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Remove "old book" odor
Home away from home
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So, today I received a set of GAU The Lord of the Rings, 1968, 2nd ed./3rd impr. (bought them for a good price, £20 GPB).

There is a tendency to a growth of mildew, which I gather from the "old books" odor and some tiny, brown stains sprinkled across the fore-edge. However, the books are in a quite good condition, with unfaded dustjackets, so I believe it might still be worth trying to salvage them.

The books are dry, so I'm thinking of applying hydrogen peroxide in order to eliminate the mildew.

Does anyone have a suggestion for how to remove the odor? I've read about various methods involving treatment with baking soda (put books in a bag with the baking soda, or sprinkle baking soda on pages).

Posted on: 2012/8/14 10:02


Re: Remove "old book" odor
Shirrif
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Shirrif
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Annoying when you post a new thread and nobody replies, isn't it Morgan?

I'm assuming you're referring to foxing when you refer to "mildew" & "brown stains". You can buy stuff, from book care specialists, to treat foxing, if you can really be bothered e.g. Chloromine-T.

As for the odour, I don't recall anything specifically you can buy (i.e. purpose made for book odour), but some book manuals suggest a "stinky book box"; basically a box where you put stinky books for recovery.

In the box you can use, as you suggest, a shallow dish with baking soda; but apparently this often requires long destinking periods! Alternatively you can put an air freshener in there with the book i.e. a solid room air freshener. This will probably get rid of the smell within 24 hours. (Although it might smell even worse!) Either way don't let either (baking soda or air freshener) actually touch the book.

Well, that's what my book says --never tried myself. They'll destink themselves eventually, I reckon.

BH

Posted on: 2012/8/17 4:11
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You drive a hard bargain – you can have it for £10 all-in – one consolation (for you) is that you do not have to hear the cries of my children, for bread...


Re: Remove "old book" odor
Home away from home
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Thanks for your reply, Khamul!

Yes, looking at these photos at Bookologist.com, I recognize the brown stains:

http://www.bookologist.com/cab/abu/y203/m03/bk0001/s03

As Craig Stark here points out,

Foxing requires a warm, humid environment to spread. Previously clean books stored in rooms at 60 to 70 degrees with a relative humidity under 50% will not develop foxing. Also, development of additional foxing in books already infected will be largely arrested.


Hopefully, then, my antiseptic treatment and the environment of my library will prevent any spreading of the infestation to other books.

I've kept the books and a dish of baking soda in a "box" made of two plastic bags for about 48 hours. I'll leave them another 48 hours, and if still smelly, I might repeat the treatment.

Posted on: 2012/8/17 8:05


Re: Remove "old book" odor
Just can't stay away
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Let me know if your treatment works Morgan. My impression has been that stinky /mildewy books are beyond help and can affect other books. I'm interested if you have any luck, I hope you do!

Posted on: 2012/8/17 17:26


Re: Remove "old book" odor
Not too shy to talk
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Don't know if you frequent Librarything.com, but have link to musty smelling books here: http://www.librarything.com/groups/bookcareandrepair which is informative, especially the link within the article to the Northeast Document Conservation Centre.
Good luck! Fiona

Posted on: 2012/8/18 3:20



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