Spring is finally here, which means that countless businesses need to take a closer look at their wood pallet supply for mold growth!
It’s safe to say that everyone loves the spring weather that we’re currently experiencing throughout the United States, especially the countless Texans that went through an unprecedented winter this year!
But one of the springtime concerns that countless business leaders need to take into account as the weather starts to warm up is being on the lookout for wood pallet mold. Just about every industry utilizes wood pallets, and of course there are always specific industries like food and pharmaceuticals that are always on the lookout for things like mold growth no matter what time of year it is.
But the hard truth is that spring just so happens to be the time of year when everyone can experience out of control pallet mold, and this is mainly because spring conditions can help spores to quickly colonize and contaminate all sorts of wooden equipment.
Mold growth within your business can also pose a serious health hazard to both your employees and consumers, so here’s our comprehensive overview to help your business be more prepared for pallet mold growth mitigation this spring!
What Exactly Is Wood Pallet Mold?
Pallet mold is technically a fungus that produces spores that then feed off wood pallet surfaces, but this type of mold can of course feed off of other materials as well. You’ll be able to recognize wood pallet spores in certain scenarios as either black, orange, white, green or purple spots; however, some pallet mold is pretty difficult to recognize.
The most difficult part of managing pallet mold growth is that it’s not always so easy to identify, and sometimes people mistake wood staining as mold.
But if you’re not exactly sure if you’re experiencing mold growth on your pallet supply, you can always reach out to us and send us pictures to get our advice on what exactly you’re seeing.
What Causes Pallet Growth On Wood Pallets?
Mold exposure can occur on wood pallets in a whole variety of different ways, including during the production stages or within your company’s facilities. Of course answering how your pallets were exposed isn’t necessarily as important as simply reducing the specific conditions that initiate mold growth in the first place.
The four key elements that mold spores need to survive include the following:
- Moisture: Moisture is undoubtedly the biggest factor that mold needs in order to grow, and if your wood supply has a 19% moisture rate or higher then there’s a possibility that spore growth will occur. This also means that pallet supplies shouldn’t be stored in facilities with a humidity rate over 60%, because this will lead to much higher chances of pallet contamination. What tends to happen is that pallets are more prone to being exposed to increased moisture during spring conditions!
- Oxygen: Mold will also always need oxygen in order to thrive, but of course no one can actually vacuum-seal their pallet supply in a vault! So this key element towards mold growth really is unavoidable.
- Warm Temperatures: The weather is starting to rapidly warm up across the entire country this spring, and the vast majority of pallet molds will thrive much more efficiently during warmer temperatures. The ideal pallet mold growth temperature is anywhere in between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Their Food Source (i.e. your pallets): Mold grows on specific materials because these materials end up being its source of food, and within the pallet industry it’s important to note that there are plenty of proteins, structural polymers and sugars found within your wood pallets that mold loves.
Can You Effectively Prevent Pallet Mold Through Heat Treated Pallets?
Although heat treated pallets do a great job at preparing businesses for all sorts of various supply chain uses, it’s a common misconception that heat treatment will prevent mold development on pallets for long periods of time.
Heat treatment will go a long way in terms of eliminating moisture levels within your pallets, which can prevent mold growth; however, certain conditions can still lead to mold development even if you have a heat treated pallet supply.
The regulatory ISPM-15 heat treatment that’s widely used throughout the pallet industry is more oriented towards killing insects that may be living within the wood, and it’s also meant to prevent pest infestations during transport.
Preparing Your Company’s Pallet Supply This Spring
Every business is going to need to make a cognizant effort towards eliminating the types of conditions that lead to mold development in order to protect their pallet supply over the next couple of months, and for the most part this means keeping your pallets as dry as possible.
The following are some best practice tips to keep in mind when it comes to limiting pallet mold development at your facilities:
- Don’t store your pallets within a trailer. These darker, humid areas can end up being the perfect climate for mold development. So if you end up receiving a large pallet shipment, you should be sure to unload your new or used pallets as soon as possible.
- Do your best at storing your pallet supply indoors, and within cool, well ventilated, dry places.
- Be sure to keep your pallets out of all sorts of wet weather conditions, particularly rainstorms. If it’s not possible for you to store your pallets within a securely covered location, then be sure to use large rain tarps to cover them up when the forecast is looking like rain. But if you do use tarps during rainstorms, be sure to remove these tarps once the rain has ended to avoid creating an inadvertent humid space.
- If you can, try to place your pallets off the ground. This will help better ensure that none of your pallets are resting within any run-off or puddles.
- No matter where exactly you store your pallets, be sure to provide some space in between your stacked rows. This will help create some added circulation that’s needed to keep your pallet supply dry.
Reach Out To The Pallet Guys To Learn More About How We Can Help You Prevent Mold Growth This Spring!
The Pallet Guys have supported countless companies with their pallet supply needs for many years, so we know just how important it is to be on the lookout for pallet mold during this time of year.
Feel free to reach out to us online or call us at 832-895-7555 to get in touch with our specialists and learn more about how we can help you and your facility avoid pallet mold growth this spring!