You are currently viewing How to remove Mould from libraries

How to remove Mould from libraries

The INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BOOK AND PAPER CONSERVATION shared a document that explain how to remove mould from books and libraries

Below you can read all the steps to clean and sanatize every kind of books and libraries.

The first step is to clean archive areas.

It is very important as a preventive measure in making the surroundings unattractive.

The removal of dirt and dust is achieved by vacuuming so that it is immediately taken off site. Sweeping is useless because it merely moves dust around.

When routine cleaning of storage and archive areas is contracted out to a cleaning service, it is best to make clear arrangements about the method and frequency of cleaning.

Above all, it is useful to engage the cleaners in the inspection of the area. With good instructions on signalling the presence of mould and insects they can becomethe extra eyes of the collection keeper in the building.

Tidying everything that is superfluous and does not need to be in the area must be removed.

The second step is to Vacuum

Using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA-filter or P3-filter.

Work from top to bottom

1. top shelves of a storage rack

2. rest of the rack from top to bottom

3. idem for neighbouring racks

4. first vacuum the walls, plinths and edges

5. lastly the floor around and under the racks

Work in blocks from a distant corner towards the entrance/exit.

Once an infection is observed, disinfection must follow a good cleaning.

This is carried out with a disinfectant solution in water. Popular products are based on quaternary ammonium compounds (the same substance used in our machine Nebula). One example is Sumabac D10, a cleaning agent and disinfectant from the food industry.

Its use is allowed in places where food is prepared. The concentrate and solutions in water can affect the skin and irritate the eyes, therefore it is advised to wear safety gloves and glasses during disinfection.

Before applying a watery solution, the consequences of introducing water into the area for the RH should be considered.

Work from top to bottom as with vacuuming.

1. Make a 1% dilution of Sumabac (10 ml Sumabac in 1 L water).

2. Remove loose dirt.

3. Apply Sumabac solution to the surface with a cloth, brush or mop; spraying is also possible.

4. Allow the solution to work for 5 minutes.

5. Remove by rinsing with water or a moist cloth.

6. Remove moisture with a dry cloth.

Our machine for book disinfection: Nebula

Work in blocks from a distant corner towards the exit. If mould has established itself in the waxed finish of the floor, the top layer must be removed and the underlying layer disinfected and rinsed off.

When the floor has dried a new wax finish can be applied.


A frequency of at least once every three months is recommended for the vacuuming and mopping of storage areas.

A preventive disinfection should take place twice a year in which the exposed fronts of shelves, empty shelves, sides and tops of archive racks are wiped and rinsed off.

A general cleaning and disinfection of the storage areas, including the packaging material should take place once every three or four years.

This includes the vacuuming of the outside surfaces of boxes and archive documents, the dry or wet cleaning of storage racks, shelves and floors with disinfectant and the vacuuming and mopping of floors.

Find the complete IADA article here