipe down the mouldy area. You’ll want to avoid soaking the fabric as much as possible. If you can see there is still mould deep within your upholstery, or if the fabric is particularly thick, follow up the cleaning with a solution of vinegar and water. Mix this together in a spray bottle and lightly spritz over the affected area, dabbing into the fabric as needed, and let it air dry. If after the mould patch has dried the upholstery still has a mouldy or musty smell, repeat the vinegar spray step, or swap vinegar for rubbing alcohol.

Dry It

Another important factor in removing mould from upholstered furniture is making sure it dries completely. Because mould thrives in damp conditions, even after all the previous steps, leaving your upholstered furniture damp can undo all of your hard work and allow mould to grow again. Your furniture should sit in the sun for several hours until bone dry, or if there’s no sun to be had, you will have to manually dry it with a heater or a fan. Only when the furniture is fully dry it can be moved back into the house.

Alan Farr Services

Whether you decide to remove mould from your upholstered furniture yourself or you opt for a professional cleaning and reupholstering, making sure to act in good time will reduce the damage caused. If you leave it too long to act on removing mould from upholstered furniture, you’ll need to either replace the furniture or hire a professional furniture restoration team to solve your mould problem. At Alan Farr, we specialise in furniture restoration and repair. We work on antique furniture that needs restoring, furniture that is damaged by flood or water, removing stubborn mould and smells, as well as general restoration, including finishes. If you’re interested in furniture restoration or care, or want more information on any of our other services, get in touch. We work on all property types and can give expert advice for your furniture type. You can give us a call on 01543 469 946, or fill out our online contact form.