Telephone Identification, Repair & Restoration > Telephone Restoration Projects and Techniques

White mold on plastic?

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This may have been covered before, but has anyone else found white mold growing on the plastic number bezels of 1950's era 500 & 5302 models?  My house isn't large enough to display all of my phones, so some are packed in boxes in my basement.

It's not overly damp, and I do run a dehumidifier when needed, but when I get the phones out to clean them, sometimes I find the mold.  It is usually only on the plastic dial bezels.

It seems to clean off easily enough, but it's odd how it likes that particular plastic.  I'm thinking of putting something like coffee, baking soda, charcoal, soap powder, etc, into a cheesecloth bag to put into the box, to try to ward off the mold.  Maybe those homebrewing / hop bags can have another use, packed with the phones. ;D

Has anyone else had this mold problem?

Josh P

Greg G.:
One of my 5302s was coated with it.  I gave it a good soak in Oxiclean, it hasn't returned, but it's not stored in a basement either.    

Tenite (soft plastic) is made of cellulose, so it is a nutrient source for mold.  You need to use Oxyclean or bleach or something to eliminate the mold spores to keep mold from regrowing when moisture is present.


Dennis Markham:
I have soaked the plastic in a bleach/water mixture after I've cleaned the mold.  I was told by a long-time collector that the bleach "kills" the mold from growing back.  It usually seems to be with the black phones.  The soaking doesn't effect the color.

As with Brinybay the only phones I have had this happen to was with two 5302's that I had in storage in the basement. The mold was on most of the phone but seemed to be worse on the dial bezel. I cleaned them up with dish soap & water and it started to return. So I cleaned them again with a spray bottle of 4 parts water and 1 part bleach and that did the trick. One of them was used with Russ Cowell's article on the 5302 in the Nov. TCI Singing Wires Journal. So it went from an oldie moldy to celebrity status.


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