Moldie Oldie?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by davecaz, May 17, 2017.

  1. Hi all,

    I'm new here. Been admiring your work for a couple weeks, but don't have anything to upload. Yet.

    What I do have is a Voigtlander Vito match that appears to be in excellent condition, with one exception. It has a distinct smell of mildew.

    I don't see any signs of mold, but that doesn't mean it's not lurking in there, somewhere. And I know that mildew is not the same thing, scientifically, but, for all I know, mildew could be worse.

    Anyone familiar with this issue? I live in the desert, so I'm thinking of putting it out in the backyard, and giving it a blast of solar radiation, which ought to kill most infestations. But, I thought I might as well see if anyone has any advice before I do.

  2. Hello everyone. Dave living here in Hawaii for 6 months a year, the rest in the Puget Sound, Wa. area, the "smell" of mold & the site of "fuzzy white stuff" is common. For my various cameras, I use common 90% alcohol & a cotton ball to wipe the surfaces several times. The cotton ball should be "almost dry". . . you will hardly see any liquid on the wiped surface. After ALL surfaces have been worked on, put the camera in a Zip-Lok freezer bag, toss the used cotton ball in the bag, zip it up & let it sit several days. I would not advise your "solar nuking". . Non metal parts might shape-shift on you.
    So far all the leatherette surfaces of my CMC's have stayed "clean" & no smell from any of them. I do this once a year to each camera.
    Oh, if the camera was previously owned by a smoker, mold/mildew will start on just that thin layer. Aloha, Bill
  3. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.


    I have also used a UV lamp to help reduce mildew odor on leatherette and camera cases. As Bill mentioned, setting the camera in the desert sun isn't the best idea, as you don't want lubricants melting and potentially getting onto the shutter, lens elements, etc.

    Dave E.
  4. All the advice is good. I did want to reinforce what m42D_ said, don't want strong heat.... I had a really smelly everyready case, once the camera was away from the source of the smell it was ok . I'm sure you'll overcome this too... please post gear and results...
  5. Hello again. If you have a "smelly" case, or for that matter, any type of cloth/fabric case (luggage, gym bag, etc) get a small, travel size bottle with a fine misting sprayer on it. Fill the bottle up with the 90% alcohol & give the item a "fine" coat with the sprayer. Put the item into a trash can bag & allow to sit over night. Remove & allow to air for an hour or two. My "smelly stuff" usually comes out OK. Cig smoke might require a repeat or two. Aloha, Bill
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
    bertliang likes this.
  6. Thanks, everyone. Just to be clear, there is no case on this camera. It is the camera, itself, that has the odor problem. And, being a Voigtlander, it has that thin, hard, plasticy "leather". I guess mildew could find a way to live under that, but it seems unlikely.

    @chuck_foreman - I haven't been here long enough to be sure what you mean about posting gear.
  7. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    If it is just on the camera body you might try Bill's method first, then follow up with UV if needed. If it has gotten into the inner workings of the camera, though, the smell can be hard to eliminate completely.

    A while back I had a musty-smelling Fujica and used a battery-powered UV sanitizing wand over the surface of the camera for 15-30 minutes. It helped to reduce much of the odor.
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  8. @dave... I mean Camera Porn...
    JDM among others feel this is an important part of a post. That is the pictures of the cameras themselves.. sexy or not... I personally find many models ravishing! Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  9. Ummm I was just t wondering if a product like "Odor Eaters" ( a an insole for shoes) might be a simple but effective solution. A pack of these plus the camera in a plastic bag, or wrapping the camera in the product with rubber bands... just thinking out loud here!
  10. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Actually that's not a bad idea, Chuck..."Photo-Eaters"? :)

    You can also get products like odor-absorbing charcoal and moisture-absorbing canisters for closet storage.
  11. Hi Davecaz! For cleaning the camera, mildew fungus etc., mix 50-50 of peroxide and household ammonia and apply the same to the camera to wipe. it will remove all infections. Then you can [optional] use petrol [gas] to dry clean the camera and place it under the window Sun light. Your camera will become very clean. Best. sp.
  12. Right now, I'm trying a modification of Bill's idea. Wiping down the surfaces I could get at with the alcohol, even using Q-tips, didn't do much, so I've soaked a cotton ball in it and locked it inside the camera body. I'm hoping the fumes will reach wherever the mildew is hiding and kill it. I don't think absorbing the smell would help if the infestation is still alive. It would just produce more.

    Ok, so I'm supposed to post pix of the "patient" in question? I'm not much of a product photographer, but I can give it a try. I'm more of an outdoor photographer - landscapes, architecture, and such. And I've seen some "camera porn" on here that looks like it belongs in a Sotheby's catalog, so my attempts will look even worse by comparison.
  13. Hi,

    It's not very porn-ish, but here's a shot of "the patient".

    Ok, so simply using the button doesn't work as expected. I guess I'll have to research it.

    FWIW, the alcohol seems to finally be winning the battle.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  14. Camera Porn is fun (and legal !). This is where I can "cheat" & use my 7 yo digi to show off my 50+ yo CMC's ! Aloha, Bill DSCF6624-horz-vert.jpg

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