How to Restore Foxing on Paper Prints

Things You\’ll Need

  • 1 liter bottle

  • Chemical-resistant gloves

  • Dust mask (optional)

  • Distilled water

  • Hydrogen peroxide

  • Calcium hydroxide

  • Towels

  • Cotton swabs

... Restore vintage paper prints by removing foxing buildup.

When it comes to restoring vintage paper prints, foxing buildup on the paper can be a major obstacle. Foxing is a common type of mildew found on vintage paper that has been sitting for long periods of time. It can start building up in as short as a few months, and continue damaging paper for years to come. Foxing is accumulated as paper attracts both iron and ferrous oxide to the paper material, which causes discoloration and odor. Fortunately, you can remove foxing without degrading the integrity of the original print.

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Step 1

Put on some chemical-resistant gloves. If you are sensitive to chemical solutions, consider wearing a dust mask.

Step 2

Fill a 1 liter bottle with distilled water. Add 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to the water. This dilutes the water before mixing the rest of the solution. Let it sit for about 30 seconds. Add another teaspoon of calcium hydroxide to the water. This neutralizes any acidic properties inside of the solution.

Step 3

Lay out some towels on a work table. Place the paper print on the table with the affected side of the print facing upward.

Step 4

Wet the foxing on the print's surface lightly with some tap water. Dip a cotton swab into the prepared solution. Gently rub the swab over the affected areas on the print. Let the solution sit on the paper for 30 minutes. Reapply the solution to the print's surface every 30 minutes over a span of four to six hours, or until the foxing is completely removed.


If the paper's condition appears too brittle, refer the foxing restoration procedure to a professional print repair person. If handled carelessly, you could permanently damage the paper.

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