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Mold and Mildew

Can you remove mildew from papers and books?


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July 15, 2015 6:23PM

In damp summer weather, keep papers and books as dry as possible to help control mold growth.

Remove any dry,loose mold from paper with a clean, soft cloth. If mildewed paper is damp, dry it first--in an airy place, if possible.

To dry wallpaper, heat the room for several hours or even days to dry the plaster as well as the paper. Plaster should be dried slowly to prevent cracking.

If mildewed paper is washable, wipe it gently with a cloth wrung out of thick soapsuds, then with clear water. Take care not to wet the paper more than necessary. Do not scrub it. Finally pat with a soft, dry cloth. If stains remain, bleach with a solution of a household bleach, then sponge with a cloth wrung out of clear water. For small stains, a commercial ink eradicator may be useful.

Spread pages of books out fanwise to air. If the books are very damp, sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder between the leaves to take up the moisture. Leave starch or powder on for several hours then brush off.

[Info from the Home Maintenance And Repair Database at the Michigan State University website]

From a few other internet pages I got these suggestions for removing mildew and mildew smell from books:

Physical removal: Dust away any loose mildew with a fine brush. If the book is damp, dry it completely. Then apply hydrogen peroxide or denatured alcohol to the book with a lint-free cloth to kill the mildew. Blot away excess liquid and dry the book thoroughly.

Chemical removal: Remove dark mildew stains with diluted peroxide bleach or lemon juice. Apply sparingly and dry thoroughly afterward. Dry the book in the sun if you use lemon juice. I understand that lemon juice is acidic which is not a friend of paper. I don't know about peroxide though.

Smell removal: Use activated charcoal and or baking soda in a sealed container to remove smell.

While doing any of the above wear a mask! This prevents you from inhaling any of the mold or dust mites.