How To Remove Mold From Paper Artwork? Comprehensive Guide

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
20 min read

In terms of long-term cultural preservation, what, if anything, would you recommend? If you think of art, you probably picture the paintings or other decor in your house.

Seeing the originality of each piece of art is impossible not to be awed by the beauty of it all. Because of this, every piece of art is a work of art.

Every artist’s and art-biggest lover’s dread is mold degrading art over time.

Mold eradication is much more crucial for paper artworks because of the thinner surface. So they’re not as water- and mold-resistant as, say, canvas or cardboard artworks are. The following information will help you learn how to keep mold from spreading on your paper artwork and how to remove it.

Why Do Molds Appear in Paper Artwork?

Paintings on paper, canvas, or cardboard that have been stored in a dark, damp environment for an extended period of time are susceptible to mold growth. Mold is more likely to grow in places that have a lot of water.

How to Remove Mold from Paper Artwork - Art New York

Mold development can occur if your artworks are not stored or framed in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment.

What You Should Remember Before Removing Mold from Paper Artwork

It is more difficult to remove mold from paper artwork than it is to just vacuum it. Before you start eliminating mold, do your homework and look for the most reliable mold removal method. Because artworks might be somewhat delicate, the mold removal procedure must be performed with extreme care.

Allergy and asthma sufferers should avoid mold exposure. Inhaling them puts your lungs at risk. Therefore, masks and well-ventilated rooms are essential for removing mold from paper artwork.

Working with moldy paper art requires more than just a protective mask. To keep mold spores out of your eyes and skin, don rubber gloves and goggles.

Determine what kind of artwork you’re working on before removing any molds.

A few mold-removal products can react with oil paintings even though they can withstand water.

Watercolor and acrylic-based artworks must be handled with caution because they can be damaged by water. Each creative medium has its own distinct set of characteristics, and as a result, it needs to be approached in a different way for each one.

How to Get Rid of Mold from Paper Artwork Effectively

You have a few alternatives when it comes to removing mold from a paper artwork:

Mold colonies can be cleaned by dabbing water-soaked cotton swabs on them. Artworks made with paper should be able to benefit from this process even if the molds used are very small. It is important to place your paper artwork in direct sunlight once the molds have been taken out of the piece of art. Gently remove any remaining mold spores with a little cleaning brush.

To get rid of mold dust that has dried, the MoMA suggests using a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner along with a soft-bristled brush. To prevent mold spores from getting into the air you’re inhaling, you should follow these instructions.

A cotton swab dipped in a solution of water and 70% rubbing alcohol can be used to gently clean the molds. This should work on highly mold-damaged paper artwork. To test if you like the results, start with the tiniest parts of your paper artwork and watch what happens. It’s fine to proceed with this phase if it doesn’t affect the quality of the finished product.

Remove molds from your paper artwork by gently dabbing a cotton swab with a high-quality germicide chemical onto the molds. Continue wiping the artwork with germicide-coated cotton swabs until molds no longer emerge. After that, let the paper artwork dry completely.

To avoid damaging the artwork or the paper, extra care must be exercised when removing mold with water, alcohol, or germicide chemicals. If you use too much water, you run the risk of tearing the paper, so use caution when dabbing a wet cotton swab on the artwork.

What to Avoid When Removing Mold from Paper Artwork

To avoid damaging the artwork or the paper, extra care must be exercised when removing mold with water, alcohol, or germicide chemicals. If you use too much water, you run the risk of tearing the paper, so use caution when dabbing a wet cotton swab on the artwork.

If you want to get rid of mold without destroying your artwork or paper, you need to be extremely cautious while using water, alcohol, or germicide chemicals. When dabbing a moist cotton swab on the artwork, be careful not to use too much water, since this could cause the paper to tear.

Keep your face mask on at all times and never remove it. Mold spores can cause respiratory problems and lung damage, thus they must be avoided at all costs. If you’re eliminating molds, you should always use a mask to protect your health.

Removing Mold From Paper Artwork

An appreciation of how mold grows is the first step in safeguarding your artwork from deterioration if you are an art enthusiast or an expert. We’ve put together this material to assist you better understand “what hazardous black mold looks like.”

Mold removal can be tough if your paper has a specific texture. It’s critical to identify the type of paper and artwork you’re working with before attempting to remove molds. Because of this, the damage could be worsened.

Molds that are as small as feasible should be treated using a cotton swab soaked in water. Rushing or smearing too much ink on the paper will tear it. You’ll see a lot of subtle strokes in this manual.

After drying the molds, use a soft-bristled brush to slowly remove them.

Using a solution of water and 70 percent rubbing alcohol, wipe out the molds. This procedure can be used to deal with both minor and significant mold issues. If you are familiar with your materials and paintings in advance, this method has no effect on your artwork.

Using a high-quality germicide spray, saturate a cotton swab and dab it over the molds on your paper artwork. As a side benefit, mold cleanup will be a breeze. Dehumidify the space if it has gotten wet.

Germicides, water, and alcohol-based cleaning products can all readily rip a paper, so use them sparingly.

As an illustration of what happens when mold is painted over, here are a few before-and-after shots:

How To Remove Mold From Books? Best Full Guide [2022] - PBC

How to Remove Mold From Paintings

Getting rid of mold from artwork is a difficult endeavor. To clean it, you can’t simply saturate it with bleach and call it done. Even the tiniest error can have terrible consequences when it comes to art. Make sure you’ve done your homework and are utilizing the least invasive mold removal method feasible before you begin.

You may want to wear a face mask and work in a well-ventilated area while painting. Mold can quickly infect your lungs, and you don’t want it to spread any farther in your home. If you can, work outside if possible.

The first step is to figure out what kind of painting you’re dealing with. To recognize your own work’s paint medium and finish as well as the painting’s surface as well as various possible reactions will be easy if you’ve done it yourself Keep in mind that each medium has its own unique characteristics and that the painting was done on a variety of surfaces.

Depending on the type of painting you’re doing, you’ll require a different strategy.

  • Some of the most durable paints on the market are oil-based, but they can react negatively to certain substances..
  • When acrylics are exposed to moisture, they can be damaged even if they are coated in a protective varnish.
  • Due to the fact that watercolor paint is water-based, watercolor paintings on paper are some of the most fragile.

Remove and sterilize any non-art surfaces as soon as possible. After removing any protective coverings or frames, you’ll need to thoroughly clean the painting. Your paintwork needs as much ventilation as possible at this point since mold flourishes in moist circumstances.

  • Remove the plastic (or any other covering) from your artwork if it has been stored in plastic gently (or any other material).
  • Disassemble the frame to release the painting from it. To clean the glass and frame, a 10% bleach solution should be used (1 cup bleach to 1 gallon distilled water). Perform a little test on an unnoticeable area of the frame to ensure that you don’t damage the finish.
  • Using the alcohol solution mentioned below, carefully wipe the stretcher frame of your canvas painting. Be careful not to dampen the canvas itself.

Afterwards, the painting must be thoroughly cleaned. The approach you employ will be determined by the type of painting you have, so it’s best to begin with the least dangerous option. Before attempting to wipe the paint, consider all of your options.

The most knowledgeable people to ask are those who deal with these issues on a regular basis, such as conservators. Consider the following credible sources:

  • In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a 2012 article was written for artists on how to deal with wet contemporary paintings at MoMA.
  • New Orleans Conservation Guild – Is Your Artwork Damaged or Wet? You may find all kinds of things here, including art.
  • Inquiries about the proper care, preservation, and comprehension of art can be answered at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute.
  • This website can help you locate local American Institute Conservators of Historic and Artistic Works.

Make sure that you’re not relying solely on the counsel of strangers on the internet (particularly in public forums). While some advice may have worked for someone else, it may not have been the ideal long-term answer for the one receiving it. A vinegar cleaning solution diluted with water, for example, is sometimes recommended, but vinegar contains 5 to 8 percent acid, which is bad for paintings.

  • Keep an open mind and proceed with extreme caution when heeding advice you hear on the internet (especially in public forums). Even though a piece of advice has worked for someone else in the past, it may not be the best long-term answer for your unique issue. However, it is important to keep in mind that the acid content of vinegar (5-8%) is not good for paintings, thus some advice suggests diluting it with water before using it.
  • You should use caution when seeking advice from strangers on the internet. Lots of bad advice is out there, and even if it worked for someone else, it may not have been the best solution for you in the long run. You should be aware that vinegar contains 5-8 percent acid, which is bad for paintings.
  • Take steps to prevent the mold from reappearing.
  • Mold spores can be harmful to your health and the health of those in your household.

To remove mold from a painting, you can use the resources provided above in a variety of methods. Some of the suggestions that have been made include the following: It’s a good idea to check out some of the links above for extra information and suggestions.

Mildew removal from the painting’s backside is better to attempting it from the front in order to avoid damaging the paint. When it comes to preventing mold, you should sprinkle the canvas rather than saturate it.

  • According to the New Orleans Conservation Guild, you should use Lysol (a brand of anti-germ/bacteria cleaning spray, not liquid).
  • A fine mist spray bottle filled with water and commercial rubbing alcohol (70 percent) is recommended by MOMA.

The front of a painting is the most critical and should be avoided at all costs. The best course of action may be to wait for the mold to cure before attempting to remove it.

  • Using a 70% alcohol/ 30% water alcohol/water mixture, MOMA recommends dabbing tiny clusters of mold with an alcohol/water mixture. If this isn’t done carefully, the paint could be harmed.
  • Dry mold can be removed using a soft-bristled brush. In order to remove any mold dust from the picture, the Museum of Modern Art recommends using a HEPA filtered vacuum.

Although it is usually believed that sunlight damages artwork, in this case you’ll be employing sunlight to fight against mildew. Direct sunlight is required for an extended length of time in order to damage a painting’s color (originally or after cleaning).

  • A moist or wet painting can be entirely dried in two to three days in direct sunlight.
  • Ideally, paintings should be dried outside on a towel, blanket or board to speed up the drying process.
  • In order to expedite the drying process, place the painting on a flat surface in direct sunshine.


How Do You Remove Mildew From Paper?

You may flavor water with dishwashing liquid. Mildew can be removed from washable paper surfaces by dipping a tiny portion of a cloth in sudsy water. In order to minimize further damage, avoid wetting or scrubbing the paper

Preparing for and Cleaning Mold on Paper Records – For the Record

How Do You Remove Mould From Canvas Prints?

Gently wipe the canvas with short circular strokes to remove any mold that may be left. Using a bleach-free disinfectant or mold remover, lightly mist the affected surfaces with the solution (products containing bleach may damage your canvas).

How Do You Remove Mold From Art?

Use a 10% bleach solution to rinse anything other than paintings if you need it cleaned (one cup of bleach). When using Clorox, use 1 ounce to 1 quart of water Fine mist of 70% alcohol in water can be used to remove the artwork.

How Do You Remove Mildew From Pictures?

Using a lint-free cloth, dab rubbing alcohol on the surface. Wipe away any leftover mildew and mold with a moist cloth. It’s up to you whether or not to use antibacterial wipes. Remove mold and mildew from hard-to-reach frame corners with rubbing alcohol-dampened cotton swaps.

What Removes Mold From Painted Surfaces?

Bleach and water should be mixed into one bucket. Scrub the wall until no more mold is evident with the bleach/water combination.

How Do You Clean Mold Off Of Canvas?

Vinegar can be used to remove mould off canvas by spraying it on and then scrubbing it away with a sponge. It may take more than one or two attempts to entirely eliminate the mold, depending on its intensity.

What Is The Best Way To Remove Mold From Painted Walls?

  • White vinegar and hot water are combined with two tablespoons of borax in a bowl.
  • Spray the mixture into a spray bottle and use as needed.
  • It’s recommended that you use this product liberally on a freshly painted wall.
  • Wait for 10 minutes before wiping the surface clean.

How Do You Get Mildew Off Art Prints?

With a light dab of water-rubbing alcohol solution (70 percent), you can easily remove the molds: Mold-infested paper artwork should be salvageable with this method. To see if it works, first dab it on a small area of your paper artwork.

Can You Shred Moldy Paper?

If a document was once moist but is now dry, mold can form on it. Workers handling or shredding papers may release mold spores into the air. Moldy, wet, or contaminated documents are not accepted by several document destruction companies.

How Do You Remove Mold And Mildew From Cardboard?

  • Paper that was once damp can now be moldy. When staff handle or shred documents, mold spores are released into the air. Documents that are moldy, damp, or otherwise contaminated cannot be destroyed by some document destruction services.
  • Make sure you have rubber gloves on.
  • Mix one cup of chlorine with four cups of water to create a bleach solution.
  • Clean mildewed cardboard with a moist sponge.
  • The second bucket should be filled with clean, hygienic water.
  • The cardboard should be cleaned with a damp sponge.

Does Vinegar Remove Mildew?

White vinegar and baking soda can be used to kill mildew in the bathroom. You can use a spray bottle to apply white vinegar to mildew-infested areas, then repeat the process several times.

How Do You Get Mold Off Art Prints?

  • A cotton ball can be used to gently touch the mildew.
  • Brush surfaces with a sawdust brush to remove mildew.
  • Spritz a cotton ball with a commercial germicide after cleaning.
  • A soft cloth can be used to remove the mildew spots from the artwork.

Does Mould Come Out Of Canvas?

Getting rid of mold from a canvas is practically impossible; preventing its spread, on the other hand, is a breeze. Mold may be unsightly in even little amounts, and once it has pierced the fibers, it is extremely impossible to remove completely. Mold can cause decay, holes, and tears in a tent in some cases.

Does Bleach Kill Mold On Canvas?

Bleach is not recommended by the EPA for removing mold and mildew from clothing. Keep in mind that bleach can only kill mold on the surface when you use it. For a minimum of three days in direct sunlight. It may be necessary to perform the mold and mildew eradication process numerous times.

How Do You Clean Yellowed Art Prints?

Hydrogen peroxide and water (in a 1:1 ratio) and a few drops of ammonia can be used to clear prints that have turned yellow owing to accumulated oil. To ensure that the print will function effectively, a small portion of it should be checked first.

How Do You Remove Mildew From Books?

If you don’t have access to baking soda, you can use a plastic bucket or container with a cover. Before putting the book inside, make sure the baking soda box is closed tightly. This should be done after 48 to 72 hours. until you can no longer detect the odor in any form.

What Is The Best Way To Remove Mould From Canvas?

If you don’t have access to baking soda, you can use a plastic bucket or container with a cover. Before putting the book inside, make sure the baking soda box is closed tightly. This should be done after 48 to 72 hours. until you can no longer detect the odor in any form.

Can You Save Moldy Pictures?

A plastic bucket or box with a cover and a box of baking soda can also be used. Be sure to tightly shut the baking soda box before inserting the book. The book should be inspected after 48 to 72 hours. For as long as you can still smell it.

What Removes Mildew?

White cotton garments can be cleaned using bleach, says Joyce. To remove stains from clothing before washing, use a bleach-to-water solution of one part bleach to three parts water.


It’s possible to remove mold from paper artwork more efficiently with the use of this information. The type of paper and artwork you’re dealing with can also help you determine which approach is appropriate for your situation.

Don’t forget to read all the directions and follow them to the letter. If necessary, it is possible to seek the assistance of a specialist.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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