[GBW] musty smell in papers

William Minter wminter at pennswoods.net
Mon Aug 13 12:30:54 EDT 2007

On Aug 12, 2007, at 8:37 PM, Mark Arend wrote:

> A friend has some papers that have been stored in a basement and  
> have picked up a musty smell.  They're not valuable--old music  
> scores & some books. I suggested putting them in a plastic tub with  
> kitty litter.  Any other advice I can give her?

I suggest supporting the books open and set up a fan to allow air to  
flow over and around. I made small stands to support the binding, and  
used crumpled paper to hold the pages open. After a week or so, it  
should reduce the odor, as well as dry out the paper.
On one occasion, with smoke damaged books, we surface cleaned the  
heads with erasers and cleaned the covers as needed. We also sprayed  
Lysol, very lightly, in the air over the books prior to turning on  
the fan. The books were fanned for about two weeks. I called the  
customer some three years later, and the smoke odor had not returned.
I know that others have used kitty litter, but moving air seems best  
for me.
Bill Minter


William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc.
4364 Woodbury Pike
Woodbury, PA  16695
Fax:   814-793-4045
Email:    wminter at pennswoods.net

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