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Mold/mildew on fabric rolls

Resources | August 1, 2011 | By:

We go through a lot of cotton canvas per month, and the rolls typically come with a protective plastic packaging. During the last year and a half, when we’ve opened some of the rolls, we’ve found mold/mildew half a dozen times. We’ve checked our storage area and there are no signs of moisture. There are also no roof leaks, and the storage rooms are not located near a restroom or a drinking fountain. What could be causing this?

It sounds as though you’re already eliminated any potential causes from your end. Most textiles, however, do go through wet processing of one type or another, so our first thought was that the material wasn’t completely dry when wrapped. A second cause might be moisture getting in during the shipping process. We’re not sure what you can do about either of those other than to notify your supplier about the problem so that they can fix it on their end.

Note: The member who asked this question also got a response from a supplier and passed it along to us. It was suggested that he track the times of year that the mildewed rolls were received. It was pointed out that much of the cotton canvas originates in countries susceptible to monsoons, and the cotton fabric could be picking up excessive moisture before being packed. Once packed, the moisture is trapped and mildew can grow. Another culprit might be that some companies have reduced the amount of sizing they put on their warp yarns before weaving. Sometimes anti-mildew agents are added to the sizing, so if the sizing is reduced, the amount of protection it offers might also be reduced.

Juli Case is IFAI‘s information and technical services manager.

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