Dampened paper and mold

I dampened my paper two days ago. I planned on printing on it today. I messed up on my plate and have to have it remade, so won’t be able to print until Saturday. That is six days of being damp in a bag. Will it mold? Should I refrigerate? Dry it out and redampen?

Any insights greatly appreciated.


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Yes, it will! Be careful. I remember Steve Heaver and I had a disaster with this back in the day at his Hill Press in Baltimore. It was a sad loss of nice mouldmade paper and a hard lesson learned. Refrigeration might do it. I hope others with more experience with this can chime in.


Some papers will mold more readily than others. For instance, sheets with abaca fibers + cotton fibers will mold very quickly compared to one hundred percent cotton. The most I ever leave damp paper in a bag is three days and that’s pushing it. If you have a refrigerator that can hold your bagged paper it should prevent the mold. After three or four days in the frig. I suggest taking the bundle of paper out of the bag and misting the exterior edges of the stack and then, after re-bagging, place back in the frig. for the duration. Good luck!


Thanks for the voices of experience.

I took it out, fanned it, and am letting it dry under weight. I’ll redampen when the plates come.


There are solutions you can add to the water to limit or prevent mold growth. We had a similar problem when we were printing The Rich Mouse on mould-made paper, and we lost several printed sheets due to it. I forget what the mold preventative is called, but maybe Talas has it.

I just found the info: Three drops of phenophthalein or a similar product will keep the water aseptic if it must be kept for prolonged periods of time. it should also prevent the dampened paper from molding.


Can’t cite the source but I thought a few drops of Lysol added to dampening water helped with mold. That recommendation would be from something of Lewis Allen vintage.