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How To Remove Mold From Paper Artwork?


Termination of mold from paper artwork is quite risky, but it is possible. Hence, don’t be hopeless if your drawing or paintings are invaded by the unwanted molds. There are some ways on how to remove mold from paper artwork, so don’t worry.

The secret in completely killing the mold is to know the cause of their existence in your artwork in the first place. Molds are fungi that grow usually on organic matter. Their favorite habitat is damp wood and paper. Basically, mold reproduces in a place where it can eat the materials in its surrounding that it can also use in propagating.

Oftentimes, the cause of mold existence on paper artworks is the bad storage area and unwanted incidents, such as floods and typhoons. Molds grow healthier on paper artworks, which are stored in dark areas and in places without enough breathable space. Hence, it is also important to check your artworks periodically if they are still in good condition.

Techniques to get rid of mold from paper artwork

It is a challenging task to remove mold from paper artworks. Through a little patience and the right materials, you can have peace of mind that there is a solution to mold problems. We hope that the following steps will help.

1. Press a ball of cotton with 70% rubbing alcohol and water in the area of artwork affected by mold.

Test the mixture if it is suitable in your artwork by slightly touching the art sheet with the cotton. You may pursue it if this process does not affect the color and texture of the artwork.

It is suggested that you change the cotton with the solution once applied on the surface with mold. This is to avoid scattering more the molds to other areas of artwork and encouraging more growth of molds to other areas.

2. Remove the molds from the paper artwork once dry enough and easy to peel.

This process is one of the simplest ways to get rid of mold on artwork. Molds tend to be gummy on wet surfaces. As a result, they become super attached to the paper surface and give the artist more trouble pulling them away.

The question is how to dry the molds quickly? And the answer is just simple. You have to dry the canvass of the paper artwork and the mold will follow. Here are the steps on how you can dry up molds to remove them away.

  • First, help the water evaporate from the surface of the paper artwork by laying it under the scorching sun. Molds hate direct sunlight. You may also hang the wet paper artwork on a clothesline or anywhere with proper ventilation and safe from falling on the ground.
  • Second, once the paper is already dry, you will notice that the molds become more visible. It is the great opportunity to start scrubbing the molds from the invaded part. Use a soft-bristled brush or clean cloth in removing the molds. You might want to take it slowly because you have to be careful with your portrait.
  • Lastly, repeat the process until the molds are completely gone.

3. Apply appropriate germicidal products in the mold affected paper artwork.

Before trying this technique, it is better to consult a first chemical expert or professional artist who has experience in art preservation. It is necessary because most artworks are sensitive and may be ruined in just one drop of chemical.

Once you get the right prescription of germicide, you may get a cotton ball. Spray a small amount of germicide onto the cotton and tap it on the paper artwork. There are germicides, which allow you to see the results immediately, while some products have to be left for an hour to kill the molds.

4. Use water and cotton to clean away the molds from the paper artwork.

Regular tap water from your faucet can help minimize the growth of molds from the surface covered with molds. Below are the simple ways to do this method:

  • Prepare a number of cotton balls, clean water and basin. Lay your paper artwork flat on the floor or on a table to easily execute the process.
  • Soak a piece of cotton ball in the water. Squeeze the cotton first to remove excess water because too much liquid can damage the paper.
  • Lightly dab the cotton into the molds on the paper. You may be able to see that some of the molds are attached to the cotton immediately. Change the cotton from time to time to prevent the mold from reattaching to your art.
  • Leave the paper artwork in an open space with abundant sunlight to dry it and completely kill the mold.

5. Use HEPA filter vacuum cleaners to absorb dry mold from the paper artwork.

Mini vacuum cleaners intended for artwork preservation are now available in various school supply stores and online shops.

The pressure from the vacuum cleaner can pull the molds from the paper artwork easily. It is possible as long as the molds are dry or already loosen up by using soft brush. The method is just simple. First, scrub gently the molds by using a small brush.

Once the molds finally detach from the paper, just position the vacuum cleaner to the area with molds and click the on button. Don’t rush in doing this task to avoid ruining the entire paper artwork.

Final Thoughts

Prevention is better than cure even on artwork maintenance. Hence, it is better to put your paper artwork in a high-quality frame or storage to maintain the right temperature and environment. Make sure also that your art galleries or storage area is not damp, high enough from flood or safe from water or rain.

In case of unwitting events and your paper artworks get wet, act fast to save them from ruins by following the methods we’ve shared earlier. Just remember to take the mold termination slowly to keep the beauty of your artwork.

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