Given the health risks associated with mould, it’s not something you want in or near your home. Unfortunately, flooding, humidity, and/or improper storage can result in mould growing on basically anything we own — including our books.
Health concerns aside, mould can stain the pages of books, causing them to fall apart, and giving them that unmistakable musty smell. And once mould starts growing on one book, if you don’t remove it, it will likely spread to others in your collection. Here’s how to spot, remove, and prevent mould growth on your books.
What does mould look like on books?
Some of the most common signs of mould growth on books includes:
- Fuzzy growth (in any colour)
- White, stringy filaments covering porous surfaces
- Evidence of past water damage
- Dark spots or stains
Mildew growing on a book can look like a patch of spots, or a layer of flaking powder (usually white, black, or grey) covering the pages of a book, or its surface.
How to remove mould from books
Unfortunately, once mould grows in or on a book, there’s nothing you can do at home to get rid of it entirely, and guarantee that it doesn’t return. According to the American Library Association (ALA), the best thing you can do is to freeze the moldy book(s) (putting them in a sealed freezer bag first), and then rubbing down the moldy spots with alcohol.
How to prevent mould from growing on books
The key to preventing mould growth on books is keeping them somewhere less-prone to humidity. This means avoiding basements, closets, and storing them against an outside wall of the house. You’ll also want to control the humidity in the room where they’re stored as much as possible. Running a dehumidifier as well as a fan (to promote air circulation) will help.