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Subject: Odor removal

Odor removal

From: Cathy Atwood <cb522>
Date: Saturday, August 15, 1992
There has been discussion about ridding books and papers of offensive
odors.  Here is my contribution, along with its (now vague) history.

I visited the "extra bindery" at Donnelley's (Chicago) not too
long before it closed.  This would have been in the late 1970's. 
A commercial process for cleaning smoke-damaged buildings was
described by someone who had recently visited such a site.  I was
told that "aromatic oils" were used to remove odors.  This
substance actually removed odors rather than masking them.
Somehow I made a connection between this trivia, and a small
bottle of deodorizer that I found in a grocery store.  I believe
that this "one-drop deodorant" is the same aromatic oil, although
its chemistry is still a mystery to me.  So here is what I tell
people who ask how to remove smells from books:

Look for a small bottle of liquid deodorant (maybe 6 inches high,
including a drop dispensing lid) at the drugstore or grocery
store.  The pet food and car product aisles are good prospects. 
If the instructions say to place one drop of the deodorant on/in
a glass container, you've found the correct product.  (There are
many brand names; most of the liquids I've seen are green.)
Most of the time only a few books need to be treated.  It is most
effective to build a small chamber for them by putting a
cardboard box into a plastic trash bag.  Then stand the books
open, put one drop of the deodorant onto a glass dish in the
corner of the box, and tie up the plastic bag.  Check the books
daily, at which time another drop of deodorant can be added. 
Mild smells are gone in a couple of days, and nasty problems can
take a week to cure.

Manuscripts can be laid in thin piles inside the cardboard box
chamber.  I've also used a sealed chamber that was once used for
thymol treatments.

I've done entire rooms only a couple of times.  It takes longer
to do this volume of smell, but I still believe in the
effectiveness of this approach.  I've described this product to
dozens of callers over the last 10 years, and no-one has called
back for further help.  So I think it works!

Cathy Atwood

                  Conservation DistList Instance 6:14
                 Distributed: Saturday, August 15, 1992
                        Message Id: cdl-6-14-008
Received on Saturday, 15 August, 1992

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