Peroxide for Whitening Books... Probably a No Go
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14 posts in this topic

On 10/31/2022 at 11:56 PM, Beyonder123 said:

Just saw this video, and with the current hotness in comic cleaning being peroxide use, this seems like something more people should know about.

Tldr; peroxide weakens paper fibers in comics

The means people will go to scam have no boundaries. 

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On 11/1/2022 at 9:43 AM, DoctorWyoming1 said:

Immacuclean works for me, better than steaming actually. Doesn't really help much with foxing or any serious staining though.

What's actually in immacuclean? Or is it top secret?

 

On 11/1/2022 at 8:15 AM, dover said:

Watching the FB groups showing how they are doing this just terrifies me. I expect to see my books start to fall apart in the holder at some point. Or do a Thanos finger-snap and turn to dust.

 

Same. It seems that just blue light doesn't seem to do any damage though. Hopefully CGC is alert when it comes to checking if books have had peroxide used on them.

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Unfortunately I'm the guy who let the genie out of the bottle.  I was on a professional pressing FB group and posted the preliminary results of an experiment I did with various light sources and chemicals.  When I posted it I left a HUGE disclaimer saying this was in no way a test of what happens to the actual paper, just what it does to the appearance.  Within 6 weeks it was viral and in a freaking book.

That being said, at this point I have done a considerable amount on academic research on peroxide and paper.  It is certainly not taboo in the paper conservation community but, as Sauce Dog said, there are some key before and after things that need to be done.  Alas, 99% of the yahoos doing this are only going for the aesthetic component with absolutely no consideration nor concern for what it's doing to the longevity of the book.  For that reason I stopped referencing any work I do with it. 

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On 11/1/2022 at 12:10 PM, Beyonder123 said:

What's actually in immacuclean? Or is it top secret?

Rick is really up front about what's in it.  It's just a surfactant that helps lift off dirt and other substances.  As he put it once, "It's a soap that does a horrible job cleaning your hands."  There is no bleaching agent in it at all.  All it does is allow dirt to be lifted off.

There are a couple of drawbacks and they have to be taken into consideration when you're using it.
1) It's really strong and needs to be diluted to 2%-3% or even less.  But that means you're applying 97%-98% water to the surface of the paper and that creates its own problems.
2) Per Rick, it is a chelating agent and bonds to metals (making them easier to remove).  Now, what is in red and yellow ink... metal, that's right.  Thus, a heavy application of Immacuclean that gets through the gloss and contacts the ink can (but not always) cause some color to lift off.
3) It suspends some of that nasty spoon that can dry on your book, leaving streaks unless you clean it off thoroughly.

I have used it many, many times and it takes a lot of practice to get right.  When it works, it works great.  What I've found it works best on is oxidation.  It will pick up the oxidation like nothing else.  Unfortunately, unless you clean the book over and over again, you get oxidation streaks.  It's not something I recommend unless you have a lot of experience with it.

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On 11/7/2022 at 6:47 PM, Stronguy said:

Rick is really up front about what's in it.  It's just a surfactant that helps lift off dirt and other substances.  As he put it once, "It's a soap that does a horrible job cleaning your hands."  There is no bleaching agent in it at all.  All it does is allow dirt to be lifted off.

There are a couple of drawbacks and they have to be taken into consideration when you're using it.
1) It's really strong and needs to be diluted to 2%-3% or even less.  But that means you're applying 97%-98% water to the surface of the paper and that creates its own problems.
2) Per Rick, it is a chelating agent and bonds to metals (making them easier to remove).  Now, what is in red and yellow ink... metal, that's right.  Thus, a heavy application of Immacuclean that gets through the gloss and contacts the ink can (but not always) cause some color to lift off.
3) It suspends some of that nasty spoon that can dry on your book, leaving streaks unless you clean it off thoroughly.

I have used it many, many times and it takes a lot of practice to get right.  When it works, it works great.  What I've found it works best on is oxidation.  It will pick up the oxidation like nothing else.  Unfortunately, unless you clean the book over and over again, you get oxidation streaks.  It's not something I recommend unless you have a lot of experience with it.

There are other ways to remove surface dirt and oxidation without anything wet being used on the book. 

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On 11/8/2022 at 9:31 AM, joeypost said:

There are other ways to remove surface dirt and oxidation without anything wet being used on the book. 

Of course.  I was only talking about the application of Immacuclean to cleaning.  I've tested it on non-paper stuff too and it works better than almost anything for picking up schmutz -- that's the nature of a surfactant.  But even the best dry cleaning techniques tend to leave a little something behind that's why wet cleaning is considered the best overall for paper.  However, I wouldn't classify wiping a book with something barely damp as wet cleaning per-se nor would I say it's dry cleaning.

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