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Re: Bleach

What a nest!
To begin, the term "acid free" does not translate to "archival". And in the
world of commerce both terms require fairly specific definition by the
manufacturer for one to know if the paper meets one's requirements. For
example, some "archival" papers are buffered, some are not. And the issues go
on, e.g., the lightfastness of pigments or dyes used in coloring the paper.
By bleach I'm guessing that you mean commercial home-use bleach, say Chlorox.
This is sodium hypochlorite, for many reasons avoided like the plague by
conservators. You would do better to consider using calcium hypochlorite or
hydrogen peroxide. Both of these methods require other steps, such as
washing, deacidification, buffering, etc. with fairly careful control of
factors like pH. If you are unable or unwilling to carry out these further
steps, you should avoid all chemical bleaching. Remember that chemical
bleaching is rather harsh on paper and thus is used by conservators in only
very well justified circumstances under lab-like controlled conditions.
If the paper is lignin free, and the sheet color is waterfast, please
consider bleaching by sunlight. You immerse the wetted sheet in a tray of
water (distilled is best, and you may or may not buffer the water, depending
on the initial pH of the paper) and expose it to the sun. Mask areas you
don't want to bleach with a black polyethylene "mask". This is a slower but
far safer method. After bleaching you need do nothing but dry the sheet; it
is not likely that you will have removed a significant amount of buffer if
one was initially present in the paper.
Both the Getty Conservation sight and the COnservation OnLine sight have
searchable archives which will provide both general and technical information
on bleaching methods and concerns.
Best... James

James Tapley Hand Bookbinder
2077 Thirteenth Street
Sarasota, Florida
34237   USA

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