Freshen Up Your Thrift Store Finds With This Basic Kitchen Ingredient

A trip to the thrift store can offer a bounty of great steals and deals, but it's not unusual for them to carry the musty odor of age and storage. Clothes and linens can be thrown in the wash to rid them of their smell, while most household items can be scrubbed with soap and water. In most cases, a thorough cleaning will rid an item of aromas as easily as stains. But what should you do with items that can't be cleaned, like books? Old books are some of the worst offenders when it comes to carrying unwanted musty smells around, but they can't be washed with water. Surprisingly, the answer to this conundrum is plain black pepper from your pantry.

Black pepper is underrated not only as a kitchen spice but as a household helper as well. Whether it's being sprinkled around your home or used in your garden's soil as a pesticide, black pepper is incredibly versatile. You can use it to freshen up the smell of musty books with ease.

Give old books a fresh new scent

If you come home from the secondhand store with a haul of old books, chances are they smell like they've been boxed up for ages. The odor comes from the gradual disintegration over time of the paper, ink, and adhesive materials that make up the book, and trying to get rid of unwanted scents can seem like a daunting task. However, all you need is a large Ziploc bag and some black pepper to rid your books of that old, musty smell and freshen them up like new.

Simply put your books inside the Ziploc with a couple teaspoons of ground black pepper. Seal the closure tightly, and allow the books to sit inside the sealed bag in a cool, dry place for two days. Pepper actually has odor-absorbing properties and should remove the scent from the books. If you still detect a faint smell after two days, refresh the pepper and repeat the process. Your books will be free of their stink in no time and can take a place of honor as a piece of art on your bookshelves or bedside table.