How can I remove the smell of mold on books stored in the basement?

The books/journals were stored in a very humid basement in cardboard boxes & plastic bins for years and the smell of mold permeated the containers. The journals have handwritten texts that predated our having computers, so I d not have them stored in electronic files. How can I salvage all this?

  5 answers
  • Charcoal. Place in plastic tubs with a bunch of charcoal, and put the lid on. Check every few days. If you can open the books without ruining their spines, that would even be better. Will take some time, so be patient.
    • See 1 previous
    • Yes! You do not want to get the charcoal on the books themselves, just be in the same "enclosed space." Use whatever you have, even a jumbo trash bag will work. Just make sure it will not get knocked over by kids or pets. Place some books in a bag then a bowl or old shoe box with a couple pounds of charcoal.
  • Rowgop (Pam) Rowgop (Pam) on Jan 21, 2018
    If your book is mold and mildew free but still has a smell to it, you can sprinkle baking soda in a sealed container or bag and place the book inside for a couple of hours. The baking soda is quite effective at absorbing the scent. Activated charcoal can be substituted in this step. Again, repeat as necessary.
    • Francesca Pope Francesca Pope on Jan 21, 2018
      Thank you, Pam. Does the baking soda shake off easily from the pages/covers and leave no residue stains/marks as long as the container and books are bone dry?
  • Nancy Walters Nancy Walters on Jan 21, 2018
    Probably can't. Once paper gets moldy, it absorbs it.

    • See 1 previous
    • Nancy Walters Nancy Walters on Jan 22, 2018
      That sounds like a great idea!

  • Chris Gaines Chris Gaines on Jan 21, 2018
    Move them to the attic with a dryer sheet or two in each box!

  • Hanna Carlson Hanna Carlson on Jan 21, 2018
    Charcoal briquettes work great. Put the books in a tub add the briquettes and put the cover on. Not sure how long for books but I did this with blankets and I left it a week.
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