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White mold on plastic?

Started by guitar1580, January 11, 2011, 12:19:40 AM

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That was from 2011.  I cleaned it with bleach back then and it has never returned.  It's also not in the basement anymore.

I always thought it was white mold because of the damp location, but maybe it is the butyric acid.  I've noticed the odor in some older 500s and 302s.


the basement would be the culprit.... dark and cold... wet and yucky! I try to keep my phones in my shed, or in the house... both places are climate controlled. still trying to get the shed insulated better... anyway, good for you that you got it cleaned...


High humidity is the biggest contributor to cellulose acetate deterioration, with high heat as the second contributor.  Shrinking is the most common symptom, such as is seen in the corners on 302s.  I've seen the but  I also collect 16mm films, so I am dealing with acetate deterioration in all my hobbies.  Good thing I don't collect screwdrivers.


Screwdrivers!! Yes, I have several that I have inherited from both of my grandfathers that would have been purchased in the 40's and 50's.  It does have a unique smell.  I'm relieved to find out that it probably isn't mold.  If it isn't mold, why would the bleach work to prevent it from reappearing?

I realize this is an old thread, but it's new to me.


It is a type of bioplastic and can be deteriorated by micro-organisms. Moisture and warm temperatures usually enhance the activity of such organisms. Bleach will be a killer ;-)
The smell will occur after deterioration has released acetic or (worse!) butyric acid from the product. Some persons find drastic words to describe the smell of butyric acid.

Still there are quality screwdrivers made from cellulose-acetate-butyrate. It has unique, desirable properties


I usually use an oily solvent like paint thinner or WD-40 to clean my screwdriver handles (or telephones with the white crud.  Water can accelerate deterioration.  And acetone will melt them.