Take the book and place a sheet of newspaper between the pages (need not be every single page, don't worry!), then seal in a tape box surrounded by more newspaper which you've crumpled into balls for three days. The newspapers absorbs the odor, and is better than using cat litter because the litter gets caught in the pages and spines of the books.
By AlaskanAurora from Dutch Harbor, AK
I have 4 big boxes of smelly books that were stored in a garage for 19 months. I can't do any labour intensive work as I am sick, can I just set them out on the floor to hopefully air out?
The most common solution I have seen is to put newspaper between some of the pages, then wrap the book in newspaper and then put the books in a box full of more newspaper for few days. Some variations use charcoal as well. You read all the way down this page you can read lots of ideas about this subject:
How do I remove the musty smell from books?
By Booklover from Galesburg, IL
I use Snuggle dryer sheets when storing books or for moving, so maybe a week or so in a plastic bag with fresh dryer sheets might work. I also use fresh bars of Tone Soap when packing anything including books.
Would anyone know how to take the musty smell out of books?
Loretta from Windsor
Another good way to get rid of the smell is to put the offending book in a sealed plastic bag of dry cat litter (dollar stores usually have it).
Depending on how "bad" the book is, it usually comes out good as new without some horrible chemical smell. Try a couple of days for medium smell, maybe as long as 3 weeks for a really bad smell. Lots of other ways, but this one is cheap.
Hope this helps
bottom of bag
By AnaLisa Moyers, NMSU Library Tech(08/02/2004)
I really love to read and enjoy buying old books but a lot of them smell really musty! What's the best way to get rid of the musty smell? Rebecca from Iowa
Our neighbors at the Northeast Document Conservation Center say this: There is no guaranteed way to remove the musty smell from old books, but there is a strategy that may be successful. This musty smell is most often noted in books that have been moldy or mildewed in the past. The first step is to create an enclosed chamber. This is most easily done by using two garbage cans, one large (with a lid) and one small. The object to be "deodorized" should be placed in the smaller can, which is then placed inside the larger can. Some type of odor-absorbing material should then be placed in the bottom of the larger can. Odor-absorbing materials to try include baking soda, charcoal briquettes (without lighter fluid), or kitty litter. The lid should then be placed on the larger can, and the chamber should be left for some time. You will need to monitor periodically to see how long the materials need to be left inside the chamber. (08/10/2006)
By carla bledsoe
There seem to be many interesting approaches in removing musty smells from books. However, short of trying those, is there some known spray or air freshener that works well to this end? Granted, its only a cover-up, but may be just enough to make the situation bearable. Thanks.
Bob the Bookman from Chicago, IL
By Mildew Dude
I've found that the Kitty Litter technique works well, but make sure you use a smaller container inside a larger container, so that the kitty litter and the book do not touch. Basically, you don't want stuff touching your books it can be very damaging to them. You may not notice right away, but there are many things like sunlight and acidic papers that can shorten the lifespan of a book. Hope this helps. Your friendly neighborhood librarian. (10/16/2007)
There is, however, a new product on the market that I have used that gets both mold and smoke odors out of books. Its called OdorXit CLO2 and it really works. The product is little packets with powder inside. When they are exposed to water vapor, they produce a gas called chlorine dioxide that actually kills the mold and the spores without harming the paper or leather cover.
I stood the books with the pages fluffed in an old school locker with the vents covered and a 5 gram packet in the top on the shelf and a very small fan running on low. In 2 days, the mold odor was gone and it didn't come back. It really worked for me. (11/15/2007)
Remove any dry, loose mold from paper with a clean, soft cloth. If mildewed paper is damp, dry it first in an airy place if possible. Spread pages of books out fanwise to air. If the books are very damp, sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder between the leaves to take up the moisture. Leave starch or powder on for several hours, then brush off.
For leather book bindings and covers, wipe off the mold. Wipe the leather surface with a cloth dampened with a solution of one part denatured or rubbing alcohol to one part water. Apply saddle soap or leather conditioner. (01/18/2008)
By Jean O.
How do you get rid of musty book smell?
By skag from Vancouver
How do I get a musty smell out of a used book I just bought?
By Flash Gordon from Petoskey, MI
By Ann Parker
How do you clean a musty smell from a book?
How can I remove the moldy smell from an old book?
How do I remove a musty smell from books? Also, how should they be stored to prevent this from happening again?
I have very old books that are musty smelling. Help!