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Removing Mold and Mildew


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#1 ww2vault

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 09:40 AM

Hi,

I bought a couple hats yesterday which are from WWI and earlier and they were kept in a black plastic box where the humidity can get some what high and with little ventilation, the perfect conditions for mold! :unsure:

As you can see from the pictures some have it worse then the others. Hopefully the mold isn't life threatening if inhaled. http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/fear.gif Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do to get rid of the mold? I took pictures of two of the hats, the last is pretty much like the second, only a little worse. Thanks!

- Jeff

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  • hats_001.jpg
  • hats_004.jpg


#2 ww2vault

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 10:04 AM

Both pictures are from the campagin hat.

- Jeff

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  • hats_002.jpg
  • hats_003.jpg


#3 ww2vault

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 10:06 AM

The rest are from the second hat.

- Jeff

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  • hats_005.jpg
  • hats_006.jpg


#4 ww2vault

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 10:07 AM

...

- Jeff

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  • hats_007.jpg


#5 ccandgc

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:24 AM

One thing I have learned, being from Hawaii.....is that humidity, obviously is the enemy of everything-from TV's and computers to paper and items like the hats. My house that I still have there, I have 6 dehumidifiers that run constantly. I have a room that has my guns and some other things that mold and mildew just love. That dehumidifier runs all the time. Helps keep rust off and mold and mildew at bay. Ive found that a extremely slightly damp cloth will wipe off the powdery residue that a dry cloth just spreads around. Then into the dehumidified room, and everything is ok.....as long as the humidity stays low, otherwise it just grows back http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbdown.gif I recently moved to San Diego where its pretty dry, and that has helped a lot with the mildew......good luck!

chad

#6 Paul C.

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:32 AM

I know this sounds strange, but I have used Lysol on uniforms and hats, and it works pretty well, if you don't mind the smell! Spray it on wait a day then brush with a medium stiff brush.

#7 Nack

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:58 AM

You might want to put the stuff in the sun for a bit to make sure its totally dry, and then brush it off with a soft bruch (like an old toothbrush) and see if that is good enough. Then, if neccessary, I'd take increasingly invasive measures. I've found that jumping right in with chemicals and other stuff that is hard to reverse can really screw stuff up http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/crying.gif

Edited by Nack, 28 May 2008 - 06:59 AM.


#8 gwb123

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 07:44 PM

You might want to put the stuff in the sun for a bit to make sure its totally dry, and then brush it off with a soft bruch (like an old toothbrush) and see if that is good enough. Then, if neccessary, I'd take increasingly invasive measures. I've found that jumping right in with chemicals and other stuff that is hard to reverse can really screw stuff up http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/crying.gif


Sunlight works wonders. I was also fortunate enough to live in Hawaii for awhile. Brushing with a soft, or medium dry brush is a start... then put the item out in the direct sun for awhile. On some items you run the risk of slight fading, but it is a better trade off than having the item devoured.

Even with cotton uniforms... if they smelled of mildew, I would wash them and then leave them out in the sun for as much as possible. I would also turn the shirt or jacket so that all sides were exposed.

#9 doyler

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 08:06 PM

Nice items and sound advice.A soft nylon finger nail brush will do wonders.Years ago when felt hats were all the rage hat brushes were very common.I have used a new shoe brush also.

Seems your campaign hat has the officers cords and the WW1 enlisted blackned disc.Always nice to find the hats with original cords.

RON

#10 Bob Hudson

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 08:08 PM

Sunlight works wonders. I was also fortunate enough to live in Hawaii for awhile. Brushing with a soft, or medium dry brush is a start... then put the item out in the direct sun for awhile. On some items you run the risk of slight fading, but it is a better trade off than having the item devoured.


I find that brass bristle brushes work wonders for cleaning all sorts of things from old uniforms, field gear and other fabric items.

A google search for the keywords fabric conservation mold turns up all sorts of good info.

#11 Chap15

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 08:35 AM

A dehumidifier is a must.
Never use chemicals...even lysol spray.
Sunlight is good, but it may not kill it.
Place your item in a plastic bag. Then place it in a freezer for several days. Remove the item, throw the bag away and wipe area with a damp cloth. The freezer will kill the mold. This works with leather, cloth, and all other items to include paper.

#12 JDK

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 10:01 AM

On leather I have used a product called Lexol PH Leather Cleaner.
It is PH balanced so it will not adversly affect the item.
I've used it on various items. I apply it with a damp cloth
on the area, and then set it in front of a fan to dry.

Dehumidifiers are the best prevention, but it you do get mold,
this is something I have used with no ill effect.

It can be purhased at most automotive stores.

J.D.

#13 nkomo

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 09:18 PM

A dehumidifier is a must and so is a temperature/humidity gauge. You can find these at Wal-Mart for a fairly inexpensive price. I run my dehumdifier 24/7 and my room stays between a 30%-40% humidity.

#14 camelgreen44

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 03:08 AM

How about a vacum cleaner to remove the powdery residue, Ah, the hose attachment , not the base !! ha Denny

#15 markfh

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 08:19 PM

Here are a couple sites for you to consider.

Good information on mold.

http://palimpsest.st...berg/spore.html

Good products used by museums and collectors to clean their collections at this site

http://www.restorati...inproducts.html .

Keep this in mind when thinking about using some of these museum grade products for cleaning and preservation, some people don't agree with using any of them for any reason preferring to keep their artifacts as they find them. Personally I prefer to clean my artifacts to stop any degradation.

I've used some of these products with excellent results. The Vulpex can be used on most items without problems. Museums use this to clean almost everything including feathers.

I did have a small problem on a German iron cross when the paint started coming off. Seems the Germans apparently used a water soluble paint towards the end of the war. Something I hadn't known or expected.

The de-corroder is great and removes rust and other types of corrosion, including that on bronze medals, without hurting the underlying metal.

The renaissance wax is great for protecting your artifacts once they're clean.

Of course please research the proper use of these products.

#16 checkit

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 06:42 AM

A dehumidifier is a must.
Never use chemicals...even lysol spray.
Sunlight is good, but it may not kill it.
Place your item in a plastic bag. Then place it in a freezer for several days. Remove the item, throw the bag away and wipe area with a damp cloth. The freezer will kill the mold. This works with leather, cloth, and all other items to include paper.


Freezing doesn't kill mold - it just makes it go dormant. But if you suspect lice or other infestations, freezing is a good idea. I start by wiping down the hat with a cloth lightly dampened with Windex. This kills mold. You will have to be very thorough, as any untouched area will still have mold.

You will likely need to wipe it down again with a product like Odor-Ban to get rid of the horrifc smell. I am allergic to mold and can smell a musty hat from across the room - ugh!

Sunlight does help - you should sun it for at least an hour or two, but it will not solve the problem on its own.

#17 BEAST

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 11:41 AM

I know this has been focusing on uniforms, but I would like to recommend a treatment for books that smell of mildew. We all know that musty smell of books that have been in a damp basement. I will take those books, once they are dry and put them in a brown paper bag with crumpled newspapers. Close the bag tightly and let it sit for a week. Check it after that week and you should notice a great reduction in the smell. Return the book to the paper bag with the crumpled newspaper, close it tightly and leave it for another week. By this point, the smell should be gone.

If the smell is very strong, add a pack of coffee. I use the packs that I pick up in the hotels that I stay in. This absorbs more of the smell.

I have done this with books that have been soaked by broken pipes and not noticed for a couple days. I have also used this technique with books that have sat in damp basements for many years. It has worked every time!


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