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Anyway to remove bad musty smell from paperwork and photos?


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I didn't really see anything here addressing this subject. I picked up two groupings of patches, paperwork, photos, etc to the same man. 13th Bomb Squadron 1946-47, and later USN Helicopter unit Korea. Anyway, they were in a basement in Pittsburgh and they smell so bad I can't bring them into the house. I had them outside all day airing out, but no help. The papers and photos are in very sound condition, but still hard to spray them with anything because it soaks in. I tried some Fabreze but it didn't really absorb into the photos or papers. Just lays a liquid on top. I would greatly appreciate any input or ideas how to correct this problem. It is a great grouping, and there must be something I can do. Thanks in advance. Dave

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Maybe these will help? Maybe air them out for a couple more days as well?

https://www.hunker.com/12509446/how-to-get-musty-smells-out-of-paper

 

http://ask.metafilter.com/22506/Removing-smells-from-paper

 

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Thank you very much for the response. They both seem like good ideas. I will give them a try. I was hoping someone had some ideas to deal with this problem. Thanks again. Dave

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Maybe try putting them in a box or a big paper bag with some Bounce dryer sheets, they are not bad for absorbing odours and leaving stuff Bounce fresh!

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Collector of WWII M-1helmets and WWII Airborne items

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For musty papers, I have had good luck placing the papers into a paper sack and putting balled up newspapers in with them, then closing the bag. It usually takes a few days and you may have to replace the balled up newspapers.

 

Good luck!

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Thanks to everyone for the tips. I really appreciate all the helpful hints. Seems like the consensus is the crumpled up newspapers with dryer sheets. I will give it a try tomorrow and see what happens. Again, thanks to everyone for their input. Dave

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I recommend lots of fresh air and time, the lower humidity the better. I leave musty smelling stuff in a box on the porch for weeks and this always seems to work. It can take time (weeks +) and low humidity helps. Don't leave the stuff in one big pile - Spread it out, open it up, so it can get some air. I don't leave stuff in direct sunshine - always worried about fading.

 

Might try baking soda too (?) like they suggest for refrigerators.

 

Good luck!

Semper Fi!

Sgt. BARney

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Dryer sheets for sure.

 

-Ski

In Memory Of......
Pte Harold Griffiths, 1805, 1/6th Manchester Regt, KIA June 4th, 1915 in Gallipoli
Cpl Isaac Judges, 40494, 6th East Yorkshire Regt, KIA October 3rd, 1917 in Ypres
May they rest in peace.....

MSgt - USAF Retired

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I put the first batch of photos, papers, etc in a box with a lid with crumpled up newspaper, and the dryer sheets, and I must say I see a noticeable difference after letting them set overnight. There are two or three books that I think will take a few more treatments, but the papers and photos show a remarkable improvement. I just put the second batch into a tub with the lid sealed with Saran wrap. I will see if the sealing does any better. Anyhow I would like to thank all for their input and ideas. I will probably try to treat the book pages with baking soda, if a second "soak" does not do the trick. This was another suggestion that was made. Thanks, Dave

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Bought a Ozone machine at a pawn shop, industrial strength, they use them on used cars that have been flooded or smoked in and it will remove any smell and kill mold and bacteria just For future reference....

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  • 2 years later...

As a farm kid who had a cat that vandalized things when he was angry at me, a plastic tub with baking soda and kitty litter on the bottom, crumpled newspaper for circulation between layers, and frequent exposure to outside work wonders. I turned it lots of thusly rescued assignments during high school and college. Plus, baking soda is a mild base that can help with acidity issues. Oh, you can add a some rice if moisture is an issue. Honestly, the dryer sheet thing makes me nervous. I think fabric softener is a mild acid and wouldn't be good for old paper

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