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Topic: Help for smelly book

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Subject: Help for smelly book
Date Posted: 9/18/2013 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/2/2006
Posts: 14
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Just received a book that has a slight odor--not sure if it is smoke or just musty from being stored.

Any suggestions on the best way to get rid of the smell? This is this the first time in over 600 books that I have received that I am aware of the odor. The book is in good shape, so do want to read it.

Any help would be appreciated.


Date Posted: 9/18/2013 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 2,182
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I've had some success with airing it out outdoors.  I put it out on a table or chair or whatever,  on a sunny day for a couple of days (i take it in at night) and sometimes that helps - especially if there is a breeze.

Date Posted: 9/18/2013 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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I've had success sealing smelly books in a brown paper bag with crumpled newspaper for a few days.  For one really bad one, I added a layer of baking soda in the bottom and let it sit for almost two weeks.

Date Posted: 9/18/2013 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 170
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I've found that the paper bag with baking soda works.

Date Posted: 9/18/2013 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,514
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I've always aired smelly books on my enclosed porch, if the weather is good enough to open the windows. If not, then they sit outside. I've only had a couple in almost 600 that smelled so bad from tobacco that I had to leave outside for so long, it didn't seem worth it. That led to me creating a RC about no tobacco smell.

Then there was the one I left outside and didn't remember to bring it in until a thunderstorm woke me up in the middle of the night. That worked really well, no more smell. But it took days to dry out. Then it spent weeks under other really heavy books to straighten out the pages. It won't ever be postable, but I wanted to keep it anyway.


Date Posted: 9/18/2013 9:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,350
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In addition to the above methods, I've heard that closing it in a bag with unscented kitty litter or putting it in a zip-lock back then popping it the freezer can help quite a bit.  Or you can just check the weather forecast and mail it to Thomas angel

Date Posted: 9/19/2013 1:28 AM ET
Member Since: 5/2/2006
Posts: 14
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Thank you all for your suggestions. I think I'll do all of them: leaving it in the sun during the day and putting it in a bag with baking soda at night. It really is quite smelly and it is from smoke. The edges are yellow, but the pages themselves are white.

I knew if i asked here, I would get the answer!  smiley



Date Posted: 9/19/2013 10:28 AM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,059
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You are lucky to not have gotten smelly ones before!  I have not had luck with the kitty litter, though I continue to try since I don't have a cat and bought a bag of the stuff simply to "air" books.  

Where I am in FL you cannot try the airing outside solution, all the books I've tried that with have absorbed moisture from the air and wound up with curly pages so that made them unpostable.

I use the brown paper bag method with a scent free dryer sheet placed in several of the pages---that method has been most successful for me.