How To Clean Pallet Wood For Indoor Use

Hey there, mate. Let me give you the lowdown on how to clean those grubby pallets for your next indoor project. Just like me sorting out the mess in my life, it ain’t glamorous, but with a bit of elbow grease, you’ll get there.

How To Clean Pallet Wood For Indoor Use

Step 1: Picking the Right Pallet

Avoid the Bad Apples: No Moldy or Stained Pallets

Look out for any black or green fuzz (mold) or any weird stains. These can be real health hazards and a pain to clean​​.

Nail It: Check for Nails and Screws

Make sure the nails aren’t too rusted or hard to remove. Rusty nails can give you tetanus, and that’s worse than a bad hangover​​.

Stay Safe: Avoid Chemical Spills

pallets with chemical spills

Some pallets might’ve been used to transport chemicals. Steer clear of any pallets that look like they’ve had a spill​​.

Step 2: Initial Cleaning

Blast Away the Grime: Power Washing

This is like giving the pallet a good shower. Use a power washer to blast off the dirt. Just make sure not to damage the wood. Start with a lower pressure and increase if needed. Wear some old clothes and goggles to protect yourself from flying dirt​​.

Power Washing

Old School Scrub: Good Ol’ Soap and Water

If you don’t have a power washer, a good scrub with soapy water will do. Use a stiff brush to get into the nooks and crannies. Rinse thoroughly afterward.

Step 3: Disinfection

Kill the Germs: Bleach Solution

Mix one part bleach with nine parts water to disinfect the wood. Be careful not to mix bleach with other cleaners, especially ammonia, unless you fancy a trip to the ER​​.

Rinse and Shine: Clean and Dry

After disinfecting, rinse the pallet with clean water and let it dry completely. You don’t want any moisture left that can lead to mold growth.

Step 4: Sanding

Smooth Operator: Sand the Surface

Sand the wood to remove any rough patches. Start with a rough grit (like 80) and work your way up to a finer grit (like 220)​​.

Dust Off: Clean the Sawdust

Wipe down the pallet with a damp cloth to remove any sawdust. This will give you a clean surface to work with for your project.

Step 5: Planing (Optional)

Go Pro: Use a Thickness Planer

If you want your pallet wood to look brand new, run it through a thickness planer. This will give it a smooth, uniform finish but be careful not to overdo it and make the wood too thin​​.

Safety Considerations

Stamp of Approval: Check for Treatment Stamps

pallets to avoid

Avoid pallets marked with “MB” for Methyl Bromide; it’s toxic. “HT” for Heat Treated or “DH” for Dielectric Heating are safer options​​. More on that here

Safe Bets: Get Pallets from Trusted Sources

Get your pallets from places like appliance stores, furniture stores, or hardware stores. These are less likely to have been exposed to harmful chemicals​​.

So there you have it, mate. With these steps, you’ll have those pallets cleaned up and ready for your next DIY masterpiece in no time. Just remember, take your time and do it right. Cheers!