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Thread: Mold in the case

  1. #1
    Registered User Doug Edwards's Avatar
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    Default Mold in the case

    I have this circa '20's banjo/mandolin with the origional case, stamped Reliance. While packing everything up for the move, I discovered mold in the case.

    1. Throw it away?
    2. Try to clean up with soap and water?
    3. What else?
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Mold in the case

    LOTS of fresh air and sunshine is the first thing that works. If it's a really BAD case of mold, I don't know what else to do, tho'. I have let old cases air out for days and usually this works pretty good. Other suggestions?
    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life--music and cats" Albert Schweitzer

  3. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    There's an easier answer, put it on eBay. The mold will be considered mojo.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Sunlight won't kill the mold mycelia in there.You could try making a lysol solution or spraying the interior with lysol spray, let it have a 5 minute contact time then wipe the stuff out with a damp sponge. Throw away the sponge and then air/sunlight treat the case until the smell is gone and dry.

    If the case doesn't really offer much protection and you're moving, chuck it and get a decent gig bag.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Microban. I used it on my house and contents after we were flooded. Not only does it kill mold, mildew, bacteria etc. but it prevents future growth. It shouldn't harm the case as it is used on a lot of products in a lot of industries where micro bacterial control is necessary. You will still need to remove the mold spores, green fuzz, and I'd suggest an upholstery cleaner such as Resolve. Incidentally, the white mold intermingled in there with the green is considered toxic so you should wet it before trying to remove it. Kind of along the same lines of wetting asbestos before remediation so that it doesn't become airborne.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Lots of stuff to kill mold. Vinegar might do it. A solution of 1 tsp of Tea Tree oil to a cup of water will probably kill it. Several commercial products will kill it.

    Treat the mold and then give it sunlight and fresh air to get rid of the smell from whatever you used to kill the mold.

  8. #7
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    The first post about sunlight and real drying is a good start. The next step which always works for me is a good deep dose or two of some stuff called Nature's Miracle, which you buy in pet stores for vanquishing pet perfume, including skunk stink. It's pretty amazing stuff. I did a whole horrible moldy Subaru wagon with it once. Deep application, close the case for at lest 12 hours to let it vout in there, then open it up and dry it out. Reapply if necessary. One hit usually does it. Lysol has proven to be a complete waste of time, plus it smells as bad as the mold.

    .
    ph

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  9. #8

    Default Re: Mold in the case

    don't know if it'll work on stains ... but chuck some bicarbonate of soda in there, leave it over night and (tick-toc ... tick-toc) you'll have a sweet(er) smelling and - hopefully - spore-free case.

    in a "been there/done that/paid my dues ... got mold to prove it" sort of way, the kudos mike alludes to in his "mo-jo" reference, might be considered as something of a positive plus ...

  10. #9
    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    For a more weird approach:

    There was a thread a year or two ago which also suggested using an ozone generator to kill the mold spores etc. They're pricey, prob. $500 or so. I've heard that some companies which refurbish old cars use such generators. Also some hockey rinks use them to treat yucky uniforms (or so I'm told.) Might seek out one of these guys. They might do it for you just for fun.
    Phil

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  11. #10
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Ice Rinks with Hockey leagues generally have the Ozone treatment systems. I don't know if it will kill mold. The discussion you reference was to eliminate odor.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  12. #11
    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    I have no expertise or experience with this, but here is a link to what I'm talking about re killing mold with ozone. NFI

    http://www.mold-kill.com/isozonesafe.html
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

  13. #12
    Registered User Doug Edwards's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    I resisted the pack rat syndrome and chunked it out. I'll may never sell the instrument and ithe case is too cheap to make any difference.

    Thanks to all for the good advise.

  14. #13
    Registered User Rick Albertson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Paul

    I saw your post re: using Nature's Miracle to treat mold/mildew in mandolin cases. I have a deluxe Calton case in which I keep my 21 F4. I keep a Planet Wave humidifier in the case. Recently, after returning from a three week trip overseas I opened the case and found a strong mildew smell, and the mandolin sounded horrible. Had Gail Hester do some work on it and it's good again. But, neither she nor I have been able to get rid of the mildew smell in the case.

    I've been a bit leery of using any chemicals to treat the case, fearing that they might be harmful to the mandolin's french polish finish.

    Any thoughts? Would it be safe to try Nature's Miracle?

    Also, any recommendations on how to avoid over humidifying inside the Calton case in the future.

    Thanks very much for any advice.

    Rick
    "But no well informed person ever called the picking of the mandolin music." New York Times, 1897

  15. #14
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Nature's Miracle is completely safe. Be sure and use the general 'stain and odor' one (not the skunk or pet ones, and not the detergent) and blast it real good, including inside the string pocket, close the case and leave it shut for a day or two to let the stuff really penetrate and do its thing. Then open it and let it dry well before you put a guitar back in. (I did an entire reeking car with this, it took a couple of applications to get into the seats and headliner, but it really worked.)

    I am no fan of case humidifiers, but I know they can really help certain people, especially when they don't screw up. One thing that would be worth trying is to add a drop or three of NM to the water in the reservoir. It's just water, enzymes, isopropyl (to further penetration) and a bit of citrus scent that's not a particularly noticeable fragrance. It's the enzymes that do the work. No problems with finishes, etc.
    .
    ph

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  16. #15
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Rick:

    Love your quote. FYI, I got mold inside a Planet Waves humidifier, the first season I used it. I've used most of the products on the market and that was the first and only time that's happened. That may be the source of your trouble. Don't know about the cure.

  17. #16
    Registered User MnRoss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    It really depends as to what the case is made from. One can spray anything they want and kill the mold but you won't get the smell out if it's deep in the wood, cardboard, cloth or such. It's like books that have been in a wet basement and have that distinct oder. If it's not to bad sun light will make it smell fine. I have a friend who is a mold expert and I mean one of the for most mold experts in the world. He is also a musician and I have some cases that have contained some old vintage instruments. Last year we took a nice old case from a beautiful old Gibson Super 400 that stunk to high hell to a buddy of his that is working on a device (ozone related). All that came out of that was the smell was less but it was still there. The guitar is fine and smells fine when out of the case but the case is another matter. You can mask the smell for awhile with sprays and stuff but you can't get rid of it if it's really deep in to the wood, cloth or cardboard of the case.

  18. #17
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    My experience with the Nature's Miracle stuff is that it has been able to that get the smell out when it's deep in the wood, cardboard, cloth or such. You might want to try it before you dismiss it out of hand.
    .
    ph

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  19. #18
    Registered User Rick Albertson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Thanks, all. Very helpful. Will try Nature's Miracle.

    Rick
    "But no well informed person ever called the picking of the mandolin music." New York Times, 1897

  20. #19

    Default Re: Mold in the case

    The cause is not enough tobacco smoke--Instruments and cases just don't get enough tobacco smoke anymore. You need a really toxic environment to keep that stuff out.

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  22. #20
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Paul, surely you know that dismissing things out of hand without trying them is the traditional way...

    And I'm a guy who kind of likes the musty (not moldy) scent of old cases... It takes me back to when I was 16 and taking the bus to Central Square in Lynn, Massachusetts to go take driving lessons. There was a funky old music store/stringed instrument repair shop there, and mind you this would have been in 1959, and the place smelled like old cases and hot hide glue. Talk about a time machine!

  23. #21
    Registered User MnRoss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Sounds great and I'm going to try it.. Thanks Paul..

  24. #22
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    The worst case I had was a Harptone banjo case. It took several blasts and a lot of sunlight, but it finally cooperated and stayed good. The stuff is great for other things. Bad shoes, invading cat issues, you name it.

    I do love the smell of old musty cases, too, Rick. I have an old L-10 in its original case, and sometimes I like the case better than the guitar.
    .
    ph

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  25. #23

    Default Re: Mold in the case

    try bicarbonate of soda in the case - either sprinkled loose or poured in a sock (like i did to get rid of a smelly, armadillo shell charango.)

    - bill*

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  26. #24
    Registered User Rick Albertson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Thanks again, Paul. Nature's miracle worked great!

    Rick
    "But no well informed person ever called the picking of the mandolin music." New York Times, 1897

  27. #25
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mold in the case

    Glad to hear it! It's pretty versatile. Now that you have some, you have some left over, and it will find a use.
    .
    ph

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