Prevention is key to make sure that books don't smell bad. If you store your books in a dry, cool location, there's a much better chance that you'll avoid much of the bad odor of old books. Despite your best efforts, though, you may find mold or mildew on your books. The books may smell musty. Here are tips for how to get rid of the bad odor from your books.
Time Required: Varies
- Where are you storing books?
If you are storing books in the basement, garage, attic, or storage unit, address the storage issue before you go any further with trying to remove the odor, mildew and mold from your books. If you get rid of the bad smell, and then put them right back in a damp storage location, you'll see the problem come right back. So, move your books to a dry, cool location (too much moisture causes mildew and mold; too much head can cause the pages to dry out and crumble).
- Protect with Dust Jackets
Dust jackets protect the book covers, helping to keep the moisture away from the book. A dust jacket is not a miracle cure, though. Be aware of the location in which you are storing your books; and avoid those moist, hot areas.
- Avoid Prolonged Direct Contact with Newspaper
Some experts once recommended that you should wrap your books with newspapers, or even place sheets of newspaper between the pages of your book. However, prolonged contact with newspapers can cause damage to your books, because of acidity in the newspapers. If you do use newspaper to get rid of the bad odor, be sure that the newspaper does not come into direct contact with your books.
- Avoid Bleach or Cleansers
Bleach (or cleansers) can be destructive to the pages of your books. If the mildew and/or mold is such that you must remove it, use a dry, soft cloth to remove the worst of it.
- De-Stinkify Your Book
Despite your best efforts, your book smells musty or mildewed, or just old. There's an easy solution... You will need two plastic containers--one that will fit inside the other one. Pour some kitty litter in the bottom of the larger container. Place your book into the smaller container (without the lid), then put the small plastic container into the larger container. Place the lid on the larger plastic container. You can leave the book in this book de-stinkifier for a month--to remove the odor (and any moisture) from the book.
- You can also use baking soda or charcoal in your book de-stinkifier.