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Understanding How A Dirty Fence Grows Mold And How You Can Remove The Fungi

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If you have an old wooden fence on your property that has started to develop patches of mold, then it may be time for you to invest in a new fence. However, sometimes fences can be treated to address the mildew problem. Before you can address any sort of fencing issues, however, you will need to figure out the cause of the mold. Keep reading to learn how dirt can contribute to mold growth and how you can address the problem.

Why Does A Dirty Fence Form Mold?

Mold and mildew spores are extremely small and numerous in the environment. The spores are about 3 to 40 microns in diameter. This is less than half the size of a human hair. There can be thousands of spores per cubic meter of outdoor air. This means that there are many outdoor mold spores that come into contact with your wood fence, but you are not likely to see them. 

Mold spores will often remain dormant for months, so you may see no mold or mildew growth on your wooden fence. This means that the spores may not have enough food to consume so they can multiply and grow. However, if your fence has recently become dirty and you notice mold also starting to develop, then the mold growth is likely due to the debris.

Mold and other fungi spores can live off a wide variety of food sources. The food source must be organic compounds that contain carbon. The dirt left on your wooden fence, a splash of fruit juice from your child's outdoor lunch, or a smudge of oil from your hands are just a few examples of the compounds that can allow mold spores to feed and thrive. As the debris builds up, more and more mold will grow.

You should understand that mold will not directly feed on the wood of your fence, even though it is an organic compound. Only specific types of mold, like black mold, will consume cellulose. Common types of outdoor mold are more likely to feed only on the debris covering the wood. However, mold and mildew will trap water close to the fence, and this can cause the wood to rot. Cleaning your fence is the best way to get rid of the food source that allows the mold to feed and to allow water to evaporate so the fence does not deteriorate further. 

How Can You Fix The Problem?

When your fence is dirty, you need to clean it thoroughly to remove the mold and the debris to prevent it from returning. It is best to use a mold and mildew cleaning product like an outdoor deck or fence cleaner. You can also use a fungicide that you have around your own home. While bleach will help loosen debris and get rid of the mold, it should be avoided when cleaning wood. The bleach can dry out the wood and cause it to break down on a cellular level. Instead of using bleach, use hydrogen peroxide.

Purchase several large bottles of peroxide from your local pharmacy. Hydrogen peroxide can cause wood to lighten, so it is best to dilute it before applying it. Fill a five-gallon bucket with about 50% water and 50% hydrogen peroxide. Use a scrub brush afterwards to apply the cleaning solution to the wood fence to loosen a good portion of the mold. Allow the peroxide to sit for at least 30 minutes.

Once the cleaning solution has been allowed to sit, use a pressure washer to force the loose mildew and dirt away. Make sure the pressure washer is set on low pressure so you do not dent or ding the wood as you wash. Complete this sort of cleaning once a year or when your fence appears noticeably dirty. 

For more information on wood fencing, contact a company like F & W Fence Company, Inc.