Getting Rid of Mold in House: How should I remove black mold from books? 

There's a lot of information out there about how to prevent black mold from growing in your home: eliminate potential water sources, keep the humidity in check, ensure proper ventilation, control the climate ... but what about when the problem isn't mold growing in your home; the problem is accidentally bringing mold from the outside in?

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Black mold lives off of organic material (leather, wood, paper, cloth) and unfortunately, one of the biggest culprits for harboring black mold is books.

That familiar "old book smell" is an indication of improper storage - either in a cold, damp basement or an uninsulated attic, leaving it open to the growth of mold and mildew. So if you hit up the used book store and come home with a book with black mold, you could be leaving yourself open for negative side effects to your health, especially if you have allergies or asthma.

Getting Rid of Mold in House: Dry Books

  • If you can see growth on the cover of your book, you can use a fine brush or very soft cloth to gently brush away the mildew. You can also use a HEPA filter vacuum hose attachment with a thin cloth or dryer sheet over the nozzle, which can be an effective resource to getting rid of mold in house on book covers.
  • For a paperback book, you can use a soft cloth lightly dampened with denatured alcohol for getting rid of mold in house. Use light, gentle strokes as not to damage the paper/glossy cover, and make sure that you dab away the excess liquid and dry the book thoroughly but gently.
  • For a cloth, leather, or other hardback types of binding, you can spot-clean with denatured alcohol, but make sure to test an out-of-the-way corner to check for color change or deterioration.

Getting Rid of Mold in House: Pages

  • Slide a sheet of waxed paper underneath the moldy page to protect the page behind it. As in the step above, use a soft brush to carefully remove any obvious mold. Dampen a soft cloth with hydrogen peroxide or denatured alcohol and treat carefully.

Getting Rid of Mold in House: Wet Books

  • Do not attempt to brush or wipe mold off of your damp books, as it will likely smear and stain the surface, as well as grinding it further into your book. You must dry your book and then treat the mold problem afterwards.
  • If you are not able to work on drying and cleaning a damp book immediately, place it in a plastic bag and pop it in the freezer. Let it thaw once you are ready to try the following methods of drying your book:
    • Place absorbent sheets (paper towels, rags, etc.) between each page of the book and wrap the book in a towel. Set a heavy weight on top to squeeze out the moisture. You will need to replace the absorbent materials frequently. Repeat until the book is damp, not sopping.
    • Air circulation is very helpful in drying your book. You can use fans or hair dryers to speed the drying process, but air directed at the books for an extended amount of time can cause warping of the cover, boards, and pages.
    • If your weather is cooperative, place the books into the sunlight, as exposure to the sun's UV rays can help to kill mold spores. Remember; however, that light can cause damage and bleaching, so bring in your books after an hour in the sun.
    • You can dry a damp book completely by sprinkling cornstarch between the pages and letting it sit in a plastic bag or box for a couple of hours. The cornstarch will absorb the excess moisture. When you remove the book, use a soft brush to clean up the cornstarch and repeat as needed.

Getting Rid of Mold in House: Where Else to Look 

Toxic black mold grows best in warm conditions and is found in many countries around the world. Indoors, toxic black mold can grow on many common indoor building materials, like sheet rock or wallpaper. When toxic black mold does grow in the home, it's usually out of sight - think behind the refrigerator. Toxic black mold needs a lot of moisture for a long time before it can start to grow, which is why it often grows where there's been a water leak hidden from view. Leaks inside the walls, above the ceilings, or underneath the floors are common causes of toxic black mold.

Getting Rid of Mold in House: DIY At-Home Treatments

A common misconception is that chlorine bleach can be used as an effective cleaning method, but that is far from the truth - it's neither safe nor effective. However, essential oils - particularly cinnamon oil - are a harmless and potent killer of molds. Cinnamon oil has been shown by the National Library of Medicine to be one of the strongest oils used for killing mold, as well as for suppressing bacterial growth for 60 days.

How to use cinnamon oil for getting rid of mold in the house:

  • Diffuse - diffuse cinnamon oil to reduce mold spores in the air.
  • Clean - for small mold contaminants on hard surfaces, you can dilute essential oils with water and vinegar to clean. Try a half-gallon of water mixed with one-thirds of a cup of vinegar and 10-15 drops of cinnamon oil.

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