If you are searching “preventing mold on pallets” this post should help! Preventing and stopping mold on new or used wooden pallets should be a top priority if you are using your pallets for DIY projects around your home or if your company frequently ships large items.
Used pallets are not usually stored in dry areas, or sometimes even indoors. Avoiding mold from growing on used pallets in the first place is far easier than simply cleaning them. For mold to start and grow it needs a food source, free or liquid water, oxygen, and the ideal temperature. While you can’t control the oxygen or afford the space to store pallets in a climate controlled environment, you can control the amount of moisture that the pallets are exposed to.
Why Some Pallets Grow Mold Easier Than Others
Most all pallets are manufactured from wood. When the wood is first cut it is called “green”, meaning it has been newly and freshly cut, exposing the moisture that is underneath the dried out part of the wood. As trees need water to grow, newly cut wood contains a lot of this moisture. During the processing of wood products for building and pallet construction, the wood will dry out over time. During this process, the pallet usually loses up to 80% of the moisture contained within it. If the wood used to build pallets before the wood is dry enough, it can lead to developing mold making it that more time consuming for them to be clean or allowed to completely dry out.
Conditions That Develop Mold On Pallets
It is not just the quality of the wood that is a cause of moldy pallets. Where the wood is stored and where the pallets are stored after construction can also play a crucial role. If wet wood is used to make the pallets, it can also lead to an excess of moisture in which it greatly increases the chances of developing mold.
Used pallets that are stored outdoors will increase the risk of allowing mold to develop on the wood. While water from production or rain storms may only be on the pallets for a short time, mold can still develop. If wet conditions persist for a number of days, the fungus that creates mold will germinate on the surface of the wood and grow inside the wooden pallets fibers and cells.
Ways To Prevent Mold On Pallets
Starting off with pallets that are as dry as possible, greatly reduces the chance that mold will develop and grow on the pallets. Mold growth needs moisture, oxygen and a food source to thrive. Preventing mold growth on wooden pallets, not only makes sure your pallets can be used without worry, but also protects your health and the individuals that will be using them. Keeping your pallets stored where they will be dry and not prone to being rewetted highly reduces the growth of mold.
Kiln Dried Pallets
Kiln drying is one of the best approaches for taking the moisture out of your wooden pallets. This method hinders the ability for mold to colonize on the wooden pallets by quickly drying them. Kiln dried pallets are a little more expensive, so they are not generally used for one time use shipping intentions. Kiln dried pallets that are used for export are required to be stamped with the correct heat treatment code to adhere with the pallet industry standards. Pallets are stacked on top of one another inside huge heating rooms (the kilns), and then heated to evaporate any leftover moisture held within the wooden pallet.
Chemically Treated Pallets
There are some chemicals that can be sprayed onto the pallets that help the pallets combat the forming and growth of mold or other fungi. These chemicals are called prophylactic fungicides and are used to prevent mold from growing. After the spraying, or dipping, the coating will protect the wooden pallets from around 3 to 6 months. Using these chemical treatments seals the wood from oxygen, one of the key factors in mold growth. While this is a great option for some types of industries, companies that are shipping other chemicals might have limits and certain conditions due to the potential chemical reaction between the pallet treatment chemicals and the products that they are shipping. The food industry also keeps away from using chemically treated pallets mainly because of the possibility of food contamination or foodborne illness.
How Can Mold Be Prevented From Growing On My Pallets?
Mold prevention is a huge factor when it comes to your merchants. Mold needs moisture to grow and survive, take away the moisture; no more mold. Moldy pallets can ruin goods and discourage business between suppliers and retail vendors. There are steps that can be taken at every point in the production, sales, and use cycle of the pallets life to prevent mold from developing. It starts with wood mills with good business practices and ethics, goes to pallet building companies, and ends up with pallet users.
Wood Mill Mold Prevention
The wood used for pallets usually comes from lumber yards or wood mills. How the lumber yards or wood mill stores it’s freshly cut lumber plays a vital part in how mold is prevented from growing.
- It is wise that the wood for pallets is not stored for long periods of time at the mill. Older logs around the mill have a higher risk of containing mold already and it will come to the surface more quickly.
- Lumber that is wet should not be stored in stacks or piles for a period lasting no longer than 3 days. The wood should be stored so that there is a natural breeze that will help dry the wood entirely out. This is particularly critical during warmer conditions where mold tends to flourish.
- Don’t store wood that you know contains mold near or around your fresh wood, wind and other factors can blow mold spores on to them, and can be transmitted over to the new wood and start to grow. This greatly increases the risk of developing mold on the new logs and wood, defeating the purpose of preventing the mold from growing in the first place.
Pallet Manufacturer Mold Prevention
Freshly cut wood coming from the mill to the pallet manufacturer should be delivered in a well timed matter to help decrease the growth and development of mold. The manufacturer will also cap the time it takes the assembled pallet to ultimately end up with the user or shipping company.
- It is a good business decision to know who your wood mill supplier is, and how they practice their business to ensure you are getting adequate raw material to make your pallets.
- Green materials should not be stored for longer periods of time, so don’t order more than you will need to use. The longer green wood is stored, the greater chance there will be development of mold growth.
- Store wood pallets that have been heat treated in cool, dry conditions with good air flow. This will keep the wood dry and help in the prevention of mold.
Wooden Pallet User Mold Prevention
After the wood is cut, assembled at the manufacturing plant, it winds up as a pallet to the end user. Now it is up to the user to take the required steps to ensure that the pallets stay dry and prevent the growth of mold.
- It is important that the pallets be stored where they will stay dry. This especially counts after they have been used, but even more for single use pallets before they are sent out. Retailers do not like moldy shipments and will find vendors that have good, ethical shipping practices.
- You should use pallets that benefit the use of fungicides to protect them if your merchandise and production lines will allow it. The fungicides will inhibit mold growth at the source and will keep your merchandise and products free from mold.
High Quality New & Used Wooden Pallets in Phoenix, AZ
If you need pallets we have both new and used pallets. Choices for heat treated, export pallets, and more can be delivered with a simple phone call at 602-278-1450 locally or toll free at 1-800-289-4840. You may have pallets stacking up and need to get rid of them for space or more importantly, safety issues, AAA Pallet & Lumber Co also does pallet pick up in the Phoenix, Arizona, and surrounding areas.