Monday, September 10, 2012

How to Remove Mold and Mildew from Books

I live in the San Francisco Bay area on top of a hill in a very foggy area. Needless to say, mildew is the enemy of someone like me who collects books. And, that's not even mentioning the 11,000 or so books stored in Bodega Bay... The Bay part is the tip off in both cases. Lots of humidity, in this case in terms of fog.

This article on Biblio.com's Blog is particularly relevant to my library, not because of new mildew but mostly for the books I buy at flea markets and used bookstores. In the past, I've put books in the freezer if I suspected mildew, but this article more to say and great directions for removing mold and mildew.

Remember, mold and mildew live off of organic material (leather, wood, paper, cloth) and over time their presence can weaken the structure of the book, stain the cover and pages, and prompt negative effects in your health, especially for folks with allergies or asthma. It is important to identify the active growth of mold and mildew and remove it before it spreads through your entire library!

How to Identify Mold and Mildew (from Biblio.com) http://www.biblio.com/blog/2010/07/identify-prevent-remove-...

Mold: Mold is a type of fungus that can and will grow on anything, as long as it can find a food source and the appropriate humidity for its development. It can develop in patches of threads, thick spider-webs or fuzzy spots, and it appears most often on natural, porous surfaces such as cotton, linen, silk, wool, leather, and paper. It reproduces by sending out clouds of spores, hence it’s ability to “leap” from book to book.
You probably have mold growth on your book if you observe any of the following problems:
  • the presence of fuzzy growth, in just about any color you can imagine
  • stringy, white filaments stretching across porous surfaces
  • evidence of past water damage
  • strange spots or stains
Mildew: Mold is often accompanied by mildew. While they share some similarities, they are not the same kind of fungus. However, any moldy or otherwise soiled surface can provide a nutritive source for mildew, and beyond that it requires the prime temperature and humidity level to make it appear and spread like wildfire.
You probably have mildew growth on your book if you observe any of the following problems:
  • “Old book smell” – that ubiquitous scent is often caused by mildew, even after it is removed
  • a thin haze, a patch of spots, or a powdery flaking layer, normally white, black, or grey on the surface of the book or paper
If you identify mold or mildew on any of your books, magazines, or paper ephemera, remove them from your collection immediately!

Go here for the remedies.

Hat Tip to Bill Gottfried for this link to Biblio.com's Blog.

4 comments:

Gram said...

When I got smelly-only books at yard sales I brought them home and put them in a bag with clay cat litter for about a month, Worked every time. Dee

Anonymous said...

I save old cardboard detergent boxes (like Tide)
for just this purpose.

When i get a book that smells of mildew, I enclose it in
the old detergent box for a week or 2.
It seems to remove the mildew smell and make it readable. I still isolate it from other books though.
Kay

Ps the word verification is very very difficult to read

Anonymous said...

I save old cardboard detergent boxes (like Tide)
just for this purpose.

When i get a book that smells of mildew, I enclose it in
the old detergent box for a week or 2.
It seems to remove the mildew smell and make it readable.

I still isolate it from other books though.
Kay

Diane Blackburn said...

Mold and mildew can make the air inside your home feel suffocating. If there’s a book or any item in your house that has mold and mildew, better remove it to prevent the situation from getting worse. Additionally, call in the professionals so they can inspect your home better. They might find mold and mildew formations that your untrained eye cannot discover.