Moving with kids

How to Prevent Humidity Damage When Storing Furniture

Mould, mildew and moisture – they can all wreak havoc on our favourite furniture items. Especially when storing furniture in humid climates for extended periods it's important to account for the environmental conditions and plan accordingly. There's nothing worse than thinking your prized furniture is stored safely out of harm's way only to find that the insidious humidity has silently been taking its toll. From timber that's become swollen and expanded, to white mould and brown streaks on leather and fabrics, humidity damage at best will affect the appearance of furniture but at its worst can destroy furniture items and fabrics completely.

Antique furniture dealers understand how to preserve furniture so it continues to look its best for years to come, and if you are planning on storing furniture, whether a heirloom mahogany sideboard, or a chaise lounge suite, here's how to follow their lead to prevent your prized possessions succumbing to moisture damage.

What areas of Australia is humidity damage a concern?

Storage units and sheds can get particularly hot and stuffy, especially in Queensland, Darwin and northern NSW and during the humid summer months in other states. Controlling moisture is especially important these areas, as damp, humid environments can also attract pests. Any areas where relative humidity is above 50 percent can be susceptible to damage from moisture including mould and mildew growth.

What furniture items are most at risk?

Leather, timber furniture (especially those made chipboard or composite materials), mattresses, photos and unframed artwork, fabric and upholstered items and electronic items are the most susceptible to moisture damage. Tropical areas that receive high annual rainfall are also susceptible to higher humidity. 

What preventative measures can be taken?

Fortunately, with the right approach, furniture can be stored in a way to prevent moisture damage. Methods include:

  • Using dehumidifying equipment where possible. This may not be practical for all storage situations.
  • Ensure the storage facility is completely sealed with no gaps in walls or around the base of the building. Keep especially sensitive items as far away from the door as possible.
  • Clean items before storing. Wiping down furniture, especially leather, with a disinfectant will prevent mould and mildew growth. Ensure furniture is free from any food and drink residue as this also encourages mould growth.
  • Avoid storing anything that is damp or wet alongside furniture. This could be wet shoes, damp clothes as well as kayaks and other water sport equipment that is not completely dry.
  • Only store items in storage units that you would store in your garage. The conditions are likely to be similar.
  • Hang moisture absorbing sachets. These crystals available from supermarkets absorb moisture and humidity in the air, but most only are effective for up to 60 days.
  • Use plastic sheeting to cover fabrics, but allow leather to breathe. Plastic sheeting will prevent moisture being absorbed into the upholstery, which can result in hard-to-remove mould.
  • Consider investing in a climate controlled storage facility for especially long-term furniture storage.
  • It's also a good idea to monitor any stored furniture every 3 months and take action if needed. The sooner mould is tackled and moisture damage identified, the less damage to furniture items that it can cause. 

Get in touch with a company like Australian Moving Logistics to learn more about storing furniture for the short- or long-term.