Mystery brown spots all over sofa?

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Apr 18, 2017
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Trace Coulter
#1
So I did a sofa cleaning today. I was kind of in a rush so I didn't inspect it all that closely before starting. Looked and felt like something synthetic like I do every day and pretty oily so I went ahead and presprayed with some bio-break in a pump up. I use bio break a lot because that plus citrus solv really cuts through suntan lotion that I see almost every job. While I was cleaning, i noticed these brown specks, basically all over, except it wasnt really on the bottom front of sofa or the backside. And some sides of cushions had very little. As soon as I finished extracting I thought maybe there was some natural fabric mixed in, so I sprayed the entire thing down with Fabset and did a dry vacuum of it all. It didnt really help much. Customer said she was just glad it was clean and that she probably wouldnt really notice it. Anyways, it may have been there before starting. Any idea what causes this? This is in a very humid area close to the beach.

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OldCarpetVet

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Nov 2, 2014
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Richard Santoro
#2
I really dont like going by photos because film lies and lies well. But I have a gut feeling I am correct . As soon as I read your last sentence and looked at the photos I thought to myself...That looks like yellow mold. Ask if they go away and shut the air conditioning off for any length of time. Here in Sarasota, Florida where I live you can never turn off the A/C for any great length of time. If you do, the yellow mold will surely attack.

Where are you located?
 
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Apr 18, 2017
38
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Trace Coulter
#3
I really dont like going by photos because film lies and lies well. But I have a gut feeling I am correct . As soon as I read your last sentence and looked at the photos I thought to myself...That looks like yellow mold. Ask if they go away and shut the air conditioning off for any length of time. Here in Sarasota, Florida where I live you can never turn off the A/C for any great length of time. If you do, the yellow mold will surely attack.

Where are you located?
Oh thank you. Makes sense. Ivr seen similar weird stuff here before. Im in Maui, Hawaii. And NO ONE here other than me runs AC very much at all. So this place has had many years of not much AC.
 
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OldCarpetVet

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#4
Oh thank you. Makes sense. Ivr seen similar weird stuff here before. Im in Maui, Hawaii. And NO ONE here other than me runs AC very much at all. So this place has had many years of not much AC.
Hmmm....Hawaii, eh. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there's not a lot of humidity in Hawaii, is there? Humidity is usually the culprit for causing yellow mold.
I would check other furniture pieces and see if it has the same spots. If they do, then it's yellow mold. And if its yellow mold then it would be all over the place and not just the one sofa.
If not, then in all probability
its something else.
 

jack zerkie

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Jun 27, 2008
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#5
It's just florida mold very common here most people are here part time and set the temp very high to save $$ and no air movement causes problems. Iv'e on water foe 37 yrs and I have some also from open slider doors. Just part of paradise. jz
 
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wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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#7
That's definitely mold and it will not usually respond to normal cleaning. It can be pretty difficult to near impossible to remove on some fabrics. I've observed mold growth numbers of times and it seems in almost every case that it likes to adhere to natural fibers or other things like leather, wood, etc. I've even seen mold grow like crazy in carpet that had heavy food and beverage spillage, particularly milk. On fabrics it forms those smaller spots most of the time because it's air borne so it may cover an entire area. On one occasion a woman left her house for several months closed w/o a/c or any ventilation. When she came back to town virtually every fabric in her home was sprinkled with mold. Couches, chairs, drapes, etc. all had mold all over them. It did NOT grow on ANY synthetic materials as best I could tell. It clearly gravitated towards the naturals.

That is likely a printed fabric with either all cotton or cotton synthetic mix would be my guess. I'm thinking all cotton. It might not be possible to remove all those specs. I would not attempt to do any heroic measures on that w/o a signed waiver stating the risks involved which are color loss, texture distortion, and bleeding primarily. Just cover yourself or don't do it.

I have successfully removed mold using peroxides on fabrics numbers of times. In fact, I personally know of nothing else that has a prayer of working, but I don't know everything. I've even used peroxide based encap using a hand shampoo method the last time I ran into a pretty bad mold situation and it worked extremely well. The shampoo allowed for scrubbing with both a horse hair brush and a sea sponge. However, there are some risks involved with that fabric. I wouldn't touch it with a 10 ft. pole w/o a signed waiver. Is it possible to remove those spots? Yes. Could you do harm to the fabric? Absolutely! If they have a separate pillow with the same fabric would be the best place to test or one side of one cushion. An arm rest cover works too.
 
Last edited:
Likes: OldCarpetVet
Apr 18, 2017
38
18
8
25
Real Name
Trace Coulter
#8
Hmmm....Hawaii, eh. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there's not a lot of humidity in Hawaii, is there? Humidity is usually the culprit for causing yellow mold.
I would check other furniture pieces and see if it has the same spots. If they do, then it's yellow mold. And if its yellow mold then it would be all over the place and not just the one sofa.
If not, then in all probability
its something else.
Oh yeah, Hawaii is humid as hell. Where I'm at it is like 75% humidity 365 days a year. Thanks for the help!
 
Likes: OldCarpetVet
Apr 18, 2017
38
18
8
25
Real Name
Trace Coulter
#9
That's definitely mold and it will not usually respond to normal cleaning. It can be pretty difficult to near impossible to remove on some fabrics. I've observed mold growth numbers of times and it seems in almost every case that it likes to adhere to natural fibers or other things like leather, wood, etc. I've even seen mold grow like crazy in carpet that had heavy food and beverage spillage, particularly milk. On fabrics it forms those smaller spots most of the time because it's air borne so it may cover an entire area. On one occasion a woman left her house for several months closed w/o a/c or any ventilation. When she came back to town virtually every fabric in her home was sprinkled with mold. Couches, chairs, drapes, etc. all had mold all over them. It did NOT grow on ANY synthetic materials as best I could tell. It clearly gravitated towards the naturals.

That is likely a printed fabric with either all cotton or cotton synthetic mix would be my guess. I'm thinking all cotton. It might not be possible to remove all those specs. I would not attempt to do any heroic measures on that w/o a signed waiver stating the risks involved which are color loss, texture distortion, and bleeding primarily. Just cover yourself or don't do it.

I have successfully removed mold using peroxides on fabrics numbers of times. In fact, I personally know of nothing else that has a prayer of working, but I don't know everything. I've even used peroxide based encap using a hand shampoo method the last time I ran into a pretty bad mold situation and it worked extremely well. The shampoo allowed for scrubbing with both a horse hair brush and a sea sponge. However, there are some risks involved with that fabric. I wouldn't touch it with a 10 ft. pole w/o a signed waiver. Is it possible to remove those spots? Yes. Could you do harm to the fabric? Absolutely! If they have a separate pillow with the same fabric would be the best place to test or one side of one cushion. An arm rest cover works too.

Thanks, this sofa is a little older and she isn't all that concerned about it. She said she was just happy it is clean now. So I definitely won't be messing with it anymore.
 
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wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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#10
Thanks, this sofa is a little older and she isn't all that concerned about it. She said she was just happy it is clean now. So I definitely won't be messing with it anymore.
I figured as much, but all I can say is you WILL run into this again. No doubt about it. IMHO, peroxide or a shampoo and peroxide seem to work the best for me. Mold can be pretty stubborn to remove sometimes. Done it a number of times w/o a problem. Just be aware of the risks and protect yourself.