5 Ways To Get The
Musty Smell Out Of Books
We keep our books for nostalgia, to reread later, and to share. They stack up nicely no matter how different each story is. Though they have different ideas and outcomes, there's one thing all books have in common: that musty smell. But your house doesn't have to smell like a used bookstore. Unfortunately, books are not as easy to clean as cooking utensils. Here are 5 ideas of how to get the musty smell out of books.
Very light cases of musty pages can be cured with a little exposure to fresh air. If the book is not a valuable antique, you also can treat it with a few hours of direct sunlight. However, before you begin this or any other book-cleaning method, it is essential to make sure the pages of the book are not damp. If you see wet or damp pages clumping together, stand the book upright on a table, and gently fan out the pages to separate them. Next, let it stand in a warm, dry spot. If the book is very old or valuable, do not place it sunlight. It may fade pages and cause them to permanently curl up.
The same baking soda that absorbs bad odors in the fridge can absorb the bad odors in your books. Place a cup of baking soda or an opened box in a plastic box or bin with a lid. Put the book in the box with the baking soda and close the lid. Leave it for 48-72 hours, then check on the book. Repeat until the odor is gone. This method is ideal for multiple books.
When you are short of baking soda, newspaper may deodorize the pages of newer, less expensive books. Put sheets of newspaper between every few pages of the book, or scrunch up balls of newspaper in a re-sealable plastic container or bag. Add the book to the container, then leave it for 3-5 days. Do not leave the books in the newspaper long term as the acid in the newsprint could harm them.
If you have a lot of books that need restoration or one with a particularly stubborn smell, kitty litter may be the answer. First, fill the bottom of a new, large garbage can with fresh, clean kitty litter. Place the book in a smaller box or can, and put it inside the larger one. Cover the big can, then check on it every few days. The litter should draw out the mold and musty scent within a month.
Books that resist deodorizing efforts may require a more permanent solution. Tuck a fabric softener sheet inside the cover or between two of the pages. The scent of the dryer sheet should counter any lingering musty odors.
Once your remove musty smells and mold from your books, take some steps to ensure they do not come back. Try to keep your books in a dry room, away from damp walls and leaky windows. If your home is susceptible to mold, regularly take out valuable or beloved books and flip through the pages to keep air circulating through them.