Foxing is a type of book damage that is characterized by brown or reddish spots on the pages of a book. These spots are typically caused by exposure to mold or mildew, but they can also be caused by other factors such as insects, water, or chemicals. Foxing can occur on both the cover and the pages of a book, and it can be either cosmetic or structural.
Foxing can affect the value of a book. If the foxing is minor and does not affect the readability of the book, it may not decrease the value. However, if the foxing is severe, it can make the book unsellable.
There are a few ways to remove foxing from books. One method is to place the book in a plastic bag with a slice of bread. The bread will absorb the moisture from the book and the foxing should fade. Another method is to place the book in a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water. This solution will also help to remove mold and mildew from books.
Cosmetic foxing is usually not harmful to the book and can be cleaned off easily with a soft cloth. Structural foxing, on the other hand, can penetrate the paper and cause the pages to become brittle and yellowed. This type of foxing is more difficult to clean and can ultimately lead to the deterioration of the book.
Foxing can be prevented by storing books in a cool, dry place. If books are stored in an environment that is too humid, they are more likely to develop mold and mildew, which can cause foxing. If books are stored in an environment that is too dry, they are more likely to develop dust and dirt, which can also cause foxing.
The best way to clean foxing is to use a soft cloth and a gentle cleaning solution. Water and soap should not be used to clean foxing, as this can damage the book further. If the foxing is severe, a professional conservator may need to be consulted.