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THIS and THAT  | General Topics

This & That
General Topics





Question asked: Is polyester the “best” material to use for storing paper products long-term?

Answer:

Yes – the problem with storing paper products in polyester (mylar) is that it has no “breathing” capabilities and sealing it is really not a good idea as moisture would be trapped inside and could potentially cause mold and mildew problems down the line. Mylar is used by museums and archives because it has 10’s of 100’s of years of life before it would break down and have to be replaced. This is a good thing for places like museums, as they could never be able to keep track of all the millions of documents they have and have to worry about replacing the sleeves before they start to deteriorate. Mylar needs to be kept in a controlled environment because of that “breathing” issue – and museums have that. Most homes do not. Desiccants need to be monitored carefully as well. They do absorb moisture, but you would need some kind of moisture gauge, as #1 if you have too much desiccant, you could make the paper brittle and cause it to start breaking down and #2 - eventually the desiccant needs replacing, as it will sooner or later have no more absorbing capabilities and stop doing the job. Moisture is a very tricky problem with paper as you can imagine. That is why polypro and polyethylene are considered good alternatives for the standard collector who is looking for a lifetime of protection for their collectibles 50-100 years. They have “breathing” properties and as long as they are not left out to absorb light, will not break down for 50-100 years.

– Marion Oyer

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