Home & Garden Cleaning & Laundry

How to Deodorize Old Books

    • 1). Each book must be dealt with individually. Closely examine one book at a time, checking for damp pages, mold and mildew. Books with mold and mildew should be placed in one pile, books with damp pages should be placed in another and all other old books with strong odors should be placed in a third pile.

    • 2). Start with the damp books, since they will require the most work. Carefully sprinkle a little cornstarch between any two damp pages. This can be tedious, particularly when large books become very damp, but it's crucial to avoid mildew and mold development. Close the books that have been sprinkled and leave them in a dry place for at least 4 hours.

    • 3). If it is a sunny, dry day, take the books that are in the best condition and move them outside. Find a clean, dry place to prop them up so that they're supported by their covers. Fan out the pages as evenly as you can so that the books can "air out." Leave them out for a full day if you can, but bring them in by sunset or if it looks like it may rain.

    • 4). Return to the formerly damp books and take them outside on a sunny, dry day. Brush out the cornstarch that by now should have absorbed all of the moisture. Prop up the books as in Step 3. Leave these books out for a full day if possible.

    • 5). As for the moldy and mildewed books, give each one careful consideration because salvaging them may be expensive. Throw away the ones you can easily part with. If there are others that are more valuable, rare or have sentimental significance, take them to a dealer of old books or an archival specialist to ask for advice. Unfortunately, books that have been severely affected by mold and mildew are rarely salvageable.

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