I have to small couches and an armchair that may possibly have mould due to sitting in a basement for years. My sister and brother-in-law say they smell mould. My brother who knows his way around woodworking doesn’t smell mould. I don’t have a sensitive nose (damn – there goes a job as a sommelier) and can’t smell anything myself. Is there a test one can do to confirm whether or not there is mould. If there’s mould it would be in the upholstery as the wood seem perfectly fine.
Any thoughts you may have on the matter would be really appreciated.
Doug’s Allergy Answer…
Note: This is my opinion and is not to be taken as qualified medical advice.
Any laboratory-based mold testing would be expensive and not worth the money.
It seems that some people are better able to smell mold than others, so if some people can smell mould in the furniture, then I would say the furniture is mouldy; the fact that others can’t smell it not withstanding.
The mould could be growing within the upholstery, rather than on the surface, so don’t expect to see it. Ditto for mold growing on wood, although usually the upholstery is the first to go, and the wood is likely to be fine.
Mary de Bassecourt at AEHA relates her experience with moldy furniture:
My daughter bought a couch (funky 60’s style) that had wear-like-iron fabric from a second-hand store here in Ottawa. Of course with all of the odours in the store we couldn’t tell that it smelled mildewy.
I tried ozonating it but that didn’t work, so I tried washing the cushions in peroxide and water. I ended up washing the cushion covers several times and hanging them outside and we replaced all of the foam and liner and replaced the upholstery buttons.
It cost a lot to replace the foam, but it looked like new and made a good Christmas present. (Fortunately, it had a wood frame.)
The tip that worked well was to put the foam in the cushion covers while the covers were still damp so it would shape to the defined edges of the foam.
Check out this article for more information and additional ideas on furniture mold removal.
I hope this helps!
Comments welcome if anyone has further advice or for elaboration.