Furniture can grow mold for several reasons.
Flood damage or storage in a shed with a leaky roof is likely to cause big mold problems. In this case, dealing with a mold problem is a real health hazard. If you decide to tackle the problem yourself, I advise you to wear a respirator and gloves, and to do the work outside. Definitely do the work outside, or you will spread mold spores all over your work area.
Storage in a damp basement is likely to produce a more manageable mold problem, but still plenty enough to cause allergy symptoms. In this case, some people may not be able to smell the mold, but it can still set off allergies and cause health problems, besides being unpleasant for those who can smell the mold and mildew.
Eliminating the Mold
There are a number of approaches, of varying cost, hassle and effectiveness. If the easy ones don’t work, then make sure the frame is worth the trouble and expense of following through with the other mold removal methods.
Sun the Moldy Furniture
You may be able to solve minor mold problems by putting the furniture out in the sun for several days. Be sure to bring the furniture in at night or dew and dampness will undo anything that was accomplished during the day.
To be effective, you will need to remove the cushions and sun them separately for maximum drying and sun exposure. Flip the cushions every few hours. If you can, unzip them and pull out the stuffing for even more drying.
If you are lucky and the mold is slight, this just might work. But don’t count on it.
An ozone generator can be very effective in mold removal. Ozone treatment will be covered in a separate section in a future post..
Wash and Sun the Moldy Furniture
This method is more trouble, but also the most effective.
Remove all the foam from the furniture. You will end up replacing it.
Wash the cushions several times in water with peroxide. You may need to replace the upholstery buttons.
If all else fails, or if the washing method is too much work (or impractical), take the furniture in to have it reupholstered.