Defumigating Books

The following was taken from the Fiction_L Discussion Group.  It is a compilation of solutions offered by several librarians.

FROM: "Fiction_L" <>
DATE: Wed, 31 May 2000 14:25:09 -0500

    Thanks to everyone who suggested ways to remove smoke (and
    odors) from books. Here are the suggestions:

    For smoke:

    Try the local dryer cleaner and see if he/she has an ozone
    When we had a house fire, several items, including books (well
    every item to tell the truth) was pretty smoky. The items sit in the
    chamber for a while and the smell really does go away. Our cleaner
    barely charged us anything. It did work on most items. The length
    of time spent in the chamber depends on how smoky the items are.
    (Christine Lozoski Ilion free public { HYPERLINK
    mailto:lozoski@midyork.lib.ny.ys }lozoski@midyork.lib.ny.ys)

    Seal up in a plastic bag with charcoal briquets and/or baking soda
    for a few days
    . Make sure the books are at least somewhat open so the air can get to them.
    (Linda Cannon, Joplin Public Library)

    Our circ staff sometimes just opens the really offensive smelling
    books and lets the pages air out in the workroom before reshelving.

    What we have done sometimes with things we've gotten back through homebound service is use some of those perfumed dryer sheets, like Bounce - a couple to a book - between some of the pages, and then close the whole thing up in a plastic bag for several days. It works about as well as anything. We have also used the "close the book up in a plastic bag" approach using kitty litter in the bag for things that are musty smelling. No joke!
    (Mary Ann Bakken, St. Charles Public Library District)

    The "Today" show recently featured a segment on fixing "stinky" books- -they recommended sealing in a plastic bag with kitty litter and a little charcoal powder until the smell is gone.
    (Karen Traynor Sullivan Free Library)

    I've had some success using Bounce dryer sheets. Put a couple sheets
    between the pages of the book, seal it up in a Ziploc bag for a day or

    (Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish East Regional Library

    For mold or mildew smell:

    Seal the books in a box with several crumpled sheets of newspaper
    for a while
    . I can't remember if there was a specific period of time. Apparently the paper absorbs the odor. While writing this it also occurred to me that maybe a couple of dryer sheets tucked in the box might help. I've never tried it personally, but...
    (Dorothy McDonald
    Annapolis Royal Branch Library)

    This works for newpapers (for those sensitive to newsprint) so maybe it will work for a cough/sneeze situation.  Heat your oven to 250 degrees and SHUT IT OFF, then put the book in, flairing the pages as much as possible.   Let the oven cool and this should help the situation.  It's probably not dust mites but mold.  Hope this helps!
    Fae Bitney  (sensitive to many such things)
    Neligh Public Library
    Neligh Nebraska

    Karen Wallace
    Head of Community Services
    Des Plaines Public Library
    841 Graceland Ave.
    Des Plaines, IL 60016
    PH: 847-827-5551 FAX: 847-827-7974

    Thanks Karen!


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