Mold is actually a fungus which propagates by airborne spores that attach
themselves to a surface and then start multiplying. There several types of mold,
some are harmless, beneficial actually (Penicillin is made from a mold) and
some are poisonous and very bad for you. It’s best to know which is which
because once mold begins to develop, it's almost impossible to remove.
Once you have mold spores, it’s incredibly easy for those spores to latch on to a
moist surface and multiply. When the environmental conditions are right, mold
can quadruple in area in as little as 24 to 48 hours.
According to a Harvard University School of Public Health study, over 50% of our
homes have indoor mold. That leaves several million families vulnerable to the
possible health effects of indoor mold. Here are some of the symptoms:
Watery or itchy eyes
Respiratory problems (Mold can lead to upper respiratory illness).
In fact, a study at the University of Arizona suggests that mold spores are a
suspected cause in the tripling of the asthma rate in the past 20 years.
By knowing the facts about mold, you can keep your home and family, safe and
healthy. Use the internet as a learning tool. If you want to learn more about mold,
here is a good place to start;
fears are real, ranging from mild reactions to acute neurological disorders.
Mold can be especially serious for allergy sufferers, small children and pets.
What about recordings
Records and audio tapes of all types are subject to mold. Cardboard containers,
record jackets and sleeves are especially vulnerable and very difficult to
decontaminate. I usually replace the sleeves.
I've treated several collections for mold and here's the mold remediation process
that I use;
I normally use white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. You can also use a strong
solution of isopropyl alcohol however, there is some information that alcohol is
not the best chemical to use. After assessing the situation, I decide which
chemical is best to use. Hydrogen peroxide, won’t mix with vinegar and any kind
of alcohol solution will damage acetate base audio tapes, some 78 RPM and
lacquer records. White vinegar is generally best on anything paper or cardboard
because it will get down to the roots. Use the strongest white vinegar solution
that you can get because you have to get the cardboard jacket or paper sleeve
as wet as you dare. Don’t rub cardboard or paper items once they are wet!
The remediation process that I use is completed outdoors because I don't have a
clean room with a filtered, air evacuated bench. I usually suit up completely in
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and wear an N95 respirator. I spray the
items with the chosen solution and set them in the sun to dry. All of the items to
be remediated are turned at least once while drying in the sun. This is done
about four times over the course of a week. Ultraviolet light works well indoors, if
you have an air evacuated workbench. I haven't used ultraviolet light outdoors to
Then, while suited up completely (once again) and wearing a respirator, I treat
the items a second time. Because I'm anal about mold, I use disposable PPE
and dispose of it after one use. The one exception is the respirator, which gets
rinsed with 91% isopropyl alcohol and I change the filters after every use.
Reel-to-reel tapes are wound from one reel to another, one at a time, using a
8mm film editor that I have modified. While being transferred, the tape is wiped,
on both sides, with a cloth soaked in whatever solution that I am using. The
original reel is inspected, then soaked in denatured alcohol, dried and the tape is
rewound while being wiped (a second time) with another clean cloth that is
soaked in the solution. The cardboard tape box is sprayed again with white
vinegar, before the reel of tape is placed in it, (unless I’m using Hydrogen
peroxide) and the whole thing is set indoors to dry. After about 2 days, the tapes
and boxes are checked for any signs of mold. If there is none, I'm finished.
For cassette based media, I use a transport that I have modified so that I can
access the tape. Sometimes, taking the cassette apart is best. Otherwise, the
procedure is the same.
At the end of the day, all equipment, including the work surfaces, are sprayed
with denatured alcohol or, at least, 91% isopropyl alcohol.
The procedure is also listed in the article: "The Ken Slater Tapes."
So, if you can see it, obviously you have an infestation and if you can smell it, it's
everywhere because traveling the air currents is one of the ways that mold
Please contact me with any questions or corrections.
© Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
DO IT YOURSELF?
BAKING AUDIO TAPE
REPAIRING A BROKEN 78
FLATTENING A RECORD
A Little About Sound
Optimizing your PC
Packing Records for Shipment
People I have Known
Playing Records Wet
Playing a Wire Recording
Saving Your Family Video
The Ken Slater Tapes
Tubes vs Transistors
What Type of Wire?
Your Digital Data is at Risk