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Thread: mildew in case

  1. #1

    Default mildew in case

    Yesterday I took a guitar I don't use often out of its case. The guitar was covered with mildew. It took over an hour to polish out the stains, which had begun etching into the finish.

    Now the guitar is on a stand in the living room. I'm reluctant to put it back in the case because its plush lining is probably moldy, too.

    Do you have any advice on de-molding instrument cases? Sunshine? Lysol? Baking soda? Bleach? De-humidifer packets?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: mildew in case

    Not sure the value of the guitar but I'd be reluctant to ever use the case again. A good hard shell case can be had for about a hundred bucks, a decent gig bag for less than half. Sometimes you're better off starting with something new. Sounds like your case is beyond rescue.
    Also the equally important issue is where was this guitar and case being stored? I would think it was exposed to a lot of moisture over a good period of time. Obviously not good for your instruments, but can also be a health concern. Mildew, and its partner mold, are not to be taken lightly in your living environment. Not trying to raise this to a crisis but some proper circulation and a dehumidifier might be in order.
    Ratliff R5 2007, Capek A5 2003, Washburn M5S-SB Jethro Burns 1982, Mid-Mo M-2, Epiphone MM 30 Bk mandolins, Harmony Batwing 1970's, George Bauer bowlback early 1900's Philadelphia.


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  4. #3
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    Default Re: mildew in case

    I have rescued two cases, both with plush lining and it can be done, mold in one and cat pee in the other. My method is first a good vacuum followed by a saturating spray of Lysol, let sit for about five minutes and then sop up the Lysol with paper towels as best you can, wear gloves. Let dry in direct sunlight until thoroughly dry, a heat lamp or radiant heater can be used. When thoroughly dry leave the case open and give it the smell test. Cats are worse than mold. If sniff test fails repeat the Lysol and drying phase until satisfied. I saved the original case for my 60's ES-335 guitar that a male cat had besmirched although it took two tries. Leave the case open for as long as you can and good luck, The cause of the mold is an issue to be investigated. Inspect all your other cases.

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    Default Re: mildew in case

    Vinegar will kill mold and the smell will dissipate in a short time. The sun is good as it also kills mold, I would use both.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: mildew in case

    There were threads on various forum about ozone treatment of cases and instruments that have mold/mildew, bowhair bugs etc (note that it's corrosive to metals) https://my.ptg.org/communities/commu...0-3ac6aa939796

    But first try the easiest stuff, sunshine, blow dryer on high heat and thorough vacuuming. Then ask people at instrument shops, they deal with moldy /buggy cases regularly, then the stuff talked about above.
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  10. #6

    Default Re: mildew in case

    Quote Originally Posted by Hudmister View Post
    I have rescued two cases, both with plush lining and it can be done, mold in one and cat pee in the other. My method is first a good vacuum followed by a saturating spray of Lysol, let sit for about five minutes and then sop up the Lysol with paper towels as best you can, wear gloves. Let dry in direct sunlight until thoroughly dry, a heat lamp or radiant heater can be used. When thoroughly dry leave the case open and give it the smell test. Cats are worse than mold. If sniff test fails repeat the Lysol and drying phase until satisfied. I saved the original case for my 60's ES-335 guitar that a male cat had besmirched although it took two tries. Leave the case open for as long as you can and good luck, The cause of the mold is an issue to be investigated. Inspect all your other cases.
    Sounds like a plan. Thanks!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Vinegar will kill mold and the smell will dissipate in a short time. The sun is good as it also kills mold, I would use both.
    Sounds good. Have plenty of white vinegar. Thanks!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  11. #7

    Default Re: mildew in case

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gnann View Post
    Not sure the value of the guitar but I'd be reluctant to ever use the case again. A good hard shell case can be had for about a hundred bucks, a decent gig bag for less than half. Sometimes you're better off starting with something new. Sounds like your case is beyond rescue.
    Also the equally important issue is where was this guitar and case being stored? I would think it was exposed to a lot of moisture over a good period of time. Obviously not good for your instruments, but can also be a health concern. Mildew, and its partner mold, are not to be taken lightly in your living environment. Not trying to raise this to a crisis but some proper circulation and a dehumidifier might be in order.
    Yup. You nailed it. My guitar closet is, indeed, damp. Rain gets in. The chimney needs to be covered, its flashing needs to be caulked, the closet's back wall needs to be torn out, what's behind it has to be cleaned and reinsulated, and the wall has to be sheetrocked and painted. (The last owner did the job with cardboard.) I think the chimney is overdue for a repointing, too.

    Been trying to persuade my wife to let me do it (or hire someone to do it), but so far she hasn't responded to therapy.

    The guitar is a plywood '90s OMI Dobro roundneck. I usually just retune my flattop when I want open tuning, so I don't use the Dobe very often. Maybe I should just sell the thing.

    I like it, but it looks like my brief gigging days are over, anyhow — Covid seems to be here to stay. So who's gonna know. (Or care?)
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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    Default Re: mildew in case

    "Well the chimney's falling' down and the roofs all caved in, lettin' in the sunshine and the rain.
    And the only friend I have now is this good old dog of mine, and the little old log cabin in the lane"
    I think that was a Grandpa Jones song!
    Ratliff R5 2007, Capek A5 2003, Washburn M5S-SB Jethro Burns 1982, Mid-Mo M-2, Epiphone MM 30 Bk mandolins, Harmony Batwing 1970's, George Bauer bowlback early 1900's Philadelphia.


    "Don't cloud the issue with facts!" Groucho Marx

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  14. #9

    Default Re: mildew in case

    This is what worked for me, but of course I canít guarantee it will work for you.
    Probably the safest thing would be to dispose of the case, as others have said.
    But I was able to save mine, and itís OK now.

    I bought a mandolin that unknowingly had some mold inside the (Weber) case that began to thrive.
    It was pretty bad.
    After frantically searching and reading several Mandolin Cafe posts, I followed the advice of Paul Hostetter in this thread: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...ld-in-the-case since I had the product, Natureís Miracle, on hand as a cat guardian. (Be sure to read all of Paul's comments.)

    It really was a miracle! Paul said he had even used it on an entire car!

    I also bought a dehumidifier since I live in a very humid climate (2 miles from the beach) and run it a lot to keep humidity between 45 and 60 (canít get it lower). I do not store the mandolin in a closet.

    And I perform maintenance on the caseís plush lining every few months by using a hair dryer on it for about 5-10 minutes to dry out any slight dampness that might creep into the plush lining. The smell and mold have not returned. Bless (the late) Paul Hostetter.
    And bless Mandolin Cafe.

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  16. #10
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    Default Re: mildew in case

    I, too, have successfully used Nature's Miracle. Its available in pet stores. Read the label. There are several different formulations. I even used it to get rid of musty / moldy smell from the inside of a 'teens A4.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

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  18. #11
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    Default Re: mildew in case

    Find a company that does fire and/or flood cleanup of houses and see if they have an ozone treatment box that's large enough for the case. Get the treatment but only for the case. You can also get these treatments at ice rinks that perform this service for hockey equipment. Again, treat the case only. That will kill the mildew and mold.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  20. #12
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    Default Re: mildew in case

    Some of the other advice here probably makes more sense, but I had fairly good luck with getting a mildew smell (not actual mold) out an old A-style case by dousing it periodically with Ozium and letting it sit in a plastic bag, alternating with letting it air out. I tried spritzing it at first, but I hate that mildew smell so much I ended up up just soaking it. Obviously the mando did not live in that case for some time.

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