What to use to remove mildew and mold on a guitar

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by seratone, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. seratone

    seratone Member

    Messages:
    180
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    A good friend brought his Gibson ES-347 out of storage after 10 years and it appears to be covered in mildew or mold (I think it had been stored in his basement).

    I'm going to take a pass at getting back into shape for him. I hear that Naptha might be the best thing to remove the stuff on the surface of the guitar - and uncooked rice inside to tackle the mold. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I assume Naptha will also work on the hardware.

    Here's a photo (and no, it wasn't taken during a snowstorm) - I'll take more if need be when I get the guitar tomorrow.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/20361520@N00/sets/72157651070443577/
     
  2. onemoretime

    onemoretime Member

    Messages:
    2,042
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Just so sad to see a fine instrument allowed to get into that state. What is wrong with people? Storing a valuable wooden instrument in a damp basement is inexcusable. If the guitar means nothing to you, then at least give it away to someone who appreciates it or at least has a modicum of common sense..
     
  3. mellecaster

    mellecaster Member

    Messages:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    A very good dose of Sunlight outdoors wouldn't hurt either.
     
  4. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

    Messages:
    7,967
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    That's going to be a tough one because there will be mildew on the inside of the guitar that might never go away. I have a case that has mildew (on the outside only luckily) which I'll likely clean with naptha or "Fantastic" which cleaned some mold from a wall that got wet. Don't use "Fantastic" on any guitar though.
     
  5. Otto Tune

    Otto Tune Member

    Messages:
    3,817
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2014
    Location:
    Florida
    I've used Simple Green on mildew with a microfiber cloth and it wipes right off.
    The tough part will be inside. And the smell. You might have to pour in some Naptha and swish it around then drain.
     
  6. SackvilleDan

    SackvilleDan Member

    Messages:
    2,007
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Send it to RS Guitar Works... they have phenomenal experience with this, apparently!

    http://www.rsguitarworks.net/cms2/saving-rich-robinsons-335/

    ...I'm only partly serious about sending it, but thought that the article might help with some ideas, and provide some entertainment for the rest of TGP. Hopefully you can get the guitar back in shape for your pal!
     
  7. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

    Messages:
    15,541
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Location:
    In The Basement
    To me, it looks like there's a very nice ES under that mess. Please post pics of the process and end results.



    Thanks
     
  8. mughead

    mughead Member

    Messages:
    254
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    not good to breathe all that mildew dust in is it? Just wondering.. i wouldnt want to .
     
  9. lespaulreedsmith

    lespaulreedsmith Member

    Messages:
    3,394
    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    where the wind comes sweepin' down the plains
    There's an essential oil called Thieves. Put the oil in a diffuser and put the guitar in a small space with the diffuser or somehow get the mist into the interior of the guitar. Totally kills mold. Even black mold.
     
  10. ELmiguel

    ELmiguel Member

    Messages:
    3,566
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2013
    Location:
    East Coast of USA
    I not sure about putting rice inside of a F-hole guitar because it will be hard to get back out. The idea of the rice is for round hole acoustic guitars. You put a cup in the guitar, cover the hole, and shake for 20 minutes or so. It acts like an abrasive and scrapes off the mold living on the wood.
    Light and moving air help get rid of mold. I'd try putting a fan in front of the guitar for a day to let the air move around in there. I've also heard of putting Naptha on a small piece of sponge, connecting a string to the sponge, and lowering it into the sound holes. This gas that the Naptha releases is supposed to kill mold.
    Good luck.
     
  11. DustyRhodesJr

    DustyRhodesJr Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,913
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
  12. RnB

    RnB Member

    Messages:
    1,103
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I posted this in your other Thread you started, but not much happening there.

    Thx for the alert SackvilleD...!

    ><><><

    If it were mine, I'd kill the mildew 1st...! Remove all the parts. Then, I'd makeup a mild solution of Bleach or Vinegar & warm water & wipe it down slowly w/ a soft all-cotton rag (flannel). Bleach kills mildew, but only certain types of mold. Go slow & be cautious, you don't want to destroy the finish. Find a test an area 1st that's not all that noticeable & see if that removes your mildew. Squeeze excess water out of the rag & don't flood the solution on the guitar. Might take a couple of passes. If that works & the yuk is all gone, wipe down w/ a clean damp rag. Make sure the guitar's all dried-out. Mildew doesn't like sunlight.

    Naphtha prolly won't do much for the mildew/mold. I'd use that after you've removed the mold. Naptha will remove the grime/grease buildup. Followed by a good cleaner/polishing cmpd. If it's still isn't up to snuf, go to a light rubbing cmpd...followed w/ a polishing cmpd.

    Don't know about uncooked rice for inside, but it shouldn't hurt to try? More than anything, you don't want it to get hung-up in the electronix...

    If it's Nickel Hdwr & there's rust present, gently 0000 steel-wool the parts 1st. Mother's Billet Metal Polish does wonders for restoring the luster.

    Charcoal and/or baking soda can be used to remove moldy odors. Mothballs will too, but have a fairly strong odor...
     
  13. seratone

    seratone Member

    Messages:
    180
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    Apologies for the double post folks - Thanks RnB. I did what you suggested, bleach, vinegar and water solution - then a thorough cleaning with Naphtha (lighter fluid). I didn't take the guitar completely apart.

    From the photo's you can tell the after Market Tremolo disintegrated, leaving it's screws posts stuck in the end of the guitar. I had a gold Gibson tailpiece lying around and will be picking up a gold tunamatic bridge today. The aftermarket roller bridge that came with the trem snapped in half.

    I have to put a strap pin on it...any idea how to get those screw posts out?

    Also the soft shell case it was stored in - should I throw it out? does mold regenerate (the gift that keeps on giving?)

    There's some finish damage at the heel, but my friend and I have decided to leave it as it is - a gentle reminder to never store a guitar in a basement again...

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/20361520@N00/sets/72157651070443577/
     
  14. Emplexador

    Emplexador Member

    Messages:
    177
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2009
    Location:
    South Florida
    I have wiped cases clean of mold inside and out then vacuumed followed by sunshine. No sun for the guitars - too hot. Also the different things mentioned for the odor. It takes a while to stabilize... don't put the guitar in the case yet.
     
  15. RnB

    RnB Member

    Messages:
    1,103
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    That's looking much better. Too bad about the tail :>( Looks like water damage? Toss that old softshell & get a decent hardshell case for that 347 for better protection. They're cool guitars.

    On the screws: Could be a problem, being that it's such a small screw? You could try to carefully cut a groove in it w/ a small sharp chisel, so you can get a flat-tip screwdriver in a slot, then back it out. Tough call...might break even more...? Or, drive it deeper & putty up the holes.
     
  16. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

    Messages:
    14,567
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Location:
    PNW
    Geez... what a bummer. I think you are on the right track. I definitely would put the rice in there for a while. Are the pots shot? likely.... did the neck warp?
    Naptha or something less smelly is a good shot. Gibson makes a guitar polish that feels like a petro product.
    Forget the case... it's shot... you will never get the smell out of it, much less the dampness. I tried that on a bad case years ago... eventually had to take all the inside out of the case and reline it. I tired everything, baking soda, rice, carpet cleaner etc.
    Don't steel wool anything.
     
  17. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

    Messages:
    15,541
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Location:
    In The Basement
    Take a trip to Lowe's, Ace Hardware, Sears, etc. and look for what is known as an "easy out" for the screws. I don't know if they make one that small but it's worth it to find out.

    Toss the case, it isn't worth the hassle or risk that the mold could come back.
     

Share This Page