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Thread: OT: How to Salvage Moldy Books & Magazines

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    Default OT: How to Salvage Moldy Books & Magazines

    Not completely OT as I need to clean out the garage, AKA future shop.

    Anyway, I have a bunch of books and magazines that were stored in moving boxes in the garage. About two years ago the water heater burst and they got soaked or at least the bottoms of the boxes did. So I have books and magazines that have mold and/or mildew on them. Pages and covers are also stuck together. Anybody know a good way to salvage them. Clean off and kill the mold/mildew. I donít want to use bleach as it may damage them and I have also heard that it does not actually kill the mold. So what to use and how to apply it?

    Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Alciatore
    Not completely OT as I need to clean out the garage, AKA future shop.

    Anyway, I have a bunch of books and magazines that were stored in moving boxes in the garage. About two years ago the water heater burst and they got soaked or at least the bottoms of the boxes did. So I have books and magazines that have mold and/or mildew on them. Pages and covers are also stuck together. Anybody know a good way to salvage them. Clean off and kill the mold/mildew. I don’t want to use bleach as it may damage them and I have also heard that it does not actually kill the mold. So what to use and how to apply it?

    Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.
    Just thinking outta the box here but how about making a bath with some anti fungal/mold additive and give the books a soak. Let all the mold release from the pages with some agitation and then a clean water rinse. Then you would need to dry the books while pressed flat with some weight to keep the pages from curling. The anti fungus additive should keep the books from molding while drying, along with some dry warm air flow? Just an idea.

    I have flattened curled books this way without the mold issue. The pages come out flat and crisp, not brittle crisp though They do tend to stick a lil but peel apart just fine. With some fanning of the pages its like nothing happened. Oh, and I would use distilled water for the soak water and the clean soak water..JR
    Last edited by JRouche; 05-09-2012 at 02:00 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Mouldy, Or
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    Default

    leave them in freezer. deep freeze if possible. it will kill the mold
    --
    Tom C
    ... nice weather eh?

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    Default

    Borax kills fungus and is also a good fire retardant.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    My mom used to sprinkle baking soda on old smelly books and put them in the sun. I think you're going to have to unstick the pages one at a time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Kill it with fire. I hate mold.

    That said, while no help now, in future get those plastic bins, they are MUCH better then cardboard boxes.

    A: Animals do not eat into plastic containers (I have seen them try! but they usually give up before they chew through!) and make nests in your cloths/books/etc, resulting in mouse feces/urine everywhere along with the mold.

    B: Resists water/humidity to prevent mold/water damage. Even from above. (Not a guarantee, I have seen a container left outside for 3 years and found it full of rusted tools. But then it might of been put away wet too)

    C: Easily transportable without the bottom falling out.

    D: stackable without crushing the contents, at least up to 100lbs or so.

    E: Can be stacked inside each other when empty.

    F: Easy enough to open and reclose, No tape to cut/replace. No need to ever unpack most boxes hence much easier to move the next time

    Note: the hard plastic ones are brittle and WILL smash into little bits if you drop them or subject them to heavy impact. Get the flexable plastic ones.
    Note: the flexable plastic ones are slightly more prone to having the sides 'creep' and suddenly collapse when stacked with excessive weight, often causing the stack to fall over. Put the heavyest boxes at the bottom and keep the stack light.
    Last edited by Black_Moons; 05-09-2012 at 01:18 PM.

  8. #8
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    Green Bay, WI
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    I can't answer the mold issue.

    I did buy some old machinist books, and they were stored in a basement and smelled bad (musty)
    I spread the pages open as best I could and put them in a box and filled it with kitty litter, After 3 months, I repeated it again but had other pages opened and exposed, and used the same kitty litter again. I did this 4 times in a little over a year to get rid of the smell.
    It works, but takes a long long time...no damage to the books however
    Rich

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Mount Clemens, Mi
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    You can use the plastic storage containers with lid and use the charcoal filter pads, to absorb the smell stand the books up right with the pages spread as much as possible. A small battery or electric fan helps to speed up the air movement. A flat container with baking soda will also help, or if the books are above the bottom it can be spread on the bottom.

    Standard commercial drying technique is freeze drying if you have some form of container to pull a vacuum on them then freeze them. May help speed up the process, I can tell you that it only pays when the book is very old and rare as it can take a while for the process to work.

    Sodium Carbonate is the active ingredient that is in the bottle. along with 95% inert material. that is what is the active mildew/mold killer.
    Glen
    Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
    I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
    All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    878

    Default

    I read somewhere that the pros use naptha to clean book covers. Don't ermember what they used for the paper though. I was looking into the same issue a while back.

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