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Clean, Dry, Repair and Disinfect Paper
By Jim Brown
If mold is detected on paper items such as book, photos, documents, paintings etc., you must take action fast to stop the problem and eliminate the source of moisture, allowing mold growth, and to remove mold and clean these items.
Controlling Environmental Conditions
Mold usually grows where temperatures and humidity levels allow it to flourish. Your efforts to remove mold must start by controlling environmental conditions and eliminate the source of moisture. This process will guarantee that mold will not grow back.
Mold is nourished by moisture. Reducing humidity levels is essential to stopping the mold growth. Avoid increasing the temperature as heat will not help drying out the affected area and, therefore, will not promote fast mold elimination. In fact, additional heat in the presence of moisture will cause mold to grow even faster.
Dry out paper items as soon as possible since mold will normally grow on wet materials within 24-48 hours. If you cannot dry out the damaged paper items within 24-48 hours, freeze dry them. Freezing paper will not eliminate the mold, but it prevents mold from further growing.
Especially with paper items that are irreplaceable, avoid 'quick-cure solutions'. You might have heard about these "quick" methods for removing mold such as spraying Lysol or cleaning mold damaged items with bleach. These techniques may actually cause additional damage to paper items and are also often ineffective.
Hire a Remediation Professional
Depending on the extent of the damage and the type of mold-damaged paper items, you may want to consider hiring a remediation company to salvage your paper items. Studies have shown that when treated by specialist, paper items have better salvage chances thanks to the knowledge, experience, and the equipment used by remediation companies.
This fact is even more important when papers have a sentimental value, it is irreplaceable, or it is of great value. This is why large collection owners such as libraries and museums always hire a remediation professional do remove mold.
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