Fungus or bacteria attack on my uke

mjanousek

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I 'm looking for help to fix an ukulele that shows some sort of fungus or bacteria growth (weird thing the ukulele was in a hard case with humidifier and in a humidity controlled (humidifier and dehumidifier!!!) room that it never left and it is the only one that shows this problem). I have reached out to Koaloha but unfortunately haven't received any response. I'm looking for ideas on how to salvage this ukulele by cleaning, removing and finishing the instrument with the hope it will look as new afterwards. See pictures. thx
 

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I'm no biologist, but I don't think you can see bacteria. Did you try just wiping it off with a soft cloth?
 
I 'm looking for help to fix an ukulele that shows some sort of fungus or bacteria growth (weird thing the ukulele was in a hard case with humidifier and in a humidity controlled (humidifier and dehumidifier!!!) room that it never left and it is the only one that shows this problem). I have reached out to Koaloha but unfortunately haven't received any response. I'm looking for ideas on how to salvage this ukulele by cleaning, removing and finishing the instrument with the hope it will look as new afterwards. See pictures. thx
Looks like mold to me. How long was it closed up in the case? Did you have a way to check the humidity level in the case? To much humidity can be worse than low. I left one in Hawaii in a case for 6 months and it looked like a rotten peach when I returned. It needs to be cleaned of the mold before you can decide what if any damage was done.
 
haven't touched it yet but some of the finish has definitely been "eaten" as it lost it's gloss. Unfortunately I don't measure the humidity inside the case but it's been in the same shelf with another 15 ukuleles that don't show the same issue. I'm definitely speechless on how this happened but I'm now looking for how salvage the situation. I can try to wipe it off but I'm worried that whatever mold/fungus is on/in the wood will come back. on the other hand I'm not sure the finish can handle eg alcohol etc. thx
 
thx. you think the finish will be ok with the chlorine bleach or is it too late to worry about the finish anyway?
 
thx. you think the finish will be ok with the chlorine bleach or is it too late to worry about the finish anyway?
I am not a luthier and this is what is done from health perspective. But bleach is not an organic solvent and I think most types of finish should be safe. Probably best to start with a small area that is not very visible.
 
Thx everyone and will also get a UV lamp to fight the mold inside of the ukulele.
 
I 'm looking for help to fix an ukulele that shows some sort of fungus or bacteria growth (weird thing the ukulele was in a hard case with humidifier and in a humidity controlled (humidifier and dehumidifier!!!) room that it never left and it is the only one that shows this problem). I have reached out to Koaloha but unfortunately haven't received any response. I'm looking for ideas on how to salvage this ukulele by cleaning, removing and finishing the instrument with the hope it will look as new afterwards. See pictures. thx
Definitely mold as you can see the hyphae plainly in one of the pictures. A dilute mixture of Clorox (1 tbsp per quart) should do it. TEST FIRST ON UNOBTRUSIVE PLACE. Dry out the case really well and spray with Lysol or equivalent.
 
Update: Koaloha got back to me and suggested, just like some of you, to wipe the instrument with Lysol and let it dry for a couple of days.
My ukulele already looks much better (see pic) and I wanted to share this in case anyone runs into this issue in the future. thanks everyone for your help and should anything change I will update the feed.
 

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OK that was freaky. Its been so long since I've lived anywhere with much in the way of discernible humidity, that was extra shocking to me LOL!

At one point I was living in the High Sierra Desert region at about 5600'. It was so dry there I had to "oil" my ears or they would bleed. My eyes were so dry all the time I would take a damp hand towel and hang it on top of my head to alleviate the dryness.

Mold on my instruments was the LEAST of my worries!
 
Still don’t know why it happened but my suspicion is the hard case in combination with the internal humidifier I used which maybe was not “breathing” at all. Very freaky and yes FREAKED me out :).
 
Update: Koaloha got back to me and suggested, just like some of you, to wipe the instrument with Lysol and let it dry for a couple of days.
My ukulele already looks much better (see pic) and I wanted to share this in case anyone runs into this issue in the future. thanks everyone for your help and should anything change I will update the feed.
Did the finish get permanently damaged?
 
Is this why gig bags are so popular in Hawaii?
 
Interesting. The “infected” uke was surrounded by a whole bunch of other ukes all in hard cases too though those cases were “higher” quality cases.
 
Mold like that grows in high humidity, too high for a ukulele. It is very unlikely it's growing from the wood or finish. It's far more likely it's growing on your skin cells that are left behind when you play. You see this all the time in a car that may leak somewhere and mold/fungus grows in parts of the car that get touched a lot.
 
Update: Koaloha got back to me and suggested, just like some of you, to wipe the instrument with Lysol and let it dry for a couple of days.
My ukulele already looks much better (see pic) and I wanted to share this in case anyone runs into this issue in the future. thanks everyone for your help and should anything change I will update the feed.
Hope you don’t mind me jumping in on your thread. I just did a string change and found white fluffy mold growing inside one of my favorite ukes. I have controlled the humidity well, but I have only had it for 2 months (bought used). I continuously measure the humidity with an in-case mini hygrometer and use Boveda packs. This is my first string change and I did not examine the inside before so it may have been there when I got it. Could you possibly tell me exactly what KoAloha recommended that you do? Did you dilute the Lysol? Did you only wipe down the outside or did you do something to the inside as well. I would really appreciate any advice you could provide. There were not so many of this ukulele made so it would be really hard to replace.
 
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