Dealing with mould and mildew

  • Exposure to strong sunlight for half an hour will kill most types of mould on textiles or leather. Strong sunlight can cause fading, but where mould is concerned, sunlight is the lesser of two evils.

  • This process will not necessarily remove the mildew stains. Removal and/or stain reduction of mildew can be done by a conservator but it is very consuming and expensive

  • Do not bleach items

  • prevention is better than cure

  • store items where they will not be exposed to high humidity. Not in sheds, roof spaces, or cellars

  • do not leave textiles resting against surfaces that absorb moisture from the air e.g. brick or concrete 

  • Do not keep items in a linen press or cupboard if it is situated in a laundry or anywhere near clothes drier

  • if items are musty, air them as soon as you can

  • do not store textiles where humidity may get trapped in with the items .e.g. in plastic bags

  • do not seal the backs of frames on humid days, wait until the weather is dry

  • check frames from time to time to ensure moisture is not trapped in them

  • do not use vacuum-sealed bags for heritage items. no air makes the atmosphere very stuffy, and this is detrimental for the contents

  • do not leave items in the bottom of the laundry hamper or ironing basket 

Mould and Mildew Damage

There are two main conditions conducive to the growth of moulds and midlew. One is moisture and the other is stale air.