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September 7th, 2009

Removing Mildew Smell from Books

I tried the first method mentioned on the internet. This was to put the books in a sealed box with cat litter.

There were three boxes – this is one of them. You can see the mold growing on it.

I filled the bottom of a plastic clothes storage box with litter. This box had a broken corner so I taped it up. It is the only box that Erica would let me experiment with.

I put down a layer of brown paper and then laid in the books.

I left them in for three days. I went out this morning. Compared to the books that were not placed in the box, the smell was somewhat abated. There was still a slight smell of mildew, especially when the pages were opened.

I will leave them in. It is hard to tell just how bad the smell still is. I will read the Cordwainer Smith book this week. The book Slan by A.E. Van Vogt (review tomorrow), that did not go through this process, was difficult to read because the smell was so bad. If the cat litter makes much of a difference I will try the method with six or so books each week.

If the cat litter approach does not work well enough for me to read the books, I will try another method next week.

See also:

First Try

Second Try


5 Responses to “Removing Mildew Smell from Books”

  1. Hagelrat says:

    my cats might misinterpret this.

  2. Keith says:

    Which is why I keep the box of litter in the back of the truck. I don't want the smelly books in the house so I am keeping this process outside.

    The "new car" smell is gone from the truck and now it has the "old book" smell.

  3. Jim Shannon says:

    Can't you just leave the books outside in a dry place for a month?

  4. Keith says:

    I don't have a dry place outside the house. I am trying to come up with a way to remove the smell of about 200 books so I can store them in the house until I read them.

  5. Ian M. says:

    Cat litter technique only works if you stand them upright and slightly open to fan out the pages.

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