Dear BiblioBull – PVA & Mold

Dear Biblio Bull-

I never thought there would be book repair videos on youtube, but then that was before I got some more RAM. Anyway, I have question. I have a bottle of PVA that at one point had mold growing on the top. So the question is how do I A) prevent this from happening and B) Salvage the remaining PVA if possible?

Anyway thanks for the very informative videos.



Dear Matt –

Yes, mold can sprout in a container of PVA, just like the leftover spaghetti sauce in the fridge. This usually occurs after seasons of heavy moisture and on large containers that have been opened.

From Aaron Salik @ Talas:

About four or five years ago manufacturers of these adhesives which are used commonly in the food packaging industry, were forced to remove trace amounts of formaldehyde that they were adding to adhesives to prevent the growth of mold. This is a good thing as far as health goes, but it doesn’t mean that a bottle can sit on the shelf for two years and be usable after such a period of time (though it is possible.) It also means that any sort of contamination, either from putting brushes, fingers, etc into a master container, or even airborne spores that enter the container while open can cause mold growth.

Presently this stuff has a shelf life of about 6 months. If you buy it in large quantities and are worried about mold, you can add an tiny bit of anti-fungicide such as Thymol dissolved in alcohol. My suggestion is to buy the smallest quantity you can get away with and be careful about contamination. (don’t put your brush into the parent container etc . . .) As for salvaging the rest of it, why bother? If it is contaminated it will be more trouble than it is worth to buy more.

Biblio Bull-

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