Is Mold Common?
Mold is one of the most common problems people who build with bamboo face, but thankfully it is one that will not damage your bamboo to the point of disintegration, and it’s also a relatively cheap and easy fix. Mold is famously attracted to bamboo because of its very high starch content, perfect food for fungus in the hot and humid environments of the tropics, but it is much more prevalent when bamboo is treated improperly or not dried completely before treatment, or when transported long distances in varying climates.
Over the Counter Solutions
In the developed world, there are many commercial products that specifically target mold, and these can be used to great effect, especially if environmental impact is not a concern. For DIY solutions, however, mixing either lemon juice or vinegar with equal parts water will make a fast, cheap, effective, and more environmentally friendly compound that will nonetheless make short work of surface mold. While simply spraying the compound on your bamboo may prove sufficient, using a paint brush will be much more consistent and faster as well.
Looking for an All-Natural Treatment for Mold on Bamboo?
Dissolve baking soda into water or water-and-vinegar solution and brush it over the infected areas of the bamboo. Baking soda is not harsh, therefore will not damage the bamboo surface, yet works like a disinfectant to wipe away black mold or the white mold as well.
After applying your mold killer, wait a few hours or even overnight to observe your progress. Another coat may be necessary depending on the potency of your treatment and the severity of the mold infestation. If the mold has begun to fade or change colors, it is recommended that you sand down the surface of the bamboo and remove the external mold so that you may apply a long-term mold prevention treatment.
What is the good news?
The saving grace of mold’s propensity for infecting bamboo is that the mold will only inhabit the bamboo if there is sufficient moisture already inside. This gives us two advantages: first, if we properly harvest, cure, dry, and treat the bamboo from the beginning, the risk of fungal infection is minimized. Secondly, even if this initial step is failed or skipped, there is only so much moisture in the bamboo, especially if it is covered and removed from the ground. Because of the finite moisture, fungus can typically only bloom once or twice before it can no longer find sufficient nutrients to survive within the wood.
Visible mold will not deteriorate the quality of bamboo, leaving strength, flexibility, and longevity unhindered. There are, however, much deeper forms of mold that are exceedingly difficult to detect visibly, known as decay fungi, and these will indeed harm bamboo. The first signs will be that the bamboo is damp to the touch, however this will eventually progress until the bamboo has been reduced to little more than fibrous pulp.
Materiales Ambientales Ecologicos offers an All-Natural Mold Treatment for Costa Rican clients. We can send a team to come clean your older bamboo furniture or your bamboo home. There are steps you can take for preventative maintanence and we offer a yearly service at a very low rate.