How to Deodorize Books
This is the best product I have found so far to deodorize smelly books. It is cleaner than cat litter, baking soda and charcoal and less dangerous than freezing or microwaving your books. Any of the zeolite-based deodorizers can work well and you don’t need to immerse your book into them for it to work. Wikipedia on zeolites: “Zeolites are the aluminosilicate members of the family of microporous solids known as “molecular sieves.” The largest single use for zeolite is the global laundry detergent market.
Non-clumping cat litter is often made of zeolite. ” However, cat litter or other granular materials, if you set your book into them, can get caught up between the pages and cause tearing or staining and sometimes cat litter has added fragrances or other chemicals you don’t want to add to your book.
Baking soda, while slowly effective, has a ph of about 8 (alkaline). Typically people pour it onto the pages and no matter how much you brush and wipe it never really all comes out again. Because of the alkaline nature, the un-evenness of the distribution means that eventually the pages will age with a very mottled look. Setting the book on top of baking soda with a spun polyester fabric between them should be just fine. Still, baking soda may be messy but it is easily available. Better for a quick fix than waiting a week for your Smelleze order to arrive.
Charcoal is an ingredient in some book deodorizers and can be effective over time but on its own is again messy. No one is talking about charcoal briquettes by the way. Don’t use those to deodorize books especially the ones that have chemicals infused to make them easier to light!
Freezing or Microwaving
Freezing your books can ruin the glue attachment if it is a white PVA (poly vinyl acetate) glue. Microwaving can do the same thing. Heat re-activates the glue and this may be ok but you have to watch that the book doesn’t shift or the glue may dry in a different position and make the book crooked. Neither one of these will completely kill mold or mildew anyway. Once mold or mildew is present in a book, the best you can hope for is that it goes dormant. If it gets into an environment where the humidity and heat are too high the mold will come alive again.
Using alcohol to kill the mildew only sort of works. If the alcohol is 99.8% or higher then it will do more good than harm. If it is much lower than that then you are just feeding the spores with the water content.
Don’t spray anything directly onto your book or book pages! Whatever you are spraying is highly unlikely to be ph neutral and it will stay in the pages and destroy them over time.
Lysol or other Bleaching sprays:
This one should be obvious. Bleach is very acidic and will turn your pages brown and brittle over time!
Using sunshine to help your book dry is good because of the ultra-violet rays help kill the mold but it will also drain color from books so be cautious. Babysit your books when they are sunbathing.
How to deodorize a book
To start deodorizing your smelly books first get a plastic tub that can be closed. A picnic cooler works very well. (Be sure it is clean). Some books open easily so that both boards of the cover will be flat on the bottom of the tub as shown in this video. Others should not be opened fully and will need to be placed only on one side and then propped open. Both methods work fine.
Regarding Mold on Books: (see Course 9-102 for more information on moldy books)
- Be sure the book is completely dry before using this method or you may be helping mold to grow!
- If there is any sign of actual mold, after it is completely dry, wipe the moldy area with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol. 99% is the best to use because you don’t want to introduce moisture again. Be aware! The common over-the counter isopropyl alcohol is only about 70% alcohol and 30% water.
How to Deodorize Smelly Books: The Video
Tools and Materials:
- Plastic sealable tub or clean cooler.
- Deodorizer in the cloth pouch (remove the plastic bag!)
- Cotton pads to prop open pages
For a good laugh watch this funny video on how NOT to deodorize your books: