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Topic: Mold/ Mildew?

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Subject: Mold/ Mildew?
Date Posted: 7/14/2012 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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So, I got a book with suspicious black/ grayish marks on the page edges.  I'm not sure if the book has a mildewy smell or not.  I have an awful sense of smell and allergies so I don't want to sniff it over much.  II don't think it's dirt, and it does not brush off, and the spots don't look like pencil marks up close.  The pictures I tried to take do not really accurately convey what I'm seeing, but this is the best one:


I'm suspicious of mold, but I'm wondering if I'm missing something.  Thanks in advance.

Last Edited on: 7/14/12 12:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/14/2012 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,583
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Hard to tell from the picture; does the staining go beyond the edges?  If not, you might want to try lightly sanding the edges and see if the spots go away.  I've used a lightweight sandpaper and even an emery board to do this. 

Date Posted: 7/14/2012 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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Could be mold, but it could also just be discoloration due to age. I order a lot of paperbacks that are 30-40 years old. Many of them have spots (foxing) on the page edges and inside covers. It can resemble mildew sometimes.

Date Posted: 7/14/2012 8:02 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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With this, I would err on the side of caution, mildew and mould can spread amongst books so, you are better off throwing it out.  IF you dont mine killing the book, you could wipe some tile mould killer on it to kill some of the mould and be able to read it.  Just spray, on a piece of paper towel, wipe over the parts with the marks and put in the sunshine for a few hours. Should air it enough for you to read and then toss it. I'd not risk infecting all my books.

Date Posted: 7/14/2012 9:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,283
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I can't tell from the picture either. Maybe you could ask someone else to smell it and see if it smells like mold?

It might just be dirt splashes, though. I've fixed books that looked like that (dirt splashes) with sandpaper but I don't think it owuld work on your book, yours has uneven pages.

Whether it's dirt or mold, ultimately not postable.

But, you might be able to use it if it's just dirt.