The Best Way to Remove Mold From Books (and Keep It From Coming Back)

If you love to read, you probably have quite a few books lying around your house (or in storage). Many of these books may be collectibles, or perhaps you’ve inherited them from family members or friends who’ve moved on to digital formats like e-books. But whatever the reason, it’s hard to part with old books if they contain any sentimental value at all—and sadly, they often harbor mold if they aren’t stored properly.

Why it is important to remove mold from books

Mold can be hazardous to your health and it can grow in places you may not know. For example, mold can grow on the edges of books if they are stored at improper levels or if they are stored with items that have moisture. When you inhale the spores from this type of mold, they could make you sick. The first step is to identify any areas of mold growth on the inside or outside surfaces of the book. Here’s how to remove this type of problem without causing further damage

What you need

The Best Way to Remove Mold From Books: Use rubbing alcohol and a soft rag. Dampen the rag with some rubbing alcohol and then rub it on the moldy area of the book. Wait for about ten minutes before wiping off the excess liquid and checking your progress. If there’s still mold, repeat until it’s all gone! Then, make sure to put any cloth items in a washing machine and dryer as soon as possible to get rid of any remaining spores.

Removing the mold

The first step to removing mold from books is to stop it from growing. Turn off any heating or cooling vents near the books, take any unnecessary papers and cloths out of the area, and dry out the area with a fan or open window. Try using desiccant packets, which draw moisture away from surfaces and will also help kill some of the mold spores in your room. Mold thrives in moist conditions and should not be present on clean, dry books.

The second step to remove mold from books is to dispose of any damaged pages that are beyond repair. Spread a sheet or several layers of paper towel under the page you wish to tear out to make it easy to collect all the loose pages when you’re done tearing them out.

Preventing mold in books in the future

In order to prevent mold from coming back and to keep your books at their best, store them in a dry place where the humidity is below 60%. If you live in a humid climate or have trouble keeping your home at that humidity level, consider storing your books with a dehumidifier. Remove moldy paper immediately and let it air out before touching it again. Books can last up to five years without using the dehumidifier, so don’t worry about being too cautious with yours!

 If you’re ready to remove mold from your books, first use a vacuum to pick up any mold or debris on them. Afterward, wipe down any surfaces with a damp cloth that’s been soaked in cool water and dry everything off with a clean cloth. If any paper is visibly discolored or damaged by mold, don’t hesitate to toss it! Then place your books in an airtight container with silica gel packets and let it sit for 2-3 days before removing them. You can replace these packets once they’ve lost their moisture absorption power or every 6 months or so.

Improving air circulation around your books

Mold doesn’t just like to hang out in the attic; it likes to find cozy spots indoors, too. Usually that’s not a problem, but when mold starts growing on your beloved books, you know something has to be done. While there are plenty of options for removing mold from books, the best way is by airing them out in the sun while they are upside down. Exposure to sunlight can help kill all of the pesky mold spores living in and around your book pages. This is also one of the best ways to keep that same area from becoming infested with more mold later on.

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