Home Remedies for Books

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Your favorite bestsellers are magnets for collecting dust and musty odors, but there are many household tricks that can revamp your precious publications. Home remedies for books take some of the most commonly used ingredients and products to make maintenance less expensive and easier to achieve.

Book Home Remedies

From using everyday items to mark the last page read to repairing a damp, musty paperback, consider the following home remedies for books:

a) Fabric Softener Sheet:

Put fabric softener sheets in between the pages of books and photo albums that spend more time in the shelves than being opened to prevent musty odors.

b) Baby Powder:

To remove mold and mildew from books, start off by letting them air dry. Next, sprinkle a small amount of baby powder between the pages and stand the book upright for several hours. Gently brush out the remaining powder from each book. You will not see a 100% recovery, but you should be happy with the results.

c) Baking Soda:

Get rid of the musty odor that attacks books that have been in storage by using the absorbing power of baking soda. Place a book in a paper bag filled with two tablespoons of baking soda. There is no need to shake up the bag – simply tie it up and let it sit in a dry environment for one week. When you open the bag, shake the remaining powder off of the books, and the smell should have disappeared.

d) Kitty Litter:

A can filled with fresh cat litter can help rid your old books of a musty smell when you seal them overnight.

e) Charcoal:

A trick of professional librarians is to use charcoal to get rid of musty odors in old books. Place a piece of charcoal inside a bookcase with glass doors to remove dampness that contributes to unpleasant scents. Place books in a large plastic container (like Rubbermaid tub) filled with a handful of charcoal briquettes to absorb moisture and remove odor.

f) Freezer:

Place a musty book overnight in your freezer to get rid of a musty odor. In the morning, your bestseller should smell like new.

g) Duct Tape:

To protect a book you’re bringing to a day at the beach, use duct tape to create a cover. Apply duct tape to a sheet of newspaper (overlapping in rows) that conforms to the shape of your book. The result is a removable cover that is waterproof and durable.

h) Tape [1]:

To prevent grease spots from spreading to the rest of your book pages, place a piece of tape over both sides of the spot, which will keep the stain from seeping through other pages.

i) Clear Plastic Bag:

To protect the rest of your cookbook when trying out a new recipe in the kitchen, cover the publication with a clear plastic bag. You can still read the directions, but won’t have to worry about ingredient spills and splatters.

j) Envelope:

A botched envelope doesn’t have to go to waste – turn it into a bookmark by cutting off the gummed flap and one end of the envelope. Slip the remaining envelope over the corner of a page as a holder that doesn’t damage your book.

k) Paper Clip:

Since they don’t fall out, paper clips make effective bookmarks. You can attach a piece of ribbon to the end if you’d like to jazz it up a bit.

l) Popsicle Stick:

A fun activity to do with the kids is turn Popsicle sticks into homemade bookmarks. Use markers and paint to add color. Embellish by gluing on sequins and other decorative accents to the stick.

m) Binder Clip:

Attach a medium-sized binder clip to mark the last page you read in a book


[1] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg.324.