Saturday, June 16, 2007

Removing Smells from Books & Paper

I've had a question on how to remove smells from old books or papers.

Here are a couple of suggestions that I found that work:

1. Cedar Oil Spray:

I have had some success in removing odors from old books by spraying the sides and lid of a cardboard box with cedar oil (used to refresh cedar blocks to place in closets)by putting them in a box being careful not to let the oily parts of the box touch the books. Then close up the box and leave for a couple of days. Your books or papers should be odor free or almost so. If not completely free of odors, repeat treatment.

2. Kitty Litter:

I have had moderate success with burying a book or magazine in kitty litter (clean and unused of course!!!) that is in a plastic bag. Close up the bag and leave book or books for a couple of days. Don't over-fill the bag.

3. Freeze it:

Our librarian recommends treating smelly books by sealing them in a plastic bag and putting them in the freezer for a couple of days. I haven't tried this one but I frequently see books stashed in the library freezer so it must work or they wouldn't keep doing it!!!

As you can see, none of these methods are rapid but at least they are fairly safe for the books or papers involved.

If you have a method that works -- and especially for large quantity of books, please post it. Our Friends of the Library group is constantly running into smelly books -- some we discard, some we clean, some we isolate and let others worry about it. We'd like an easy method to clean them all.

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