This worked to remove mildew smell from book

ClareBroommaker's picture

A book bought second hand from an online source arrived smelling strongly of mildew. It was so bad I wondered how the book sorters could even have tolerated it. I did get a replacement, but decided to try to remove the smell. Sunshine, clay kitty litter, baking soda, ozone, and newspaper are the curatives I've most often heard of for smelly books. I tried newspaper.

Since it was a children's picture book, about thirty two pages, I could tuck a single sheet of newspaper between every page. After the first three weeks of newspaper soaking up the smell (I guess), the book was remarkably better. So every few weeks I changed out the newspaper for fresh. It has been four months, and I'm really satisfied. We'll see what happens over the long run, though. I think the prospects are good, because I don't think the book had any active mildew growth, but had just been stored in the vicinity of something mildewed.

Give this a try if you run into the problem.

alice's picture

Thanks for this tip. As a fellow lover of eldery books we similarly sometimes get one which has obviously had some difficulties.

I have a friend who turns little golden books and the like into journals. She wanted our beat-up collection.
When unearthed from storage they had that mildewy, musty smell.

I hung them out on the clothesline by the cover so the pages hung free in the sunshine and the wind. Obviously I did this when I wasn't using the line for laundry. On non-laundry days, I hung the books out in the morning and let them hang all day and then took them in. On laundry days, they sat in full sun on our Florida Room until a non-laundry day arrived.

It took a while, but the odor went away. My books may not have been as bad as yours.

ClareBroommaker's picture

I smile to think of books on the clothesline. What a picture!