Cleaning mold-damaged materials

Cleaning mold-damaged materials
NOTICE: This is a simple manual for treating library materials in general based on
cases in the National Diet Library. When you treat rare books or severely damaged
materials, we recommend you to consult an expert in conservation treatment.
Cleaning mold-damaged materials
Stroking off moldy substance attaching to materials using disinfectant ethanol, and removing
dirt with a vacuum cleaner or a brush.
1. Before starting
1-1. Ensuring the safety of human body
To avoid molds intake and adhesion, wear a
mask (a commercially available dust mask),
gloves (disposable thin plastic gloves), a lab
coat, shoe covers, etc. Molds can cause
allergy and other health hazards to people;
people in poor health should not engage in
this work.
1-2. Isolating materials and preparing
a workspace
Mold-affected materials must be isolated
from other materials and stacks to
Cleaning work must be done away from
other materials and people, with good air
circulation. Ethanol
volatility requires
extreme care on air circulation for indoor
work. If possible, use a cleaning aspirator
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter: filter
or vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter,
with mesh fine enough to trap mold spores
and/or an air purifier. Outdoor work in
good weather is also recommended.
2. Stroking off moldy substance
Clean mold-affected parts with a paper
towel soaked with ethanol of 70-80%.
spreading dirt; do not rub. Always use
clean side of a paper towel, with the
dirty side folded inwards.
Note: Make sure to test an out-of-the-way corner
to check if ethanol discolors the cover or ink.
3. Cleaning materials
With a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner:
Cover the suction mouth with a coarse
cloth or attach a special brush, and
vacuum up remaining surface dirt. A
vacuum cleaner with air volume control is
With a brush:
Brush away dirt if a vacuum cleaner is
unavailable. Hold materials firmly to
prevent dirt from getting inside and brush
downwind in the direction of aspirator. Do
this on the three edges.
4. Cleaning stacks
Wipe off bookshelves with a tightly
squeezed wet rag, and then with an
ventilation. Do not forget to clean floors
around shelves, as well.
5. After cleaning work
Take off the mask and gloves gently, folding external side inward to avoid molds scattering.
Dispose of them in a sealed garbage bag.
Wash the brush/brush for vacuum cleaner with neutral detergent and rinse them well. Soak the
entire hairy part in disinfectant ethanol for 30 minutes. Drain it off and dry well.
6. Preventing a mold outbreak and recurrence
Environment control is crucial to prevent a mold outbreak and recurrence. A mold outbreak is
inhibited when the relative humidity around materials is under 60%; it is recommendable to
install air dehumidifiers to avoid hot and humid condition, or to provide good air circulation by
running fans. Cleaning frequently to remove dust and dirt, which molds live on; taking shoes off
and wearing footwear for exclusive use in stacks so as not to take dirt in; checking materials
regularly for early detection is also helpful in avoiding a mold outbreak.
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