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How do you get the moldy smell out of books?

Nan in Mass

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DH is a librarian, not the sort who deals with moldy books, but he gets asked this a lot.  He asked in the preservation dept and they told him they put the books in direct sunlight on very dry days.  The book needs exposure to fresh air.  If it can be done safely try putting the book flat open and allowing the pages to fan.  This could take months, not just a couple of days.  You can also try putting the book in a sealed plastic bag with clay kitty litter or maybe baking soda. But that is usually done after getting some fresh air into the books. If all else fails and the smell is strong you can put the book in a sealed plastic bag with some coffee grounds. This will just mask the smell, but it's better than mold.


But, mostly they just sighed and said good luck. The preservationists said they mostly just try to keep the books they have in good conditions to prevent the smell from happening. It's almost impossible to eradicate once it is established.

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About ten years ago, maybe more, I read Mild Warriors. I think it mentioned a technique for microwaving a book to kill mold spores. I did not try it, and imagine you'd have to be careful.


Mostly, unless a book is valuable, I release the book and replace. I am not a fan of mold.

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