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Old July 26 2013, 05:35 PM   #1
Kai "the spy"
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How do I get that smell out of my books?!

Hi,

I've got quite the problem. My apartment has been damaged by water, which is why I'll be moving in the next two weeks. I had to throw away most of my books because those were damaged, too.

Now, those books which remained undamaged still gotten the smell of mold. Are they ruined as well? Is there a way to get this smell out of the paper?

I'd appreciate any advice on the matter very much, since I already lost some books which meant a lot to me to the water damage, I would like to save the remaining ones.
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Old July 26 2013, 05:57 PM   #2
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Re: How do I get that smell out of my books?!

You can try wrapping them up in newspaper. I don't know if it will work. I used newspaper all over a new leather chair with a really strong smell, once, and it seemed to help suck up the odor.
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Old July 26 2013, 07:04 PM   #3
Lindley
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Re: How do I get that smell out of my books?!

Not sure if it will work for mold, but an open box of baking soda is a good odor absorber in general. It may take a few days to fully work.
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Old July 26 2013, 07:25 PM   #4
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Re: How do I get that smell out of my books?!

once a book, especially an older one, absorbs a smell its really difficult to get rid of.
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Old July 26 2013, 07:26 PM   #5
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Re: How do I get that smell out of my books?!

Put the books into a plastic container like a big Rubbermaid box, and put in baking soda, or dryer sheets or even an open sack of kitty litter.

You might want to also get a jar of DampRid or something similar and set out on the bookshelf or in a box with the books.
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Old July 26 2013, 08:23 PM   #6
Kai "the spy"
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Re: How do I get that smell out of my books?!

Thanks for the tipps. I'll try the idea with the plastic box and cat litter, that one sounds most promising. Again, thanks to you all.
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Old July 27 2013, 01:38 AM   #7
Miss Chicken
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Re: How do I get that smell out of my books?!

If the baking soda and kitty litter ideas don't work, vinegar is also very good at absorbing odors.

You could try this on one book and see how it works when compared to kitty litter or baking soda.

Put white vinegar in a saucer in the middle of a box. Around the saucer place four objects of the same height (cotton spools, children's blocks etc) to raise the book above the saucer and to allow the air to flow free around the book. Place the books on top of the objects. The book must not come into contact with the vinegar. Close the box and seal with tape and leave it for several hours, even up to 24 hours. The book will smell like vinegar for a couple of days but that smell will go away.

I believe that vinegar is one of the best products ever invented - it has 1001+ uses.
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Old July 27 2013, 02:22 AM   #8
Gov Kodos
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Re: How do I get that smell out of my books?!

Also, contact some large public libraries or university libraries. I imagine they must deal with the care and maintenance of books.
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Old July 27 2013, 10:12 PM   #9
auntiehill
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Re: How do I get that smell out of my books?!

^that's a very good idea.
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Old July 28 2013, 01:03 AM   #10
Miss Chicken
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Re: How do I get that smell out of my books?!

Most larger libraries have high tech solutions and specialised equipment to get rid of mold. A smaller library might be a better source of information.
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Old July 28 2013, 09:25 AM   #11
Peach Wookiee
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Re: How do I get that smell out of my books?!

I used lemon Pledge to take mold off the leather cover of my great-great-great grandfather's Bible...
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Old July 28 2013, 02:07 PM   #12
Rhubarbodendron
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Re: How do I get that smell out of my books?!

Kai, did the books get soaked with river water (flood) or drinking water (broken pipe)?

If it was the recent flood, there'll be a risk of your books being full of bacteria and mud. In that case it'd be helpful to iron them page by page in adition to the baking soda or cat litter treatment. You might even have to desinfect them.
Else it would be too risky handling them (plus some bacteria eat paper).

Also, if it was a flood damage, make a list of all the books you had to throw away and do keep the receipts for the things you buy now to rescue the other books. In the worst case it'll be tax-deductable as "außergewöhnliche Belastungen" and in the best case you might qualify for a state fund.
Let me know if you need help with the red tape. We have slightly different regulations here in Bavaria, but I might still be able to help you a little with all these forms (I have 10 colleagues who got affected to various degrees by the flood; they are bound to know all the necessary forms and questionnaires).

Good luck with your books!
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