Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, mold will attack your
books(records). An unexpected leak will occur, your area of the country will experience a particularly rainy season, or someone will drop off a box of old books(records) and release spores into the air before you can stop them. Whatever the circumstance, one day you see that dreaded black (or white) fuzzy stuff on your books(records). So how do you treat them?
First, let's talk about what you'll need to combat the problem. If you have allergies or respiratory problems, you might want to consider a dust mask(Sactown?). You can find one at any hardware store or order a supply of them from an archival products vendor. They cost less than $2. You may also want to consider protective clothing, such as a smock or other cover-up. You will also need:
1- Ethyl alcohol.
2- Vacuum cleaner, an electrostatic duster, or soft-bristled brush.
3- Commercial disinfectant (i.e. Simple Green, Lysol, etc.).
4- Trash bags.
5- Paper towels.
First, take the mold-infected books to a well-ventilated area. You may work outdoors or indoors, but if the latter, run an electric fan to increase air movement. Close off the room from other areas of the building, including blocking the air circulation vents if you're running an air conditioner. The last thing you want to do is blow mold spores into your collection.
Your goal is to make the mold go dormant, and, when it is, it will appear dry and powdery rather than soft and fuzzy. This will allow you to remove the mold residue more easily without staining the
book(record). One way to deal with active (fuzzy) mold is to stand the affected books(records) on edge with the boards slightly opened so that air can blow across the pages. Rapidly moving air will dry out the moisture and desiccate the mold spores, rendering them inactive. Because ultraviolet rays from sunlight will kill mold, you also can take the books(records) outdoors and place them in the sun and a mild breeze for a short time (not longer than an hour).
books(records) are dry and the mold has become powdery, a vacuum cleaner or electrostatic duster can be used to remove as much of the inactive mold as possible from the covers of the books(records). (In lieu of these, a soft paintbrush can be used if you must, but again, you will be scattering spores if you do so.) Dust slowly to allow the vacuum or electrostatic duster to do its job and to keep the spores from being released into the air. If using a vacuum, be especially careful around delicate books(records). Using a brush attachment or covering the end of the hose with cheesecloth will guard against damaging pages with too much suction. Pay particular attention to the following areas: the cover's joints, the interior of the spine, and edges of the text block. A soft-bristled brush may be used for stubborn growth. After all the mold has been brushed away, the outside of the books'(records') covers can be wiped with a solution of ethyl alcohol. This acts as a mild solvent to remove some of the outer staining. Care must be taken not to wet the area too much. Also, if you're working with older books(records), test the alcohol on an inconspicuous area first. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Q-Tips work well for this because they telegraph any bleeding of color.] The dyes used in older books often are not colorfast. In these cases, you will want to dab the covers gently rather than wiping.
Next, examine the insides of the
books(records). In many cases, mold stains will be found on the inside of the binding, in or near the hinges and at the head and tail. The stains can be gently swabbed with ethyl alcohol, but it is possible that they will not be completely removed. Bleaching is not recommended, however, because bleach can cause the paper to deteriorate rapidly, especially in humid conditions. However, if staining is very bad, a cloth lightly dampened with a mild bleach solution can be used provided you follow it with plain water and take care not to make the book(record) wet.
books(records) to their shelves, make sure that you thoroughly clean the shelves with Lysol or other disinfectant and that the area is completely dry. It might also be helpful to keep a record of where the problem areas were for future reference.
Next time I'll address a related problem - how to salvage a wet
book(records) - and also cover several other cosmetic fixes.
And man, after reading that site I am a paranoid mofo... Mold and Mildew are like the Record Plague! Don't "infect" the rest of your collection...