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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have some older style reed holders: LaVoz metal 4 reed, Vandoren plastic 4 reed and one LaVoz plastic 2 reed. The Vandoren one has long groves in the bottom surfaces and I've noticed dark mold stripes growing on the bottom of reeds corresponding to the grooves. Also reeds in the plastic LaVoz holder sometimes get moldy on the top of the vamp where tapers down from the bark and the holder presses down on the reed.

I have tried to kill off mold from the reeds holder surfaces with a long soak in peroxide, then brushing with a toothbrush. The "pressure plate" of a plastic holder is difficult to scrub. Anyway, this didn't seem to help much. Can anyone suggest a better procedure? Maybe I ought to change my baggie and/or humidipak more frequently.

Lately I've been using Boveda humidipaks to help stabilize reeds in the dry summer months which may be worsening mold issues I've only used the 49% RH grades.

Anyway, this is not the end of the world but looking for some guidance.
 

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Are your Boveda packs full of moisture/ saturated and not able to do their job? On the other end of the extreme, once the stuff inside starts turning to crystals they aren’t effective at all. Also, the packs the size of a wet-nap are meant to maintain humidity in a tiny container that holds less than 5grams of dried…oregano. One freshly played wet reed put away has more moisture in it than that.
Those Vandoren cases are notorious for mold. Replacing them is best, cleaning them thoroughly and leaving them cracked open upon further use helps. Once again, too much moisture for the container.
 

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Do you wipe your reeds dry before inserting them in the reed holder?

If you are having mold problems, the last thing you want to do is add a humidifier.

Mold is tough to get rid of and hazardous to your health. I would dump the reeds and reed holders, then restart.

I used to have some of those reed holders with caps and humidifiers and had similar mold issues. I went back to my old school Lavoz reed holders and haven't had the issue since (10+ years).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had noticed poor reed life in dry months. Seems stabilizing the humidity to a moderate levels results in the reeds staying vibrant/lively for longer. A long time ago I experimented with leaving reeds out in the open to dry thoroughly on a flat piece of glass. The tenor sax reeds developed permanently wavy tips, and quickly became unplayable.

I always wipe off excess moisture from the reed before storage. When practicing at home, I wet the reed in tap water before playing and rinse in tap water before wiping and storing.

Not sure if my Bovedas are saturated or crystalized; will investigate.

Is it really true that playing a reed with a small amount of dark mold is very harmful? Can it spread to the sinuses for example? FYI, in general I toss roughly 20% of my reeds which would otherwise be considered still playable because of excessive mold. But many of my reeds never show any signs of mold.
 

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I had noticed poor reed life in dry months. Seems stabilizing the humidity to a moderate levels results in the reeds staying vibrant/lively for longer. A long time ago I experimented with leaving reeds out in the open to dry thoroughly on a flat piece of glass. The tenor sax reeds developed permanently wavy tips, and quickly became unplayable.
I suggest you let the reeds dry in the holder where they are constrained to dry flat.

I always wipe off excess moisture from the reed before storage. When practicing at home, I wet the reed in tap water before playing and rinse in tap water before wiping and storing.
Sounds good.

Not sure if my Bovedas are saturated or crystalized; will investigate.
I don't understand your point. My observation is that if your reeds are suffering from mold, lose the humidifier that is sustaining mold growth.

Is it really true that playing a reed with a small amount of dark mold is very harmful? Can it spread to the sinuses for example?
If there is free mold, it can spread anywhere once airborne. I would be more concerned with it going to my lungs.

FYI, in general I toss roughly 20% of my reeds which would otherwise be considered still playable because of excessive mold. But many of my reeds never show any signs of mold.
I would aspire to NO MOLD on any reeds.
 

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Mold is very very bad.
I use a small pelican case with 68%(?) Boveda packs. Each box can hold over 10 reeds and I put them in there for at least 7-10 days to prep them.
Then I soak one for a few minutes, check the back is flat and play it.
Wipe and return to case when finished. I just leave them in their original clear plastic holders.
Play reed till is dead, then repeat.
No mold. No dramas.
 

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I agree with Dr G on this . I don't think your problem is from the plastic reed holders , it is from other issues. Through the years , I wasted a lot of money on the humidity packs etc. I went back a long time ago to my LaVoz 4 reed holder . After I get done with a gig or playing, I rinse the reeds with tap water, wipe them and store them flat in the reed holder , no mold problems for me. I had more mold problems when I used the boveda packs and everything else .
 

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I've had a lot of success with white vinegar. I soak new reeds in diluted 50/50 vinegar and water for 10 minutes. This seems to prevent mold from growing. I don't use humidity packs and keep my reed case open, but I still had problems until I started using vinegar. I also always wash the back of reeds before I soak them - a lot of time dirt and stuff remains on the back of reeds and washing that off seems to make a difference.
 

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I've had a lot of success with white vinegar. I soak new reeds in diluted 50/50 vinegar and water for 10 minutes. This seems to prevent mold from growing. I don't use humidity packs and keep my reed case open, but I still had problems until I started using vinegar. I also always wash the back of reeds before I soak them - a lot of time dirt and stuff remains on the back of reeds and washing that off seems to make a difference.
In my experience, peroxide works well as a preventative measure if you use it every time you soak your reeds (or after every playing session).

However, vinegar actually kills existing mold in the reed whereas peroxide doesn't. In the past, I've had moldy reeds that I've "rescued" by soaking them in vinegar (although I wouldn't necessarily recommend doing that). The problem with vinegar is the smell.
 

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-edited- Mold needs two three things to grow, [an organic food source], moisture and warm temperatures. Keeping reeds in a dark moist baggie is a recipe for mold growth. If you take anything organic and keep it damp in a dark container fungus, bacteria and mold will thrive especially in these warm summer months. Put a damp sock in a baggie and leave it in the closet for a few days then pull it out and see how it smells.

I dry my reeds off by wiping the moisture off then putting them in a reed holder. In 60 years I’ve never had a moldy reed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Maybe I'll try different reed storage regime for summer or mold-killing procedure for new reeds.

Addicted, seems like you imply mold growth requires 3 or 4 things: warmth, moisture, an organic substrate and darkness. The first 3 are given. But the time they stay moist could be reduced down by better ventilation in summer and totally forgetting about humidity control, or perhaps a regime that lets the reed dry out somewhat slowly. In the past, I would keep reeds in either aftermarket reed holders, or the freebie clear plastic sleeves, which I would place inside an empty reed box in which I punched a few ventilation holes. For unknown reasons I got out of this habit. Perhaps some sort of light would inhibit mold growth but seems like a hassle.

I can't get my head around that it's possible to totally dry out a reed before storage. I mean I can wipe a reed on my shirt or pants or even use a towel but it will still be wet after I finish playing it.

I haven't yet tried soaking all new reeds in vinegar or peroxide. Several article say peroxide will kill mold on hard surfaces but not in porous material. You reed soakers out there, do you pour out a glass of vinegar/water solution or peroxide every time you get out a new reed, or do you treat an entire box of reeds at once, then let them dry out at a goldilocks rate, not too fast, not too slow? What is your reed drying procedure?

Adamk, how do you squeegee a reed? Aquarian, how you wash the backs of new reed? Soap and water? Scrub?

Benny, I gather a Pelican case is plastic and fairly airtight? So you depend on the Boveda to soak up the moisture from the reeds after playing. Do you bake it dry or replace periodically? 68% seems pretty high RH but somehow works for you.

Want to mention to y'all that articles on killing mold advise to NOT mix vinegar and peroxide. That would create peracetic acid which is harmful to eyes, nose, throat and lungs. So pick one or the other, not both (or neither.)
 

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Maybe just buy a humidor and keep both your cigars and reeds in it. Of course you could try Rico Plasticoat reeds or a synthetic like Legere and not worry about humidity ever again.
Maybe just listen to people that have been playing saxophone. I’ll try once more: If you have a mold problem, don’t encourage mold growth by intentionally adding humidity.
 
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Maybe I'll try different reed storage regime for summer or mold-killing procedure for new reeds.

Addicted, seems like you imply mold growth requires 3 or 4 things: warmth, moisture, an organic substrate and darkness. The first 3 are given. But the time they stay moist could be reduced down by better ventilation in summer and totally forgetting about humidity control, or perhaps a regime that lets the reed dry out somewhat slowly. In the past, I would keep reeds in either aftermarket reed holders, or the freebie clear plastic sleeves, which I would place inside an empty reed box in which I punched a few ventilation holes. For unknown reasons I got out of this habit. Perhaps some sort of light would inhibit mold growth but seems like a hassle.

I can't get my head around that it's possible to totally dry out a reed before storage. I mean I can wipe a reed on my shirt or pants or even use a towel but it will still be wet after I finish playing it.

I haven't yet tried soaking all new reeds in vinegar or peroxide. Several article say peroxide will kill mold on hard surfaces but not in porous material. You reed soakers out there, do you pour out a glass of vinegar/water solution or peroxide every time you get out a new reed, or do you treat an entire box of reeds at once, then let them dry out at a goldilocks rate, not too fast, not too slow? What is your reed drying procedure?

Adamk, how do you squeegee a reed? Aquarian, how you wash the backs of new reed? Soap and water? Scrub?

Benny, I gather a Pelican case is plastic and fairly airtight? So you depend on the Boveda to soak up the moisture from the reeds after playing. Do you bake it dry or replace periodically? 68% seems pretty high RH but somehow works for you.

Want to mention to y'all that articles on killing mold advise to NOT mix vinegar and peroxide. That would create peracetic acid which is harmful to eyes, nose, throat and lungs. So pick one or the other, not both (or neither.)
Pelican cases are air and watertight. I have 3 Boveda backs in 1 case. The absorb all the excess moisture and keep the reeds nicely ready for next playing.

 

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I have some older style reed holders: LaVoz metal 4 reed, Vandoren plastic 4 reed and one LaVoz plastic 2 reed. The Vandoren one has long groves in the bottom surfaces and I've noticed dark mold stripes growing on the bottom of reeds corresponding to the grooves. Also reeds in the plastic LaVoz holder sometimes get moldy on the top of the vamp where tapers down from the bark and the holder presses down on the reed.

I have tried to kill off mold from the reeds holder surfaces with a long soak in peroxide, then brushing with a toothbrush. The "pressure plate" of a plastic holder is difficult to scrub. Anyway, this didn't seem to help much. Can anyone suggest a better procedure? Maybe I ought to change my baggie and/or humidipak more frequently.

Lately I've been using Boveda humidipaks to help stabilize reeds in the dry summer months which may be worsening mold issues I've only used the 49% RH grades.

Anyway, this is not the end of the world but looking for some guidance.
Wood Rectangle Material property Publication Shelf
I keep my reeeds in commercially available reed holders and home made versions of the same thing. I play a reed, wipe it dry and store away in a holder(see thumbnail). I have not had mold problems and the reeds dry flat.
 
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