Economic treatment of fungus on green timbers

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Forum topic by Catlike posted 05-24-2015 01:56 AM 619 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 646 days

05-24-2015 01:56 AM

I bought a rough-cut, green 4X6 timber. I cut pieces to length from it and stood them in a corner of our wee little workshop.

About three weeks later (today), I took the pieces out of the corner and found extensive areas of white, thick fungal growth. It looks like the very fine webbing of a cocoon.

What is a good, economical way to treat the fungus—to kill it? I wrote “economical” because I find a product called Boracare which sounds great (effective, environmentally mild, low human and animal toxicity) but costs $120 per gallon!

Does the ultraviolet radiation from the sun kill such fungi? How about household bleach?

I’d like to use the lowest-toxicity means that will stop the fungus with certainty.

Thank you.

-- Catlike

7 replies so far

View HerbC's profile


1567 posts in 2278 days

#1 posted 05-24-2015 03:23 AM

A good scrubbing with a solution of bleach, then dry them outside but not in direct sunlight which will cause a lot of problems with the timbers checking.


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

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Rick M.

7696 posts in 1799 days

#2 posted 05-24-2015 03:24 AM

View BroncoBrian's profile


435 posts in 1378 days

#3 posted 05-24-2015 03:27 AM

You can buy Borate in powder form, add water, and store the rest. Pretty cheap that way. You can find it online.

Once you treat the wood, you are done, it is always treated.

-- Bigfoot tries to take pictures of me

View pjones46's profile


986 posts in 2062 days

#4 posted 05-24-2015 03:47 AM

Remove mold from wood – unfinished wood

Rubbing Alcohol or Denatured Alcohol

Commercial mold removal product (always follow manufacturer’s instructions on the label)

Distilled Vinegar

Borax Solution (1 gallon of water to 1 cup of borax, or 1 part borax to 16 parts water)

Baking Soda -Detergent Solution (1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp mild liquid detergent)

Bleach-Detergent Solution (Recommended by the US Forest Products Labratory – 1 part household detergent, 10 parts bleach, and 20 parts water)

Never mix bleach with a product that contains ammonia. It will produce toxic fumes that can cause serious illness or death.

When working with wood, you should be aware that bleach can only kill mold spores that are on the surface of the wood. Mold in wood, however, tends to grow and establish roots below the surface and into the wood fibers. Due to the chemical makeup of bleach, it does not absorb into the wood, and it is possible that you will see the mold re-establish itself after you have cleaned it with bleach.

To address this problem, several companies have produced mold removal products that include surfactants. What the heck is a surfactant you ask? To put it simply, a surfactant is an additive that allows the detergent or bleach to absorb deep into the wood fibers. It does this by reducing the water surface tension, but that is something for another discussion. The detergent in the suggested mixture above helps to allow the bleach to get down to the roots of the mold.

So, the bottom line is you can elect to use bleach, but keep in mind that there are better products to remove mold from wood. If using a commercial product, look for an EPA registered mold removal product (regular household bleach does not have such claim).

-- Respectfully, Paul

View Catlike's profile


21 posts in 646 days

#5 posted 05-24-2015 10:30 AM

Having posted this question, I read your answers and did some looking of my own on the internet. I found this (

The article talks about types of wood fungus. The one in my situation is, I think, “white rot”—their photo shows an infestation which resembles what my timbers show.

“How to Kill Wood Rot?...

“Once affected, it is not very easy to get rid of wood rot completely. Though there are many commercial products available for the purpose, they are not very effective. However, there are two common inexpensive materials that can be used for the treatment of wood.

“Firstly, a mixture of borax and boric acid called borate is one product that can be used to kill rot organisms in the affected wood; it can also be used as a control measure.

“Secondly, you can make use of ethylene glycol for killing the wood destroying fungi and the rot spores. This is available as an automotive coolant/anti-freeze and is highly effective. Borates mixed with anti-freeze also work efficiently.”

The “secondly” is very interesting. On another web page [can’t find it now], someone reported mixing a batch of a powdered borate product (“Tim bor”) with RV-type antifreeze in place of water. He said it worked very well.

-- Catlike

View Logboy's profile


43 posts in 2649 days

#6 posted 05-28-2015 12:36 PM

You dont need any of that. Scrape the mold off with a wire brush then spray or “paint” it with bleach and water. A lot of smaller sawmills do that. A 16-1 ratio is fine (1 cup per gallon). After you do that put a fan on those green timbers so they actually dry. Your wood isnt rotting. The fungus is eating the sugars in the wood because its still wet. Below roughly 22% moisture the mold issue goes away. Initially green wood needs good airflow to dry. You put them in a shop with dead air which is why you started your own fungus farm.

Your other option is to find a way to heat them to 130 degrees. At that temp it dies instantly.

-- No log is too big to saw!

View Catlike's profile


21 posts in 646 days

#7 posted 05-28-2015 04:28 PM

@Logboy—Thank you.

-- Catlike

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