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Getting rid of mold
Televet posted a topic in The PegboxI have talked elsewhere about using ethylene oxide to make safe an old violin that had had too close an encounter with mice and might have been a Hanta Virus risk. Recently a friend mentioned that his two performance violins had been exposed to damp conditions and mould had been found inside both violins. One is an old Italian and the other a contemporary violin by a European maker. We discussed treatment and investigated Ozone (not effective enough against mold spores) and various other options and concluded that The Ethylene Oxide method would likely be the best route, but I was a bit nervous about putting a very valuable instrument through the gas. Everything suggested that all should be well, but in order to allay my concerns we gas sterilized a couple of less valuable violins with oil finishes as a warm up. That gave us n=3 and with only a little trepidation we ran the old Italian through a 12 hour cycle today. As expected (but still much to my relief) everything went well, the violin came out as beautiful as it went in (and also less moldy). Unexpectedly, the label which was almost illegible from the ravages of time and black mold came out of the sterilizer looking like a museum conservator had spent weeks restoring it. I have no explanation for the label, but just wanted to let you all know that this is a very viable method of sterilizing and making safe a violin that has been exposed to such adverse events. Ethylene Oxide sterilizers are fairly common pieces of kit in the veterinary and medical worlds if anyone has a need. They are not expensive to run and they certainly do a good, safe job. Tomorrow it is the turn of the Contemporary European instrument.