Reply To: washing textiles in 70% ethanol and 30% water solution?


On the flowering and vegetative, branched portions of mold, there are huge numbers of conidia so using a HEPA vac nozzle covered with nylon window screen as a “pick-up” above the textile while you gently brush the mold plant materials off the textile with a soft brush is an excellent idea.  But be careful not to do this “cleaning” activity in collections rooms or offices.  Weara fine particle mask and clothing or a smock that you can remove and launder separately after your work is done. Otherwise you’ll be walking around with extra conidia up your nose all day long!

Mold conidia are allergens and in large numbers can make people ill, so pulling them away into an airstream created by a HEPA vac and trapping them is a good idea.  Just remember that all those spores and conidia now live in the HEPA filter in huge numbers so change the filter outdoors, in good ventilation, standing “up-stream” and wear a fine particle mask and washable clothing.

Cleaning your worktable, tools, vacuum nozzle and work area is strongly advised too, because the conidia will have been shed in large numbers during the cleaning process. Surfactant (dish washing detergent) and water (like washing dishes in the sink) is very effective but to truly disinfect, using rubbing alcohol 70% isopropyl and water just as you buy it from the drug store.  Hmmm, I wonder if THIS is the original source of the misunderstanding?) This is also an excellent degreaser so wear nitrile gloves that you can then wash or dispose of.


At 30% RH all the mold in your collections are passive rather than alive. For diminishing staining, really get a textile conservator involved.  Good luck and post other questions!