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Removing Musty Smell From Books

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



Talcum Powder

I've heard that sprinkling talcum powder between the pages before storing will prevent the musty odor. (08/10/2006)

By Jess

How do I eliminate or reduce a musty odor in a book?

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.



By mef1957

Baking Soda

I just sprinkled baking soda in between several pages and set (opened) in the sun on our porch for a few days, smells just fine now. This is a book that sat in my mom's basement for 40 years! (08/11/2006)


Weak Bleach

Wipe down the outside and the outer edges of the paper with a very weak bleach solution and leave the books out in the sun for several days. bring them in at night when they might get dew and back out again in the daytime. the hotter and drier the better. (08/11/2006)

By carla bledsoe

Charcoal Briquets or Baking Soda

Since I buy most of my books from secondhand stores, I know that smell well! I remove it by placing either charcoal briquets or baking soda into a small paper bag, or tied inside a coffee filter, putting both the book and the charcoal or soda into a ziplock bag, sealing the bag and putting the whole thing in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Since mildew is a plant, freezing kills it, while the charcoal or soda absorb any remaining odor. (08/12/2006)


Citronella Oil

I use a cotton ball with one drop of citronella essential oil and one drop of eucalyptus essential oil then I place the book and cotton ball in a zip bag and let set for a few days.
Hope this helps,
Tina (08/12/2006)

By trbrown22

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