I made a little drawing which I accidentally dropped on a floor which must have been loaded with tons of bacteria. To make matters even worse, I had a hard time picking it up, so it must have been on the dirty floor for a good 30 seconds or so.

Anyways, I was wondering if it would be possible to disinfect my paper drawing so that I can kiss it without worrying about getting sick. (It's a drawing of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so I often kiss her feet in veneration.) Of course, washing the image with soap and water is out of the question, as that would basically destroy it.

One thought I had was to heat up the paper image to kill the germs, but how would I do that? Is it possible to do that without destroying/deforming the image?

I hope I'm on the right .SE site to ask this question. (If not, please tell me where to go.)

closed as off-topic by walrus, Allison C, inkista, rebusB, Web Head Jan 30 at 17:29

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about traditional artwork and handmade items, within the scope defined in the help center." – walrus, Allison C, inkista
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    This presumes that whatever germs you think are on the floor: a) actually transferred to the piece b) can actually survive on the piece c) aren't worse than the germs already on your hands and mouth. – Web Head Jan 29 at 17:17
  • As far as on-topicness, I'm not sure if this stack is the right fit, but I'm not sure it isn't. I can see similar questions coming up about disinfecting pieces, and we've had some related ones in the past. – Web Head Jan 29 at 17:19
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about arts and crafts per se. The same question could apply to anything dropped on the floor. Perhaps it belongs in medicalsciences.stackexchange.com? – rebusB Jan 29 at 21:33
  • I've gone with the community votes here and cast the final close vote. Medical Science may or may not be the right place. If you want to appeal the on-topicness for this site, you can ask a question on Arts & Crafts Meta regarding it. Best of luck. – Web Head Jan 30 at 17:30
  • Dag nabbit... Should have waited to close. I think Henry provided a really good answer! – rebusB Feb 2 at 1:14

Your best bet would be to laminate the picture at a local print shop. That would seal whatever has gotten onto the paper behind an impermeable barrier of clean plastic.

Barring that, you can probably get rid of most of the bacteria by exposing your drawing to ultraviolet light. UV light is used in many industries as a disinfectant.

As for the amount of time that your picture spent on the floor, according to MythBusters, time isn't as important as it appears.

  • 2
    Just as a gentle caution: laminating a piece, especially one that isn't sealed, can cause damage (as the laminate can sometimes pull up parts of the artwork, especially if it ever has to be removed and re-laminated). UV might also work, but as a general solution to disinfecting art, UV is not friendly towards paper or colors. Depending on the exact piece of art, there may be additional steps required. – Web Head Jan 29 at 17:25
  • 1
    @WebHead - sounds like archival issues are not the prime concern here... pretty sure repeated kissing of an image can cause damage as well. The lamination may actually prolong its life. – rebusB Feb 2 at 1:12
  • @rebusB Perhaps, but in general answers should be heplful for everyone with th4 same or similar root question, even if the reason for asking is different. – Web Head Feb 3 at 4:45
  • @WebHead - Exactly... the question is not about archiving a drawing, it is about making it safe for a utilitarian purpose and the answer seems totally reasonable. I voted to reopen. – rebusB Feb 5 at 16:22
  • 1
    @WebHead - thats cool. It has four upvotes, maybe voters will comeback to vote to reopen though I doubt it. Its just a (no offense to OP) unusual question, at first it seemed off topic (germs!?) but then it does fit in that it is trying to address a specific problem in the production of an artwork (I guess this is getting meta again... will think on that.) – rebusB Feb 5 at 18:05

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.