Pallet Mold: 4 Tips On How To Prevent Mold On Wood Pallets! (Part 1)

In a world where quality assurance measures are becoming increasingly stringent, mold endures as one of the greatest challenges facing companies in managing their wood pallet and packaging stocks. And yet it seems like mold should be easy enough to keep in check. In order for fungi to attack wood, a combination of oxygen, adequate temperature, a food source (the wood) and free or liquid water are all needed. By controlling moisture exposure, mold problems can largely be held at bay. With that in mind, here are some quick tips toward preventing mold.

pallet mold

How do you prevent mold on pallet wood?

  1. Choose a trusted pallet source. Keeping your pallets dry starts with buying them from a respected supplier with a stringent quality assurance program. By sourcing dry pallets at a moisture content of less than 19% and keeping them that way after arrival, most mold issues can be avoided. 
  2. Don’t rely on heat treatment (HT) of pallets to prevent mold. A common misconception lingers among supply chain professionals that the heat treatment of pallets as required by the ISPM 15 standard for export will eliminate mold. In fact, heat treatment to a minimum of 30 minutes at a core temperature of 56 degrees Celsius is a process designed to kill insects living in the wood, so that insects cannot be transported internationally to damage forests abroad. The reality is that heat treatment draws moisture and sugars in the wood to the surface, which can exacerbate the problem of mold, especially in hardwood pallets. Once the pallets are removed from the heating chamber, an ideal environment has been created for mold spores to colonize. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t expect heat treatment to eliminate your issues with pallet mold.
  3. Consider using softwood pallets. While some industries still insist on hardwood pallets, that situation is gradually changing. ISPM 15 compliant pallets manufactured from kiln-dried pine components can provide comparable service while eliminating the mold headaches associated with heat treatment chambers. Reputable pallet suppliers such as PalletOne can utilize Pallet Design Software (PDS) to convert your existing hardwood pallet to an optimal softwood design. 
  4. Create an annual springtime mold alert in your operations calendar. Spring is coming double-down on pallet storage best practices and increase vigilance as the weather gets warmer. For many companies, reports Keith Reinstettle, Vice President, Sales at PalletOne, the appearance of pallet mold is a predictable, annual event. Companies can too easily become complacent during the winter months when mold is less likely to take hold. But as the weather gets warmer, decisions to leave pallets outside in the rain or resting on a pad are much more likely to spell trouble.

 

By following the steps above, you can go a long way toward limiting your pallet mold challenges. In the next installment, we offer more crucial tips toward your mold-free pallet program. Be sure to read Quick Tips for Mitigating Mold on Pallets (Part 2)

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