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Re: [BKARTS] BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 10 Jun 2004 to 11 Jun 2004 (#2004-158)

Dear Susan and Edward,

Please don't do this:  An iron stain IS oxide, and bleaching WILL NOT
remove it or lighten it.  Bleaching is oxidation.  You have to do one of
two things:  dissolve the stain by converting it to some compound that is
water soluble, or convert it into a less coloured compound.

The chelating reagent may or may not work: I don't know.  They will, if
effective, attach the iron to a large organic molecule which may or may not
wash out effectively.

What will work, at some level, is the use of some kind of acid, preferably
a REDUCING acid, like citric or ascorbic acid (as in lemon juice) or oxalic
acid.  Formic acid may also work, as may acetic acid.  The latter two will
have little reducing effect, but may form some organic salts which are soluble.

One suggestion was to use a weak acid with salt.  This sets up a reaction
which will tend to eliminate some of the stain as chloride or iron-chlorine
complex, which will be much more soluble than the stain.  One of the rules
of chemistry is that all chlorides except silver chloride are pretty
soluble in hot water.  So a goal of cleaning insoluble metallic oxide
stains is to try to change them to chlorides.  The direct method of
producing chlorides is to use another weak acid: HCl, hydrochloric or
muriatic acid, which will dissolve some of the stain, and turn it into an
iron chloride or an iron-chlorine complex, which will wash out to some
degree.  All of these acid treatments will work better with hot reagents,
and all will have a not necessarily good effect on the paper.  All acid
treatments will have to be neutralized and buffered afterwards.

One of the problems with iron oxides is that the iron system has some
pretty complex chemistry, and your stain may be complexed in the cellulose
or lignin, and may exist in one of three oxidation states.  The standard
method for removing oxides on steel is to pickle in hot, concentrated acid,
usually sulfuric acid.  This is not good for books.  Weaker acids may work,
but much more slowly.

All the best, Gavin

At 04:43 PM 12/06/2004 -0400, Edward Stansell wrote:

They would not be as harmful as other agents that were mentioned, but they
most likely would be ineffective. Not having seen your book, this is of
speculation. If I were working on you books, and you insisted on attempting to
remove the stains, I might try a using 3% hydrogen peroxide, like that you
might find in your medicine cabinet. I would gently dab it on with a cotton
swab. It might be beneficial to mix it with a little methylcellulose to
help it
keep to one spot. Let it dry in bright sunlight. When dry, I would dab again
with distilled water, repeat when dry the same way. (sunlight also
bleaches) This
may lighten the stain somewhat. I would test this method on one sheet only in
case it isn't effective. you don't want to do the entire book if the
bleaching is ineffective.


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