paper in sick books, how to demold, heal?

Hello everyone, you all have been so helpful and knowing y ou love paper, thought some of you might love old books too. I am having a prob with some of the older books I buy off ebay. I have to ask now "Is this book free of odors, mildew, mustinesness and mold?" before I can bid. I have allergies and get actaully sick with a respiratory ickiness when I am explosed to what I imagine are mold spores in old books. That's in fact how I currenly got really sick .... I'd opened up, surprise, a package of two really sick books.

I live in the coldlands, and havve put them on the porch outdoors under the overhang so they are protected from wet. The weather has been below zero most nights and I am hoping I can freeze the mold out of them, then place them in the sunshine on a nice day and let their pages riffle, and then maybe they will be well again?

Does anyone know how to heal sick books so they get clear of that
a) nasty odor?
b) get clear of mildew/ mold, whatever that stuff is that makes me sick?

Seriously, going to go through reams and reams of old papers soon (my writings for the last many decades) which are clear of mold, but I feel certain are going to kick up allergies from the paper dust.

c) Does anyone know of a respirator that really works (not the paper kind on the elastic string) and is LIGHTWEIGHT and can be worn indoors for a long period of time?

so those are my three questions and any help would be VERY much appreciated. I love old books, always feel like I am saving them from destruction, except for this problem.

thank you
with kindest regards,

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not much hope

I've tried de-mildewing books for years, and I've never succeeded yet. I've even got so drastic as to spray them with something that works on other mildewy things, with no success.... Paper is really difficult to de-oderize. Too many pages, and it's quite porous, and so is the cover, and that glue in the binding.... Very difficult.

However, leaving them exposed to fresh air like you are doing will help reduce it, and I think the sun will do more good than the cold winter air. Sun seems to kill this stuf really fast.but how do you expose every page???


HEPA Filter


On the subject of respirators, look for one with a HEPA filter if you can find one. The ones that look like you're going into chemical warfare are better than the paper/elastic ones--they protect you from more stuff. I'm talking about the ones with eye protection built in--big goggles.

On the subject of mold in cellulose, you can't get rid of it. You can kill the live stuff and vacuum out some of the spores (again, HEPA filter on the vacuum), but you'll never get rid of it completely and if it ever gets damp again the stuff will grow again. Spores don't get kilt by sunshine, unfortunately. You'll have to keep it very dry to keep the spores from reactivating.

Personally, I think you're better off talking to a museum curator about restoration, but they'll likely tell you it's a lost cause. And with allergies to boot, you're not doing yourself any favors by keeping the books.

When you talk about houses and mold, you remove the moisture (and the delivery method) that gave the mold something to drink, then you scrub off the growing stuff with soap, then you dry it off again and vacuum everything real well, and shunt all the air that was inside outside to move the airborne spores outside. Then you cover the studs back over with wallboard and go on about your life. But if the water gets into the space again, the mold comes back.

Personally, I don't think you'll be reading those books for pleasure again. If you want to keep them in the house after you've done what decontam you need to do, I'd suggest keeping them in a plastic bag (preferably a vacuum sealed one) to make sure they stay nice and dry and don't let loose with spores inside your house.

Mold is everywhere in small amounts, but you don't need to go rolling out the red carpet. :)


mold on old books

I am not an expert but I am practical. I would suggest the following.Leave the book in an open position in a drying oven or normal oven with the door open and low temp. If you dont have this then put it in a large container covered in rice granules. This will absorb the moisture but it will take longer. Get a very good air filter respirator that covers your face. Sit outside on a nice windless day and spray each page with artists fixative or hairspray (one that will not be sticky when dry.) This will trap the spores in the pages and keep them from flying all over when you read.
I have not tested this but am sure it will work. Another idea will be to have the whole book scanned to PDF format and then either re-print and bound or you can read it from a computer screen. Get rid of the book or vac seal it .