Often asked: What Does Foxing Mean In Books?


Foxing is an age-related deterioration process that causes spots and browning on old paper documents such as books, stamps, and certificates. Paper that has been affected is said to be “foxed.” Although unsightly, foxing has no effect on the paper’s integrity.

Causes of foxing

The causes of foxing are unknown; one theory is that it is caused by a fungal growth on the paper, but it is possible that multiple factors are involved. High humidity, as well as the oxidation of metals and other substances in pulp or rag, could all contribute to foxing.

Repairing foxed documents

Each method has its own set of advantages and disadvantages for protecting text and images, including the risk of side effects or damage to the paper or ink.

In biological specimens

It is generally not advisable to repair study specimens, except in the case of mechanical damage, and type specimens should not be altered in any way. If foxing affects the study value of a specimen, this should be noted on the specimen label. Color standards can be used to document coloration before or during the early stages of foxing.

Foxed clothing

It can also be used to intentionally scuff items of clothing to make them appear older and more expensive.


Arai, Hideo (October 2000). “Foxing caused by Fungi: twenty-five years of study.” “How to Prevent and Reverse Foxing in Rare Books.” Smyth, Frank B. (1974). Naturalist’s Color Guide. American Museum of Natural History.

External links

Antique Roadshow: ‘Antiques Speak’ The Library of Congress: ‘Preserving Works on Paper’ are among the media related to Foxing on Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from “https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Foxing.”

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How do you get rid of foxing in a book?

Removing foxing marks should be left to a skilled book conservator or preservationist, who can use one of two methods to reverse foxing: using a reducing agent on the paper, such as sodium borohydride.

Does book foxing spread?

It doesn’t spread to neighboring books.

How do you remove foxing from paper?

To some extent, foxing can be treated with specific washing treatments that flush out the polluted acidic elements on the paper; however, to completely remove foxing, you will need to use a conservation standard bleaching agent.

Is foxing bad?

Mold spots are black, purple, pink, or green stains, or large brown blotches (not fox marks). Foxing is not known to damage the structural integrity of the paper; it’s a cosmetic problem best left untreated. Removing it bleaching and such does damage the paper.

Is foxing mold?

Mold and metal contaminants in paper cause foxing, which appears as brown, yellow, or red stains on the paper, usually in spidery spots or blotches.

How do you deodorize a book?

Place a cup of baking soda or an opened box in a plastic box or bin with a lid, then place the book in the box with the baking soda and close the lid. Wait 48-72 hours, then check on the book.

Is foxing on books normal?

A Chemsponge won’t remove mold, foxing, or stains, and it’s not a good idea if the paper is brittle or torn, or if the surface looks ‘fluffy.’ Clean only the margins, and be careful not to smudge or remove the ink if you clean printed areas or illustrations.

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What is slight foxing?

Slightly Foxed is a British quarterly literary magazine that focuses on books and book culture. Its fiftieth issue was published in 2016, and the magazine’s headquarters are in London.

What makes book pages turn yellow?

It’s all thanks to a complex molecule called ” lignin,” which is a dark substance found in wood and is responsible for the wood’s hardness. However, when wood is turned into paper, the lignin is retained, and it’s the exposure of lignin to air and sunlight that causes the yellowing you see on your books.

How do you remove yellow stains from paper?

Mix half a cup of white vinegar with half a cup of water in a bowl; most other types of vinegar will stain paper, so make sure the vinegar you use is completely clear, and do this step away from the paper to avoid spills and further damage.

How do you remove old brown spots from paper?

Spots can be treated with a cotton tip or a brush dipped in bleaching solution, and wrinkling can be reduced by dampening the paper and then pressing it dry. Gluing, backing up, and framing should all be done after the print has dried completely.

How do you remove foxing from old photos?

Some spots can be reduced by aqueous treatment of the document or photograph, but these treatments are risky and must be done in a controlled environment by specialist conservators.

Can you get sick from old books?

It doesn’t take many cold or flu viruses to infect a person, but unless a book was wet from a sick person who sneezed many times on it, the chances of contracting a seasonal illness are slim, according to Dr. David.

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Is it safe to read old books?

With old books, there is a significant risk of Lead dust exposure, which can include both inhalation and ingestion of Lead-containing micro-dust.

Can Used books make you sick?

And, according to modern scientists, simply reading a book isn’t enough to make you sick. While viruses and bacteria can live on the pages of library books, the risk of infection is extremely low. Make no mistake, though: those books are ripe with some pretty unpleasant substances.

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