Removing Mold Smell from Books?

I moved and the boxes got wet. Many books were destroyed, but some like my grandmother and great-grandmother's cookbooks are okay but smelly. What do I do?


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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
August 10, 20180 found this helpful

Use a product called Nok-Out. You can get it on Amazon.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
August 10, 20180 found this helpful

I had moderate success in the exact same situation by covering the books in a thin layer of baking soda and putting them in the freezer for a few weeks. It wasn't perfect, but it got a lot of the smell out.


It is very messy. You need to have big plastic zipper type bags to fit the book (1 book per bag--just fan the book and let some of the baking soda in) and hold all the powder as you don't want it floating around in your freezer.

A friend tried freezing the books in a zip bag without the baking soda, and she had some luck..I think I had less smell after, but it still wasn't 100%.

If it would ever stop raining long enough, I'd like to leave them in the sun for a few days....another friend had good luck doing that. I will let you know if I am ever able to do that as it seems it is always raining in Pittsburgh :(

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
August 11, 20180 found this helpful

They may not appear so, but most likely these books are still a little damp as it would be almost impossible for them to be in damp conditions with other books and not retain some of that moisture.


  • There are lots of suggestions all over the Internet and most will work to some degree but you must get the books completely dry first.
  • Indirect sun is best for this if that is possible (just be sure there is no wind or place something on the open books to hold the pages down). Open the books to different pages so all will dry out.
  • If indirect sun is not possible, try finding a dry area to leave the books for a few days.
  • Most people say they have the best success with using cat litter in two containers.
  • Set up a larger container (Tupperware container will work), fill about 1/3 with fresh cat litter, place a smaller plastic container on top of litter and place one or two books in top container. It's best to do one book at a time so you can open up the book. Place lid on large container (must seal tight) and leave for several days.
  • Some people put newspaper between every 5-8 pages and then seal it up for several days (or use dryer sheets instead of newspaper).
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  • These are all slow processes so don't give up in a week or so.
  • You can check some previous answers on the ThriftyFun site:
  • Here is another site that has other suggestions:
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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
August 11, 20180 found this helpful

you want to kill the mold spores

the best way I have figured to not harm the books (much) is to leave them in the sun or the car in the day in summer, the intense heat will kill mold and a lot of times eliminate the smell
also baking soda

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August 15, 20180 found this helpful

Thank you so much. And here's the odd thing. I unpacked the boxes on the patio and just laid them down in disgust. Few days later, i inspected them wondering what to do with them - still stinky.


This morning, before i read your post, went out to pick them up and no smell! You were so right! I thank you, smart lady!

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August 14, 20180 found this helpful

Dust pages with baby powder.

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