I received an object into the studio recently which had what may be the worst mould I have ever seen on a paper object. Needless to say, it went straight into quarantine to reduce the risk of any spread of the mould spores to other items, myself or into the air.
When I later removed the back of the picture during cleaning, the colours were quite beautiful; pinks, purples, lilacs, blues, greys.! And of course, the black of Aspergillus niger, the paper-loving mould that we see the most of in paper conservation.
Colourful appearances aside, mould is extremely dangerous. Owning mouldy items such as this in the home can present a health hazard as the spores of certain moulds can lodge in the lungs where they can continue to grow and cause respiratory problems in the future.
Mould should only be removed by professionals with the correct equipment. If you have an item which you know to be mouldy, don’t be tempted to disturb it at all. Try and keep it separate from other items in a dry and cool room and contact me for some free advice.