What is used pallet mold and what does it do?
Both New and Used pallets can be susceptible to mold infestation. That being said used pallets are typically more at risk due to them being older and have gone though more adverse conditions. Such as multiple trips or being stored outside in the rain or snow.
Mold is a type of fungus naturally occurring. There are thousands of different mold species, which play a role in our environment, decomposing wood, food, and other plant matter. They become an issue when they start to effect lumber, pallets, or any other part of the warehouse.
To successfully colonize, mold requires an oxygen rich environment, the right temperature, a source (your wooden pallets), and water. A good approach to controlling mold is to limit wood moisture inside the plant(if possible do not keep anything outside in humid climates).
Experts recommend that the moisture levels be kept below 18-20%
Does Heat Treating Pallets Prevent Mold?
A very common misconception is that the ISPM heat treated of pallets will prevent any mold growth, this is not true. Heat treatment (30 minutes at a core temperature of 132.8 degrees fahrenheit) is meant to kill any insects or pests living the treated wood.
This is done prevent the international transport of pests, where they could attack ecosystems in other countries across the world. Heat treatment can often times make conditions worse by attracting moisture to the dry wood surface by convenient surface environment for mold
Manufacturers, food producers, medical supply manufacturers , distributors, and retailers in hygiene-sensitive supply chains are especially at risk to the problem of mold issues. This presents a food, health, safety and quality control risk but is also a concern from an occupational health and safety in house. Pharmaceutical and food supply manufacturers are help to a higher standard and must prevent any exposure to of mold.
Steps a company can take to limit pallet mold in the warehouse
The most obvious step is to keep the skids dry and always inspect them thoroughly after unloading a truckload, Here are some basic steps you can take today to prevent mold:
Make certain that mold is actually the issue.
- The discoloration you see in your wood pallets might not be mold. There are many chemicals or markings that may be on a pallet that is not mold. Mold is typically Black and hard to remove from the surface. If you find mold on a pallet it is best to not try and clean it off but to simply get rid of it ASAP. How to identify mold
Keep you companies pallets out of the rain
- This is not always possible due to limited warehouse space, but is essential for preventing mold contamination. Any exposure to water can result in mold growth forming. This is especially problematic in tropical or humid environments such as states like Florida, Texas, any basically any state in the South. Colder and dryers states such as the north eastern part of the united states fair better but are not immune from mold exposure.
Elevate Used Pallets off the Ground on Racks.
- By taking your pallets off the ground you can prevent water from any puddles on the ground floor and help keep them dryer.
Do not store pallets in an outdoor storage container or trailer.
- Warm and Humid outdoor trailers are a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Incoming deliveries should be unloading quickly and stored in a safe environment specially if you care about pallet quality. This is important a well if you are required to follow any international or local guidelines and or health/safety regulations
Maintain a ventilated warehouse and shipping environment.
Proper storage is critical for keeping pallets mold free. If you need to outdoor storage sheds are good option if there is not space inside your facility. Make sure the pallets are aligned property facing the openings to improve airflow.
For indoor storage make sure to use a well-lit and ventilated part of the warehouse. Spacing is important to increase ventilation. Stacked 2 – way entry stringer pallets can prevent to air movement on the stringer side. Circulation can
What to do if there is mold on your pallets?
If your infestation in limited it may be best to just cut your losses and throw them out.
There are chemicals which are EPA registered and FDA approved which applied to best used for removal. In our opinion is it best to just be upfront with your supplier about the issue and most of the time they will offer you a refund and replacement pallets