Got Mold?

How to detect mold, how to get rid of it, and how to prevent it.

Got Mold?

How to Detect it, Causes, How to get rid of it, How to Prevent It.

What is mold?

Petri dish with mold, eeew. The last thing you want on your collectables.

Mold is a fungus. It can grow on anything. In this article, I will discuss the causes of mold growth and the disposable of the dormant mold. Mold can grow on any porous surface, whether it’s a document, book, poster, record album jacket, trading card, postcard, etc. if the conditions are conducive to its growth.

Mold spots can appear as stains on old paper

Mold can be detected not just by sight (odd spots or stains, webby substance, white filaments, fuzzy growth) but by odor (damp, musty,”old book smell”) or the presence of mites (small gray/white insects that feed on mold embedded in the paper). Whether you see it, smell it or notice mites in your storage area, you’ll want to isolate the items in question to identify the problem further and keep the mold from spreading to the rest of your collection and of course, eradicate it. Mold spores are everywhere and harmless in and of themselves. It’s when the spores are activated by the “right” conditions that they grow and spread. When activated (generally by moisture) the mold appears as a fuzzy growth. It sends out clouds of spores which move rapidly from item to item.

What are the conditions that cause mold growth?

Lack of circulation in your storage area, high humidity, damp walls and floors, dust and dirt, high temperatures and of course direct contact with water from flooding. If your collections are in attics or basements, it is highly recommended that they are moved somewhere that the temperature, humidity, light, and air can be regulated. That means basements, garages, and attics are inappropriate places to store collections. Protect your investments and create a proper storage space for them!

Once you have removed the mold infested items from the rest of your collection, if they are still damp or wet, drying them out to destroy the mold is the next step. If you are not able to immediately start the drying process, you can put the items in a zipper reclosing plastic bag and put it in the freezer. Be sure you don’t cross-contaminate food when doing this. When you are able, remove the affected items from the freezer and allow them to thaw before starting the mold killing process.

It is essential to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when removing active mold. Work in a room that has plenty of air circulation. If the items you are drying out are soaking wet, remove excess moisture by placing them between absorbent towels. If dampness is the issue, put the pieces on racks to dry them out. Use rapid movement using a circulating fan or hair dryer to complete the task.  Once completely dry the mold will appear dry and powdery. Putting wet paper articles in the sun will also kill mold spores. However if left too long, the sun will cause fading and dry the paper (cardboard) out which ultimately will contribute to its break down. So vigilance is required if using this method of drying.

Now you can vacuum the dormant mold. This process should be done with caution as well. Using a Hepa vacuum with variable speed settings and a personal protection suit with a face respirator is the best equipment to use for your large mold clean-up jobs. Prices vary on these tools from low to high and can be found at your better hardware stores. If your task is on the smaller side, you can use a soft brush for cleaning off the mold. To avoid breathing in mold spores, use a face mask. Use soft downward strokes to remove the mold. To contain the dormant spores brush them into a disposable container or the vacuum hose. Do not use the hose directly on the paper. Turn the vacuum it on after the brushing is complete.

Safe Space Bags are a great way to create a micro climate for your collectables in case they are accidentally subjected to water and moisture.

SafeSpace® Bags for Comic Book Storage

Each Long Comic SafeSpace® Bag pack comes with supplies to store TWO comic boxes and the appropriate number of desiccants, relative humidity cards, and oxygen scavengers.

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