Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: mildewed book

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: mildewed book
Date Posted: 3/4/2008 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2006
Posts: 4,986
Back To Top

I just got a book that reeks of mildew, possibly from being stored in a basement.  Is this considered unpostable and what should I do? Thanks

Date Posted: 3/4/2008 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 1,728
Back To Top

if it was me i would prolly just let it air out for a while before i decided to read it.

 

Date Posted: 3/4/2008 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 4,979
Back To Top

Is the book visibly mildewed?  If not, then it's probably allowed, although certainly not ideal.

Date Posted: 3/4/2008 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
Back To Top

Mildew is mold.  Per the Condition Guidelines in the Help Center:

Overall Condition:

  • No damage at all from water or other liquid
  • No mold

I'd mark it RWP and request your credit back, since you cannot repost it.

Cheers,

Catt

Date Posted: 3/4/2008 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
Back To Top

well Elizabeth you can't just say because it has a mildewy smell that it is automatically unpostable.  Sure it may be mold but, if there is not mold or mildew present it would be subjective.  The Help Center does not say if it has a Mildewy smell it is unpostable...

 

I would let it air out for a few days, it may just be musty from being in storage.

Date Posted: 3/5/2008 9:06 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2006
Posts: 4,986
Back To Top

What I am going to do, since it is not specifically unpostable is to mark it received, PM the member about it and give it to my FOL to sell and get another copy.

Date Posted: 3/5/2008 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
Back To Top

My guess is that the poster should probably let the books air out before sending. Airing the books out would probably help prevent perceived problems for the poster. If there is no other sign of water damage (stiffened wavy pages, mold spots, water stains), then the book was OK to post though. I'd mark it received and let the book air out.



Last Edited on: 3/5/08 9:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/5/2008 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
Back To Top

I have a couple of methods for deodorizing musty smelling books that seem pretty effective.  Found them on the internet,& modified the first one somewhat until I got good results.  Will add these to the book repairs thread as well.

Get a fairly large Rubbermaid container, a bag of deodorizing cat litter, a box of baking soda, and a skein of yarn or jute twine.  Take the top off, and and pour the cat litter into the bottom & spread it out, then spread the baking soda over that.  Using the yarn or jute twine, wrap it around the container, creating lines across the top of the container.  These should be fairly snug but not too tight.  Open your books, and hang them from the lines, by draping the open middle section of the book across it.  The lines should sag slightly down into the container, but not drag into the cat litter & baking soda.  Once you get all of your books hung on the lines, put the lid back on the container and let it sit for at least a couple of days.  When you take them out, they should be odor free.  The longer you can leave them in there the better.  Several days seems to work best.  You can also use lump charcoal instead of the cat litter & baking soda.  It's available at most grocery & hardware stores - don't use briquets, they're usually chemically treated!  Or you can also use activated charcoal you get from a pet store.  If you have trouble with hanging the books from the yarn or twine, you can put some sort of wire or mesh shelf down in the bottom of the container above whatever odor absorbing material you're using - just find some way to secure it above the deodorizing material in the bottom of the tote.  Then just stack your books on the shelf, close the container and wait at least 2-7 days to take them out.

The general consensus seems to be on a time period of 2-7 days inside the container - regardless of whether charcoal or the baking soda & cat litter is used, but I've seen some people saying they leave them in there up to two weeks.



Last Edited on: 3/5/08 4:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/5/2008 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2006
Posts: 2,677
Back To Top

Real moldy smelling books are the only books I will usually throw away.  I've tried the kitty litter thing & the fabreze method and they have never worked for me although the hanging method over baking soda/kitty litter is something I might try.  I've read that the mold spores can spread to other books so I usually just toss them.

Date Posted: 3/5/2008 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
Back To Top

If they have the actual spotty mold/mildew patches, I'm not sure I would try.  You're stepping up from deodorizing to fumigation, which means using chemical vapors to kill a fungus.  Aside from the fact that it's not precisely the healthiest thing to be doing in your home, I'm not sure it would be worth the hassle.

Date Posted: 3/5/2008 11:25 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
Back To Top


Last Edited on: 5/10/12 5:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/5/2008 4:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
Back To Top

Yeah, I posted that info on removing musty odors, because it's sorta easy to mistake a musty odor - like some thrift stores etc unfortunately tend to have - for a "moldy" smell, when it's actually not mold or mildew at all.  They're not the same thing, although there is a bit of a similarity to the odors.  Old things stored away for some time tend to have this odor, even though there may not be any mold or fungus present.  Strong odors like that also have a tendency to transfer onto anything else they're in close proximity with for an extended period of time.  Like everything in a thrift store smelling like that.  The only way I know of to kill living organisms like some sort of mold or mildew without destroying the book is to have the contaminated books chemically fumigated.  I think there is a procedure for this using a fumigation chamber, but I'm sure it's usually with regard to old, rare hardbound books, worth thousands of dollars.  I imagine it's cost-prohibitive and not a practical option for paperback books.  Someone who knows more about it could give a more informed opinion on that than I can, but I'd guess paperbacks with mold or mildew on them are pretty much toast.

Date Posted: 3/5/2008 5:03 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
Back To Top

In my professional experience, any book that "reeks" of mildew has spores and/or mildew in or on it, which is unpostable, hence my response

The problem is that most people won't know the difference between the two smells. I think that's why there are no smell requirements on the site. Can you imagine trying to write conditions for those?

  • Some books may smell dusty or like they've been packed in a box for years. This is OKAY.
  • Some books may smell like they were stored in the tank of the toilet bowl for a number of years. This is NOT OKAY.

LOL!

Edited because I used the wrong quote from Catt's post. :P



Last Edited on: 3/5/08 5:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/6/2008 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 1,837
Back To Top

I'm sorry you got a book like that!  I'm allergic, and I've received books that I had to throw away even before completely opening the package.  I wouldn't take a chance if it's mildew cuz it can spread to your other books!