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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » A turn of the page » » Mildew on Books (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dan Magyari
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San Francisco, CA
173 Posts

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I live near the Ocean, and am starting to get mildew on a few of my older books.

My books are on bookshelves against an exterior wall of the house.

What is the prescribed way to care for books in a humid environment (e.g., if I can't move the books, what are my alternatives for proper care).

Thanks in advance.
Everything you do -- everything -- has your signature on it. Regardless of whether you intend it that way or not. And that's how people perceive you.-George Ledo
RevJohn
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Oregon City Oregon, Oregon
2472 Posts

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When I was in the Bay Area, and we had a room in our apartment complex that we needed to get dry (i.e., less humid) we used some of those pelets that you get at ACE hardware (or whereever)... There was a container that you poured them into, and they sucked the moister from the air. If it isn't to humid, a bag of these pellets can last a month.

All that being said... I wonder if there is an appliance (i.e., electrical version of this).

John
Kevin Connolly
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New Jersey
1329 Posts

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Try using a de-humidifier. Also, save the used dry sheets of Cling-Free, et al, and they will take out the smell. Must be used first!
Please visit my website.
www.houdinihimself.com

Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
Dan Magyari
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San Francisco, CA
173 Posts

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Thanks for the ideas, any other ideas or devices I may consider. I've used the pellets in closets before - they work very well at absorbing moisture in the air. And, although a dehumidifer is a great idea - these bookshelves are in my dining room and I'd really rather not do that unless it's a last resort.

One last request, how do you treat a book once it has mildew on it, without destroying it.
Everything you do -- everything -- has your signature on it. Regardless of whether you intend it that way or not. And that's how people perceive you.-George Ledo
Paul Chosse
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V.I.P.
1955 - 2010
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First of all, Dan, get them away from your other book! Mildew is a living organism, and will spread to your other material! There are several ways to treat mildewed book, but a professional book resorer is best able to do this for you. You can try this: Remember, you are NOT trying to wipe off the mildew. If you leave even a single spore the stuff will continue to grow. So, you are trying to KILL it. A Cotton swab, dipped in alcohol, can be rubbed over the affected area, but be careful, as you may do more harm than good. It is a slow and painstaking process to clean a book if there is any significant amount of mildew in it. I haven't checked the web for solutions, but I'm sure if you do that, looking for rare book restoration information, you'll find several sites with helpful hints.

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
Dan Magyari
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San Francisco, CA
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Thanks Paul. I appreciate the help. Will try the alcohol and further search on the web.
Everything you do -- everything -- has your signature on it. Regardless of whether you intend it that way or not. And that's how people perceive you.-George Ledo
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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With well over 200 books totally covered in mildew, for $150 we got a dumpster and trashed them to get them out of the house and out of harms way.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Dan Magyari
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San Francisco, CA
173 Posts

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Alcohol seemed to work for what I had Paul - thanks. Now to work on prevention.

Pete, I understand you went through a flood recently - sorry to hear about that - I can sympathize. My parents suffered a total loss of everything in their house due to Katrina. Fortunately, after deconstructing - they are now reconstructing.

Thanks for all the help guys.
Everything you do -- everything -- has your signature on it. Regardless of whether you intend it that way or not. And that's how people perceive you.-George Ledo
jskalon
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Shorewood, IL.
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I had a flood in my basement a few years ago and lost all the magic I had collected since childhood. Anyway, I don't know how to treat the mildewed books, but here is something that works great to get rid of the mildew smell. Take charcoal (used for b-bq) and place them in several corners of the room. We used it after cleaning the basement with Shock-It (a pool cleaning chemical). We had 4 feet of water in the basement and you would never know it.
Jack Skalon

"That's my story and I'm stickin' to it"
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
18558 Posts

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We brought in experts at cleaning out and ridding mildew (Insurance paid for it) and now the basement is the cleanest, neatest room in the house (after 5-feet of mud and water)!
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
hugmagic
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As for the mildew in the basement. common household bleach will work to clean the mold out. The pool chlorine is much more concentrated and you have to be careful using it as chlorine gas (fatal) can form. After you clean everything, rinse it two or three times to remove any chlorine residue. That residue can corrode the concrete. I have a EPA water license and had to learn all this stuff when I worked in the field.

As for the mildew, I will refer you to Leo Benke's book "The Conservation of Magic". It is a great book that really gives some good practical advice how to care for your magic, including book. To briefly paraphase, mildew is fungus. You need to expose each page to sunlight to kill the fungus. Then you can take a soft rub eraser and remove the fungi after it has been killed. There are also some spray on disinfectants that help.

I can do justice to Leo's work here. Get the book at Book Group, PO Box 27716, Las Vegas, NV 89216. Leo was the first archivist for the Copperfield collection.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
ehands
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Mississippi
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I live in the humid SE and think the adjustable dehumidifier is one of my best purchases. Makes the home more comfortable for us and uncomfortable for mildew. My problem was confined to a few books, so I exposed them to sunlight on dry fall days. If I buy suspect books, I leave them ziplocked with kitty litter for a month afterwhich they emerge smelling fresh. I have heard the anti-static sheets, which are sold to be put in clothes driers, suppress mildew. I don't know if something that simple would help, but might be worth a try.
"Oh look, we have created enchantment." Blanche DuBois
cartoon cowboy
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Lancaster, PA
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I have also had luck using kitty litter. And never, ever store books in plastic bags to keep them safe! They act like little greenhouses!
Happy Trails,
- CC Smile
Erick Hershey
magic.hersheyarts.com
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