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Topic: Any way to remove musty odor?

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Subject: Any way to remove musty odor?
Date Posted: 3/15/2012 11:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 170
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I have a hardback book that is 20 years old.  It was only read once and is in very good condition.  It has a musty odor.  Any way to get rid of the odor?  I will not post it if I can't get rid of the odor.  I hate to trash it since there is a big wishlist for it.

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 12:25 AM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 5,601
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You need to remove the moisture from the book. Setting it next to a dehumidifier will help. I think the best thing would be putting it in the sun on several dry, sunny days. That way you have the UV killing the mold and the wind airing it out too. Still there are no guarantees.

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 5:28 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2011
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You could also list it in the Book Bazaar under the Unpostable Wishlist books thread.

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 8:16 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2008
Posts: 742
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You can also put a dryer sheet in it. Makes it smell nice and fresh. This is what i have to do when I get books from smokers..."cough cough" GAG!!

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 9:41 AM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2008
Posts: 310
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I've heard kitty litter will help too. 

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,727
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Please don't put a dryer sheet in it. For many of us, that just adds to the musty smell ... not removes it. I throw away books that arrive with dryer sheets, for the unbearable stink.

I have good luck with drying the books out, but I live close to the desert in CA.  If you live somewhere humid, I don't think it would be possible to save the book.



Last Edited on: 3/16/12 10:33 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/16/2012 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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I'm with Sara on this one. No dryer sheets please! We don't use them in our house. I can't stand the "fresh" smell. I'd much prefer to get a smokey smelling book. I've had good luck setting smokey books aside and eventually the smokey smell goes away. With the dryer sheet smell, nothing seems to get rid of it.

For musty books, I agree with Carol--letting it air out in the sun is probably your best bet.

Last Edited on: 3/16/12 11:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/16/2012 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2008
Posts: 742
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 (KAY) I'VE NEVER TRIED THE KITTY LITTER, THAT SOUNDS INTERESTING, BUT WOULD YOU PUT IT IN THE BOOK, HOW WOULD THAT WORK? THAT AGAIN IS VERY INTERESTING. I'D LIKE TO HEAR MORE ON THAT, IF YOU WOULD PM ME WITH DETAILS I WOULD APPRECIATE IT.

 (CAROL) I HAVE DONE THE SAME THING. TOOK A BOOK AND AIRED IT OUT BY PUTTING IT OUTSIDE AND THAT DID WORK  FOR A MUSTY SMELLY BOOK, BUT NOT FOR A CIGARETTE SMELLY BOOK,AND  SINCE WE ARE BEING ASKED ABOUT A MUSTY SMELLING BOOK, I WOULD SAY LEAVE IT OUTSIDE TO AIR OUT.OR TRY THE DEHUMIDIFIER AS CAROL HAS SUGGESTED. 

(SARAH)  I WISH YOU LOTS OF LUCK WITH YOUR BOOK. ESPECIALLY SINCE ITS A BIG HIT FOR WISHER'S AND FOR A BOOK THAT OLD, WOWZER AND IN VERY GOOD CONDITION TOO ( EXCEPT FOR THE MUSTY SMELL)  THATS AWESOME... HOWEVER,. SOME THAT OLD, YOU CAN'T GET THEM MUSTY SMELLING FREE. I GOT TONS OF BOOKS THAT MY AUNT HAD AND SHE GAVE THEM TO ME BEFORE SHE PASSED AWAY " SHE WAS 87" AND THESE WERE BOOKS SHE HAD AS A CHILD AND SAD TO SAY THAT I TRIED EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE DRYER SHEET AND THE KITTY LITTER), BUT I COULD NOT GET THE OLD MUSTY BOOK SMELL OUTTA THOSE BOOKS TO SAVE MY LIFE. I DID TRY JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. SOMEBODY BACK IN THE FAMILY WAY BACK WHEN SUGGESTED BABY POWDER, I NEVER DID TRY IT AND NOT SURE IF IT WOULD WORK OR NOT, BUT AGAIN I WISH YOU THE BEST OF LUCK.I STILL HAVE MY AUNTS BOOKS AND CHERISH THEM.

Cyn



Last Edited on: 3/16/12 12:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/16/2012 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2008
Posts: 742
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(LAURA) I SEE YOUR POINT TOO, BUT I LOVE FOR MY CLOTHES TO SMELL NICE AND CLEAN AND FRESH, BUT AS FAR AS TAKE THE SMOKEY BOOK AND SET IT ASIDE AND EVENTUALLY THE SMELL GOES AWAY. I HAVE NEVER HAD THAT HAPPEN. MY ALLERGIES ARE SO BAD I CAN'T HAVE NO SMOKEY BOOKS IN MY HOUSE AND SINCE I DON'T SMOKE I CAN TELL IF BOOKS COME FROM  CIGARETTE SMOKERS. LOL, AS SOON AS I OPEN A PACKAGE IT'S BAM, I CAN SMELL SMOKE. I HAVE TO HIT MY INHALER AND USE MY NASAL SPRAY, ITS MAKES ME SICK, THAT IS ONE OF THE WORST SMELLS EVER. ITS NO DIFFERENT STORING YOUR BOOKS IN A ROOM THAT YOU SMOKE IN, THE SMOKE CLINGS TO YOUR CURTAINS, CLOTHES, BEDSPREADS, PICTURES, I THINK YOU GET THE POINT..LOL,  ANYTHING THAT IS IN THAT ROOM WHERE THE BOOKS ARE STORED IS GONNA SMELL OF SMOKE. WALLS HAVE TO BE PAINTED AS THEY WILL TURN YELLOW OVER TIME FROM SMOKING IN A ROOM OR THE ENTIRE HOUSE OVER A PERIOD OF YEARS. I CAN DEAL WITH MUSTY SMELLING BOOKS WAY BETTER THAN A SMOKEY BOOK, BUT THATS JUST ME. OHH AND I WOULD NEVER THROW A BOOK AWAY JUST BECAUSE OF A DRYER SHEET BEING IN IT.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND

Cyndi

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 460
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I've heard, but never tried, that a good way to eliminate smells from a book is to place it in a sealed plastic bag with either some crumpled up newspaper or kitty litter.

Lay a plastic bag (think Walmart plastic bag) on its side, lay some loose, clean kitty litter, or a layer of loose crumpled up balls of newspaper in the bag,  place the book on top and seal the bag with tape.  Leave it for about a week, then check it.  Repeat as needed.

MaryF in KY

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,727
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Yup, if you try kitty litter, it shouldn't touch the book. And it should be unscented clay litter, by the way. So, if I am really feeling ambitious about trying to desmell a book, I get a largish tupperware out, put some kitty litter in the bottom, layer a sheet of newspaper on top, and then try to fan the book out on top of the newspaper. Seal it up with the lid, and let it sit. The litter will absorb the odor.

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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I've done a bit of searching and here are the suggestions that come up that look most promising. (I haven't tried any of them, although I will sometime soon!) In most cases they talk about possibly needing weeks for the smell to vanish. In all these cases, the process involves closing the book up in a container with the substance, generally while protecting the book from actually touching the substance. Some people suggested separating the book from the substance with a layer of paper over and under the books; other people suggested placing the books in a smaller, open container inside the larger, closed container. The simplest containers would be plastic bags.

Substances recommended by various sources:

Book deodorizer: http://sicpress.com/book-deodorizer/

Kitty litter

Unscented dryer sheets

Baking soda

Charcoal



Last Edited on: 3/16/12 1:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/16/2012 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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Never tried this but I saw an interview with an antique bookdealer who suggested putting a musty book in a sealed bag and then putting it in the freezer.



Last Edited on: 3/16/12 4:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/16/2012 4:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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There are these things you can buy that suck the moisture from the air.   Damp rid, it comes in packets for putting in containers.  I've bought it from Home depot in the paint section. http://www.amazon.com/Damp-Rid-FG40-Moisture-Absorber/dp/B003IPGBVQ/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1331929166&sr=8-13

You can put the book, in a container and have this next to the book without it touching. And it will remove the musty smell.  I've had it work on old clothes. edited to say the container needs to be sealed.



Last Edited on: 3/16/12 4:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/16/2012 4:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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Cyndi, doesn't the dryer sheet just mask the smoke smell, not eliminate it? I would think that those allergic to smoke odors would still have problems, just like being in a room where someone smoked and then sprayed air freshener. The air freshener may be the stronger of the two odors, but the smoke odor would still be there.

Edited to make a correction - I can't seem to type today



Last Edited on: 3/16/12 4:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/16/2012 5:04 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 2,985
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Just do what I do.  Leave it outside to air and then forget about it.  Of course, as I often do, you will remember you left it outside when you wake up in the middle of the night and it is pouring rain. Rush outside to get it and hang it over the tub or kitchen sink to drip dry - this also removes the moldy odor.  The next morning it will be dry but water damaged.  It is now unpostable, but that's when you realize that you wanted to keep that copy anyway.

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 614
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I bought some book deoderizer.... Never again.  It looked like small granular kitty litter, smelled like kitty litter.  Couldn't find ingredients on it ANYWHERE, but I suspect it was clay.  And it was expensive.  Save your money.... Buy kitty litter.

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,327
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Love your solution, Thomas!!yes

Date Posted: 3/17/2012 2:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 170
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Wrapping the book and putting it in the freezer sounds intriguing.  Since baking soda is so cheap, I'll try that first.  And put it out in the sun when it stops raining (We're in our rainy season now).

Date Posted: 3/17/2012 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2008
Posts: 310
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Have you tried any of these suggestions yet?  I am interested in knowing what worked and what did not.

 

Date Posted: 3/18/2012 8:51 AM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,576
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Unfortunately here the sunning a book outside doesn't work due to the high humidity. Tried that just recently with a smoky book I rec'd in a trade and ended up with wavy pages from the pages absorbing water from the air.

Try using the Bounce brand scent free dryer sheets-- they absorb the smells without leaving a scent behind--I put them on top of the dryer while they are airing out in a brown grocery bag.  Did this with 3 smoky books I've received here lately despite my "no smoking or  smoky smelling books" RC--of course still knew I couldn't pass on to anyone with the same RC.



Last Edited on: 3/18/12 8:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/20/2012 1:03 AM ET
Member Since: 3/19/2012
Posts: 304
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I bought a shoe-box sized plastic container with lid just to use for "un-stinking" books. I'm new to this site, but have been trading on another

one for years. This question comes up on a regular basis there.

For smoky or mustly smells that are mild, put an open box of baking soda in the box with the book/s and close the lid. Check on it after a week

or so. If it smells fine, you're done. If not, try stirring the soda up and giving it another week. Repeat if necessary.

My other remedy is to use Kitty Litter with charcoal in it the same way. I place the book/s inside the plastic container with a smaller plastic container

of KL which I place on top of the book/s. Close the lid and follow the same instructions as for the Baking Soda.

It's always worked for me, but, some books take longer than others.

I've heard of the freezer method, but have never tried it. Things tend to get lost in my freezer.  : P

Personally, while I have no objection to fabric softener sheets in the dryer... adding heavy perfumy smells to already smelly books doesn't

make much sense to me.  There is also the issue that some people are allergic to perfume, so...though it may actually work for some smells...it doesn't seem like a very good idea for that reason.

I also live in a very humid climate, so, putting a book outside is a Very bad idea in my area. Not to mention, with my memory, (or lack of same), i'd forget

that i'd done that and spend a great deal of time and effort turning the inside of the house upside down looking for it.

The next time I wandered out to the patio, i'd find it mildewed and host to critters,  and the smell would Not be better.

I hope one of these ideas helps. Good luck!  smiley

Subject: Learn something new every day!
Date Posted: 3/20/2012 1:06 AM ET
Member Since: 3/19/2012
Posts: 304
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Try using the Bounce brand scent free dryer sheets--

 

I didn't know Bounce made a scent free dryer sheet. Cool!

Date Posted: 3/20/2012 6:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
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Welcome to PBS, my friend Lori!!! 

Her suggestions do work, try the double plastic box idea.



Last Edited on: 3/20/12 6:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/21/2012 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 3/28/2011
Posts: 5,142
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Shortly after joining PBS I received a smelly book.  I took advice from here, and it worked!  Of course, I'm not sure which method workedbest as I tried several of the suggestions!  So, if nothing else, I know the combination method works well, lol.  I guess I got inpatient and didn't leave the book in one "solution" long enough to give it a chance to work.  But, between the 2 or 3 things I tried, it all worked out!  I started out with the freezer suggestion, but that made me nervous worrying about condensation or moisture buildup in the bag, so took it out after a couple of hours and put it inside a bag with baking soda and newspaper.  It helped, so after that I took it outside to let it air out for a bit.  Problem solved!!  There was still just a faint smell, but over time it completely disappeared!

(note: Before I posted about the book, I did the only thing I knew which was the dryer sheet.  I agree with what was said here - it only added to the smell, not covered it. So then I had two smells competing and the mixture of the two wasn't pleasant.)

Good luck with your book, it's always disappointing to get a smelly book! Thanks to everyone here that helped me with mine :)

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