Mold on pallets doesn’t reduce the integrity of a pallet, but it certainly isn’t pretty. There is also a risk of contaminating products, particularly if food or healthcare products come into direct contact with the pallets. The presence of mold can also cause a musty smell, which can also leach into the products they store and transport.
Mold spores are all around us, just looking for a warm, moist area to land and spread. A properly dried pallet, that is a pallet with a moisture content of 20% or less, is actually mold resistant, but removing moisture from your pallets may be easier said than done.
There are a variety of processes for drying pallets, such as heavy-duty industrial fans or kiln drying pallets during the manufacturing process. Both of these options can be costly, in addition, kiln drying may lead to split boards. Note that kiln drying pallets is not the same as heat treating pallets. Heat treating is meant to rid the wood from bugs, larvae and other pests, but does not ensure that the moisture content is reduced to the magic mold deterrent number of 20%.
How to avoid moldy pallets
The way you handle and store your pallets goes a long way to decrease their likelihood of mold contamination. Here are a few best practices to implement in your transport and storage practices:
- Do not leave pallets outside where they will be exposed to rain and high humidity, store them inside instead preferably in a climate controlled area.
- Unload pallets quickly.
- Don’t store pallets on the ground.
- Pallet storage areas should be well ventilated, as stagnant air hinders the evaporation process.
- Don’t use trailers to store pallets for an extended period of time. Trailers are warm and humid containers with little to no ventilation, the perfect combination to propagate mold spores.