The Easy Hack To Keep Your Books From Getting Musty In Storage

Books can often be some of our most prized possessions, lining our shelves and stacked on night tables. They can also be some of the most cumbersome items to store, whether you are stashing a few away to make room for new titles, moving home, or boxing them up to donate. This often means they wind up in closets, attics, and basements, where the paper and bindings are highly likely to absorb moisture and smells. If you're looking for a way to keep your books smelling fresh while in storage, or simply eliminate the musty smell of your latest used bookstore find, there are a number of great ways to fight the odors that often plague books  — one easy hack involves using ordinary dryer or fabric softener sheets to help absorb and eliminate the musty odors. 

In the dryer, laundry sheets help eliminate static, soften the fabric after washing, and add a fresh scent. They can serve the same purpose in books that they do in the dryer, slipping conveniently between pages, or even between books, to help tackle odors like mildew, smoke, or other kinds of scents absorbed while books are in storage.

Using dryer sheets in books to fight odors

To use dryer sheets to fight mustiness, simply slip a sheet trimmed to size between every five to 10 pages of books. This hack works either as a solution to smelly books pulled from storage or as a preventative when placing them in boxes or bins. The scent of the sheets will be absorbed by the books, and will cover up and neutralize any existing bad scents. To give your entire bookshelf a fresh scent, place a sheet tucked between every few books on your shelf. If you are allergic to or want to avoid using laundry sheets, try sheets of archival microchamber paper or scented drawer liner sheets instead. You can even use black pepper to freshen books or baby powder sprinkled on the pages.

Keep in mind, however, that over time, laundry sheets can damage ink and photos in many books. You may want to avoid using this approach with antique or valuable books. There are other ways to combat the odors in these books including, tucking silica packets between pages before storage or placing the entire book in a closed plastic bin filled with baking soda, cat litter, or charcoal for 48-72 hours or until the odor has dissipated.