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Subject: Soot and odour removal after a fire

Soot and odour removal after a fire

From: Reni Teygeler <rene.teygeler>
Date: Thursday, August 1, 2002
Monographs that have been recovered after a fire form a big problem
for the conservator. First it is almost impossible to remove the
black greasy soot from the covers and second it is next to
impossible to remove the pungent odour.

About the soot removal, the advice I was given is just to clean the
books by hand with a soft brush. One important advice however was to
handle the effected books as little as possible as to prevent
smudges. It was said that an untouched layer of soot was easier to
remove. Another advice is to remove the soot as soon as possible as
the longer it stays on the covers the more difficult it seems to
remove it.

About the odour, there are some Dutch companies that claim to be
able to remove the smell from the books after a fire but in the end
it seems that they are only spraying the books with another scent in
order to dispel the original pungent odour. In fact they do not
remove the original odour but only try to 'out-scent' it with
another one. One company claims to 'destroy' the odour molecules
with enzymes after the soot has been removed.

Does anyone have any experience in removing soot and the pungent
odour from monographs after they have been recovered from a fire?

Reni Teygeler
J.van Effenstraat 23 bis
3511 HJ Utrecht
the Netherlands
email: rene.teygeler [at] wxs__nl
+31 30 2382172
Fax: +31 30 2382170

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:11
                  Distributed: Friday, August 2, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-11-014
Received on Thursday, 1 August, 2002

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