Moving on….

I’m in my new room and it is mold free. I can feel my health improving in this new environment. I thought I’d post an update incase some poor soul found themselves in my situation. (You can find the previous post about the mold hell here if you’re searching posts individually or scroll down if you’re in the archives.)

I got a lot of advice about how to deal with the possibility of there being mold in my yarn. Overwhelmingly, the suggestion was to lay the yarn in the sun for a few days and let the UVA UVB rays do their work. Unfortunately, since I live in a residence hall, I can’t do that without having to baby-sit the yarn – and since I’ll be working 12 hour days for the next week and a half, that’s not really going to work. And my boyfriend (bless his soul for letting me vent on multiple occasions) would understandably be upset if the first weekend day we can spend together in a month was spent babysitting yarn (summer jobs= long distance relationship).

So this is what I did: First, I quarrantined the yarn. The yarns that weren’t already in rubbermaid totes (and had been exposed to the mold-filled air most of the summer) got put in some giant ziplock bags (these things are AMAZING! They hold up to 10 gallons of stuff!). As I did this, I did the ol’ sniff test and things look bad.

You see, since I’ve been working on my Mason-Dixon Log Cabin blanket all summer, the project and the yarn I have set aside for it had been stored in open air in a cardboard decorative box that sat near the chair I usually sat in when I was knitting. That just happened to be very near to where the AC blew. After I put the yarn in a bag to move it, I noticed mold on the outside of the box and on the inside along the cracks (I burned this decorative box ceremoniously – it was liberating).

Anyway, the yarn for the blanket does not smell good. It smells remarkably different than the yarn that had been in the closet in the totes. Tomorrow I’m going to (sitting in the lounge) finish the strip I’m on (only like 2 more rows), bind off completely and then give the blanket as it is a good soaking. I’m going to skein the balls I have left and then do the same with those.

Today, I soaked and washed my sweaters, scarves and winter hats. In the corner of my room, I have the tower of sweater racks. Later next week, I’m going to do the sock yarns. After that, things should be under control. To be safe, all new yarns are going to be separated and in new containers so that I know which yarns were or may have been “exposed to the mold” and which were aquired before the summer of mold hell (or that which I will try best to forget).

I just want to stop and interject with an enthusiastic endorsement. I’m using Kookaburrah Wool Wash (You can get it at Knitpicks) and I’ve always loved it, but my love for it only grows. I’m not crazy about the scent, but I don’t hate it either. Anyway, you don’t have to rinse it and it has tea-tree oil in it. I emailed the contact folks at Kookaburrah when I discovered the mold and they responded very quickly.

“There’s enough Tea Tree Oil in Kookaburra to kill mould spores in your yarn and washing it with our woolwash will certainly remove any spores and the will be enough residual TTO locked into the fiber to prevent mould from reoccurring, especially when your AC’s putting out dry air!…If you do decide to wash your skeins, I would think a good soak in 2 oz to 5 gallons water and no rinse. We had a series of trials run at WRONZ(Wool Research Org. of New Zealand) and found that one of the conditioners in the woolwash locks the TTO into the wool fiber, we don;t know exactly how yet! So that should give you protection in storage… in a dry place!” – Sincerely, Tony Maggi

And so now, tea-tree oil is my new favorite thing in the whole world. It’s going to save my yarn, I know it!  Thanks Tony!

There was also the issue of my books. They were exposed to the air (ie, not in a cabinet like they usually are) all summer and I’d really hate for them to start to mold. I can’t wash them and so my only real option is to keep them in as dry an environment as possible. My mom recommended these things you can get in the laundry aisle that suck moisture out of the air. I put one in the cabinet with my books. Hopefully that will control any growth.

Hopefully, this is the last I ever have to think about one of the most awful things that could ever happen to a knitter. A serious attack on a stash.

Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and advice – it was really helpful.

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9 Responses to “Moving on….”


  1. 1 Bethany August 14, 2006 at 9:01 am

    Urgh– glad you’re in a healthier mold-free place now! You have to wonder how many students are sick because of the mold & don’t even realize that’s the problem.

    My grossest mold story– fortunately I had moved out of my parents house long before the basement flooded & they never got the carpet properly cleaned. They chose to ignore the problem, and just not go into the basement– when we finally did, there was a crop of huge mushrooms (like 8″ caps) growing right through the carpet. Eh… guess that’s a fungus story… but still GROSS. I will look for that Kookaburra wash– I like tea tree oil too!

  2. 2 KathyMarie August 14, 2006 at 10:58 am

    I’m glad things are looking better for you–great find on the Kookaburra wash. I’ll have to get me some of that (file under “just in case”).

    If your books are damp-feeling, you can throw them in a freezer to suck the moisture out (provided you have a big enough freezer, of course). I’ve never heard of the laundry moisture-sucker.

    Hooray for good/better health!

  3. 3 Alison August 15, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    I’m glad you’re feeling better. Here’s some more info on dealing with mold in books – though I think I’d say you shouldn’t worry about them growing mold too much, since they didn’t get wet. If they smell funny, this might help. This info is from the Northeast Document Conservation Center (http://www.nedcc.org), which is a very well-respected institution in the world of archives and preservation.

    “A musty smell is most often noted in books that have been moldy or mildewed in the past. To remove the musty smell from old books, first make sure they are dry. Place books in a cool, dry space for a couple of hours. If damp, open the books and stand them up with pages fanned to allow drying. Circulating the air with a fan will help.”

    Can you tell I’m a librarian? 🙂

  4. 4 kelp! August 22, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    Wow, that mold situation sounds really terrible. I used to live in a damp house also, and I got out before things got Really Bad… Good idea on segregating the new yarn from the exposed stuff.

  5. 5 Evamitz August 29, 2006 at 4:33 am

    In the past they used small bags of lavender against mold, I guess that the smell is repulsive to the mold.
    I have just this summer discovered some beatles and their caterpillars that eats wool(protein) in my kitchen. So far my yarn stash seems to be unattacked I dont know what to do if they attacked the stash. I think I’d had to take a week off work to put the yarn on hanks and wash. There is one drawback of a too extensive stash.

  6. 6 moraie September 4, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    Where’d you get that great sweater dryer? I want me one!

  7. 7 moraie September 4, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    As for the mold on your books, I’m wondering what a light solution of bleach might do to help wash the covers. Call the school library, I bet they have some great ideas from the book conservation people.

  8. 8 water clean up August 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    For newest news you have to pay a visit internet and on web I found this site as a best web site for latest updates.

  9. 9 Janean January 2, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Glad you dealt with it. I didn’t have sympathetic people in charge of mold removal, so i now get debilitating migraines at the slightest amount of mildew. Millions of people are inhaling myotoxins and unless they have an immediate reaction, nothing is done. It isn’t healthy. Sometimes I wonder if cigarette smoke is the biggest culprit of lung disease or mold? Bleach, rubbing alochol & peroxide (not mixed) are my friends.


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