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#4477198 - 08/02/17 08:31 AM Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt
MoneyJohn Offline


Registered: 03/01/12
Posts: 173
Loc: Southern NY
Hello folks,

I have a question about painting (preferably spray) backboards of one of our Ikea drawer chest.

We have this drawer chest from Ikea. The backboard of this one seems to be made of cardboard type material. This doesn't look like classic cardboard, but plywood like feel. Our apt gets moldy pretty fast when humidity rises and now the mold has started growing on this backboard. I usually wipe with disinfectant wipes once a week but it is getting too labor intensive and thought may be painting will block the surface to the mold.

We have been trying to reduce humidity for years without any success. Being in a rental, we can't modify anything and we do not have an active exhaust system to keep humidity low. Running AC all the time is cost prohibitive (to us).

Does anyone have any advice on how I can paint this backboard, and what kind of spray primer/paint I can use?

Thanks in advance.


Edited by wwillson (08/02/17 09:44 PM)
Edit Reason: subject clarification

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#4477228 - 08/02/17 09:02 AM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: MoneyJohn]
Tegger Offline


Registered: 03/20/06
Posts: 2287
Loc: Canada
If you've got mold forming, you have serious ventilation and moisture problems. I don't know what your rental contract says or what the legal situation is in your area, but if you allow the mold to build up you could be on the hook for some hefty abatement charges when you vacate. Is this a basement apartment?

What you really need is a dehumdifier. But they do cost money to buy and run.
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#4477248 - 08/02/17 09:26 AM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: Tegger]
MoneyJohn Offline


Registered: 03/01/12
Posts: 173
Loc: Southern NY
This is a first-floor apartment and the rental company is very well aware of the problem but the super makes one or the other excuse to blame it on you, like open the windows when you cook (even in winter when the windows are frozen shut) etc etc. Out every weekend's job is to find mold around the apartment and give it a good scrub using disinfectant wipes. We do not let mold grow anywhere.

We do have a dehumidifier, which runs almost non-stop during winter, but during summer, it makes the room even hotter which is very difficult to deal as all of us are very sensitive to the heat.

Almost everyone in the development is living here only because of the school district. Once the kids graduate high school, everyone leaves. We will too but we have to deal with this [censored] until then.
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#4477263 - 08/02/17 09:43 AM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: MoneyJohn]
skyactiv Offline


Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4404
Loc: The Midwest
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#4477357 - 08/02/17 11:53 AM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: MoneyJohn]
madRiver Offline


Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3543
Loc: New England
Is there rent control happening which is why you stay?

That level of mold is a hazard to your health and kids if present.

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#4477431 - 08/02/17 01:10 PM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: MoneyJohn]
sleddriver Offline


Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 4608
Loc: Central Texas
Yikes, that's bad. Your family is living in a Petri dish if it forms that quickly. Mold & mildew is already in an advanced state by the time it becomes visible to the naked eye.

If your A/C (window unit? Central? Split?) is running all the time, in upstate NY, somethings wrong and probably dirty. Even here in hot, humid Tx my central A/C doesn't run all the time. Indoor humidity is about 37% currently.

While you may not be able to modify anything, you can pay to have it cleaned.

Never heard of an "active exhaust system to keep humidity low". Do you have a wet basement? (We don't even have basements here...).
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#4477559 - 08/02/17 04:09 PM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: madRiver]
MoneyJohn Offline


Registered: 03/01/12
Posts: 173
Loc: Southern NY
Originally Posted By: madRiver
Is there rent control happening which is why you stay?

That level of mold is a hazard to your health and kids if present.

Its the school district. The school district is very good. Plus, my kid has special needs that need 1:1 assistance at a times. Since DS is improving very well compared to the majority of the special needs kids, the school district is willing to provide as much support as he needs (which is very uncommon if you know how special ed works). This being a very small school district, extremely difficult to find an apt. That is the sole reason why we are dealing with this.
We have a flashy new apartment complex right next door but since its in a different school district, even after 6 months, still pretty much empty.

I am completely aware of the mold hazard but we have been putting the school district ahead of our health (Plus, DW works less than a mile from our residence.)

Originally Posted By: sleddriver
Yikes, that's bad. Your family is living in a Petri dish if it forms that quickly. Mold & mildew is already in an advanced state by the time it becomes visible to the naked eye.

If your A/C (window unit? Central? Split?) is running all the time, in upstate NY, somethings wrong and probably dirty. Even here in hot, humid Tx my central A/C doesn't run all the time. Indoor humidity is about 37% currently.

While you may not be able to modify anything, you can pay to have it cleaned.

Never heard of an "active exhaust system to keep humidity low". Do you have a wet basement? (We don't even have basements here...).


It's a small first-floor apartment. There is no basement. We have window AC units. For the central units, the air is usually circulating all the time. That does not happen in our apt. The air remains stagnant, even if we keep the windows open all the time. (We have small window fans in all the windows to force the air out.) The relative humidity in our apartment is NEVER less than 50% (except when outside is less than 40% which is not a common occurrence).

In all honesty, I am at my wits on how to address this. If there is a certain kind of professional that can evaluate the situation and offer remedies, I am willing to hire such personnel.
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#4477613 - 08/02/17 05:21 PM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: MoneyJohn]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3201
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
Originally Posted By: MoneyJohn
It's a small first-floor apartment. There is no basement. We have window AC units. For the central units, the air is usually circulating all the time. That does not happen in our apt. The air remains stagnant, even if we keep the windows open all the time. (We have small window fans in all the windows to force the air out.) The relative humidity in our apartment is NEVER less than 50% (except when outside is less than 40% which is not a common occurrence).

In all honesty, I am at my wits on how to address this. If there is a certain kind of professional that can evaluate the situation and offer remedies, I am willing to hire such personnel.


Are the AC window units yours or buildings? (maybe not maintained or too small capacity)
If windows frozen shut in winter, do the AC units come down or stay all day long? (poor insulation?)
you also use window fans; are they the 20"x20" boxes? (you could attach with zipties 20x20 air filters; change it when is dirty; the idea is to clean the air inside: You and your family should not be breathing that!!!!)

re:wipes; go to your closest home depot/lowes/ace hardware and buy a mold remover/mold control (they may also be less expensive per total)

Is the humidity/stale air just because of of bad apartment layout or the outside is humid too? (lake/river area?)

I think to decrease humidity you will have to run the AC and dehumidifier, and open windows less (outside humidity)
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#4477621 - 08/02/17 05:28 PM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: MoneyJohn]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3201
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
Originally Posted By: MoneyJohn
I have a question about painting (preferably spray) backboards of one of our Ikea drawer chest.

We have this drawer chest from Ikea. The backboard of this one seems to be made of cardboard type material. This doesn't look like classic cardboard, but plywood like feel. Our apt gets moldy pretty fast when humidity rises and now the mold has started growing on this backboard. I usually wipe with disinfectant wipes once a week but it is getting too labor intensive and thought may be painting will block the surface to the mold.


the backboard is only hold in place by some small nails.... pull it out and measure it.

go to your closest home center store, have them cut you a piece from 1/4 cheapest plywood (maybe you're lucky and they have leftovers), come back, spray paint twice with primer, then the color of your choice.
use the small nails to attach it to the back of the dresser.

trow the moldy old backboard in the trash.
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#4477626 - 08/02/17 05:32 PM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: MoneyJohn]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3201
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
re: humidity + mold

since you wipe everything every week:
-keep any clothes bags away from walls
-keep some space between furniture and walls , about 1-2 inches (I know, hard in a small apartment)
-be prepared to change couple of pieces of furniture which sits in the most prone to mold area
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#4477784 - 08/02/17 08:53 PM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: MoneyJohn]
sleddriver Offline


Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 4608
Loc: Central Texas
Originally Posted By: MoneyJohn
Originally Posted By: sleddriver
Yikes, that's bad. Your family is living in a Petri dish if it forms that quickly. Mold & mildew is already in an advanced state by the time it becomes visible to the naked eye.

If your A/C (window unit? Central? Split?) is running all the time, in upstate NY, somethings wrong and probably dirty. Even here in hot, humid Tx my central A/C doesn't run all the time. Indoor humidity is about 37% currently.

While you may not be able to modify anything, you can pay to have it cleaned.

Never heard of an "active exhaust system to keep humidity low". Do you have a wet basement? (We don't even have basements here...).


It's a small first-floor apartment. There is no basement. We have window AC units. For the central units, the air is usually circulating all the time. That does not happen in our apt. The air remains stagnant, even if we keep the windows open all the time. (We have small window fans in all the windows to force the air out.) The relative humidity in our apartment is NEVER less than 50% (except when outside is less than 40% which is not a common occurrence).

In all honesty, I am at my wits on how to address this. If there is a certain kind of professional that can evaluate the situation and offer remedies, I am willing to hire such personnel.
When using window A/C, it's important to not allow them to run 24/7. Why? Because they will pick up moisture removed and re-introduce it into the cooled space. They should be set so that when the compressor is OFF, the FAN is OFF. Air can be circulated with floor fans. These are much cheaper to run.

Even with central units, the FAN should not be ON 24/7. The same thing can happen as above. Plus, it'll run up the e-bill.

Not sure how you have stagnant air with "the windows open all the time." Further, why run the AC, which dries & cools the air, with windows open, and "small window fans in all the windows to force air out"? If so, you're trying to both cool & dehumidify outdoors.....that'll never work.

Your window units evaporator coils probably need cleaning, then the refrigerant charge needs to be checked as they may be low.

Are these your window units or managements?

One more thing...which feels cooler to your skin..a fan pointed away from you or a fan pointed towards you?
_________________________
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#4477884 - 08/02/17 11:40 PM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: MoneyJohn]
Fsharp Offline


Registered: 12/11/15
Posts: 411
Loc: Kentucky
In the summer keep the windows closed, even when the outdoor temp is close to indoor, as opening them introduces new humidity. Make sure all the gaps and cracks are sealed and the door and window weatherstripping is in good shape. Run fans indoors to keep the air moving. In the winter make sure you're not using heating that introduces new humidity i.e. Ventless gas. Crack the window/run the vent when showering, don't cook a lot of soups wink If you've still got humidity/mold problems then something is wrong.

As for painting over mold, even if you kill the surface mold and paint over it, spores circulating in the air will land and start to grow if the conditions remain the same.

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#4478002 - 08/03/17 08:16 AM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: madRiver]
rshaw125 Offline


Registered: 08/18/04
Posts: 3259
Loc: Raleigh ,NC CSA
Originally Posted By: madRiver
Is there rent control happening which is why you stay?

That level of mold is a hazard to your health and kids if present.



I agree. I would get one of those small devices that measures temp and humidity. If it is staying above 50% for long periods you may have to move.
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#4478010 - 08/03/17 08:24 AM Re: Ideas for halting mold on furniture and in apt [Re: rshaw125]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3201
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
Originally Posted By: rshaw125
Originally Posted By: madRiver
Is there rent control happening which is why you stay?

That level of mold is a hazard to your health and kids if present.



I agree. I would get one of those small devices that measures temp and humidity. If it is staying above 50% for long periods you may have to move.


^^^This : They can be had cheap at Walmart/Target

P.S. My former employer had us (5-12 people + computers) in a room in the middle of the building (AC worked, but not introduction of air): Stinky carpet, stale air, we all got sick during the winter, even more often than that....
Changed job, in a manufacturing place (oil, coolant....) and still didn't got sick in 3 years....
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