Having treated many mould infested papers, books, documents and
photographic materials - the easiest and cheapest way is the best: air
dry them, on end if they will stand, on blotter or any other absorbent
material -even newsprint (but not printed newspaper). Outside on a
sunny day is best because UV kills mould -in which case you might want
to lay them out to expose the pages. It only takes 30 minutes or less.
If you dont have access to sunlight, then inside you can add a gentle
fan to circulate the air.
If you have a lot of wet material, wrapping in plastic and freezing
in a chest freezer -buys you time, and avoids growing mould. It does
not kill mould. It simply deactivates it. When defrosted, the mould can
grow anew. The trick is to freeze asap and defrost slowly, unwrapping
and gradually opening and drying PASSIVELY. And then, when dry the mould
can be brushed/vacuumed off. If you are interested in keeping the books
after reading them, dont put them back in the same conditions. Keep them
cool and dry, with some air circulation.
Heat -hot enough will kill mould, but it also destroys the paper,
warps the bindings, and of course, melts plastic. Baking is a waste of
energy -not necessary or good for any paper based artefacts. I wouldnt
put mouldy material in anything to do with food -for the good of your
health. Freeze drying is used only as a last resort for rare books or
precious documents that have got wet and would otherwise not be readable
at all. This treatment takes a long long time, is very costly and even
then the bindings may be destroyed and pages may crumble.
For what its worth...
Bev Lambert, Conservator
Provincial Archives of Newfoundland & Labrador
The Rooms Corp
9 Bonaventure Ave., St. John's, NL, Canada
>>> [log in to unmask] 7/1/2006 1:58:46 PM >>>
--- David Lennick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Actually if anyone has an answer
> to this or to the related problem of musty record jackets and
> labels (a problem I'm facing with
> records I've been buying from an estate, where there was a flooded
> basement), let us know.
Book conservators usually place them in a vacuum chamber and
draw the moisture out through evaporation. If you heat the
paper you will probably both warp it and make it brittle.
A good way to preserve the book before the vacuum treatment
is to freeze it. Maybe you could have it freeze-dried by
a firm that processes freeze dried food?
David Breneman [log in to unmask]
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