Preserving a Water-damaged Scrapbook

Dear Donia,
How do I preserve a scrapbook that has water damage?

Damaged scrapbook

Q. Dear Donia,

I have a scrapbook that has been water damaged on the bottom half of the pages. A number of the pages have some interesting colors on the damaged parts (I assume from mildew or mold). The scrapbook is in a box. Is the box sufficient to keep whatever is causing the colors? It doesn't have a strong smell—just a slight "old book" smell. I would like to scan it—are there any precautions to take so mold spores (or whatever it is) doesn't contaminate anything else that gets scanned next? Would Lysol be advised to clean the scanner? Should I wear a face mask while doing it? Thanks, Beth

A. Dear Beth,

I am sorry to hear your scrapbook got water damaged. From our further conversation, I do agree with you that the pink staining you describe is from an item in your scrapbook. Dyes used to color paper are often very sensitive to water (especially red) and will often run.  
I also think that the brown and black staining is mold. The first thing that I would recommend that you do is wrap the album in waxed paper and pop it in the freezer for a couple of days.  This will deactivate any of the mold and prepare it for cleaning off.
From the looks of it, your mold doesn't look too heavy. This is good because you can clean the powdery stuff with a smoke sponge like this from our sponsor Hollinger Metal Edge. You would simply use this as you would an eraser, just with more gentle pressure, to pick up the powerdery mold. You can cut the sponges up into whatever size you want with a scissors and trim away the surface when it gets dirty (or simply throw away). Be sure to wear an N100 dust mask and wear nitrile gloves (both available at Home Depot or Lowes or such) to protect yourself. It also helps to make up a dry cleaning tray (three sides and a bottom) from an old box or a big sheet of kraft paper to contain any crumbs, protect your surfaces from mold, and to make clean up easier. I would dry clean not just the moldy spots but the entire page to ensure that you get everything. This way, a box stored somewhere that doesn't get too humid should protect the scrapbook itself and all the others from cross contamination.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.