Mold or mildew in your home is frustrating and can be particularly troublesome when found on books or paper items that have sentimental value. If you find a moldy book in your collection, your first instinct may be to toss your beloved read – but don’t fret. Many books may be cleaned and remediated. Read on to learn how to save your favorite books from mold and mildew.
Remember, exposure to mold may put you or your family at risk of serious health problems. Stay safe and choose Art Recovery Technologies for professional mold removal. Call (800) 227-0796 or request service online to get started.
Before you can remediate the damage, you need to know what you’re working with.
Mold — A telltale sign of mold is a fuzzy growth in any color, or white stains across the book pages. If you know you’ve had a water damage event in the past, you can assume your book has mold. Removing the mold quickly after an incident is the best way to avoid any infections or irritations.
Mildew — If your books have an odd smell or you notice spots and powdery flaking, mildew could be present on your books. Any abnormal smell coming from your book is a sign of moisture and should be removed to prevent future mildew growth and book damage.
If you find a small number of books with signs of mold or mildew growth, you may choose to start with DIY cleaning solutions, including:
For a dry book cover, use a soft cloth and clean the book cover with diluted alcohol. Make sure to use gentle strokes so as not to damage the cover of the book. If the cover is leather, you can use the same method, but make sure to test the alcohol solution on a non-visible spot to make sure it won’t create a discoloration.
For a wet book cover, shake excess water from the surface of the book. Gently blot the cover of the book to remove water that has seeped into the pages. Place paper towels between the cover and the contents of the book and apply gentle pressure. Repeat as necessary. Once you feel your book is beginning to dry, sunlight or fans can help speed up the drying process.
Dry Book Cleaning
If the book is dry, slide a sheet of wax paper between each affected page to eliminate the spreading of mold. Use a soft brush on each affected page to remove any mold or mildew. Next lightly dampen the impacted area with hydrogen peroxide or diluted alcohol, applied with a clean towel or paper towel, to eliminate the opportunity for this fungus to regrow. Remove the wax paper after the diluted alcohol has dried.
If your book is currently wet, time is of the essence! Don’t attempt to brush or wipe the pages, as they will easily tear or smear. Instead, place the book in a plastic bag and set it in the freezer until you can give it proper attention to stop the impact of water damage. When you are ready, take your book out of the freezer and let it thaw. Then, place paper towels or rags between each page of the book and wrap the whole book in a towel. The next step is to put a heavy item on top to press the moisture into the blotters. Repeat the process as needed. Once you feel your book is beginning to dry, direct sunlight or a light fan can help speed up the drying process. Once dried, remove the blotters.
Remember, exposure to mold may pose a risk to your health. If you’re concerned about cleaning moldy books in your home, call Art Recovery Technologies. Our trained technicians can help remediate damaged books, off-site – keeping you and your family safe from prolonged mold exposure.
Looking to avoid repeat issues with moldy books? Check out these tips:
Run a Dehumidifier – High humidity is one the top reason books in your home become moldy. By running a dehumidifier in rooms that are used to store books, you can reduce the risk of future mold growth.
Use the Sun – The instant a book gets wet, immediately lay it in direct sun to kill mold spores. This will prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
No Plants Allowed – Even though houseplants have many benefits, they increase the moisture in the air. Consider keeping them out of your library or office.
Dry Immediately – Drying wet books immediately with absorbent materials layered between each page can lower the chance of mold or mildew from developing. The longer you let the damp book sit, the higher the chance it will develop mold and mildew problems.
Keep Your Books Clean – Mold and mildew spores are attracted to dirty surfaces. This means stockpiling or hoarding tendencies can increase spores, mold, and mildew.
Many of the techniques listed above are best suited for small incidents. If you’re in need of large-scale water damage or restoration services, the team at ART provides cleaning, mold removal, and water damage restoration for artwork, taxidermy, and many other items. To connect with your local ART office, complete our online contact form or call us at (800) 227-0796 today.
Got some soaked gadgets, too? Our colleagues at Electronic Restoration Services can restore water-damaged electronics.