I am clearing out a damp ... #266149 - Ask Extension


I am clearing out a damp ... #266149

Asked July 30, 2015, 12:37 PM EDT

I am clearing out a damp carport. The items are musty and damp. The items include books, paper, stuffed animals and a large array of household items. What is the best approach to clean, dry and deodorize this large assortment so that the items would be suitable for a yard sale.

Hocking County Ohio

Expert Response

Here is a lot of information, hopefully the first section gives you the answers you are looking for...Good Luck!!      Air dry them away from other objects. Spread out papers, stand books on end and fan the pages open. Use blotting materials like clean towels or absorbent paper between layers of cloth or paper. Increase air circulation with a fan, but don't aim the fan directly at the objects.     Although ultraviolet light can be damaging, brief exposure to sunlight can stop mold growth and aid drying. Exposure should not exceed 30 minutes. Please know that it is nearly impossible to restore a flood-damaged book or document to its original condition.     Sprinkle corn starch or talcum powder between pages to absorb the moisture. Leave the powder on for several hours and then brush it off. Place books on end with the pages separated. When pages are partially dry, pile and press books to keep pages from wrinkling and crumpling. Alternate drying and pressing until the books are thoroughly dry. This will help prevent mold. Use a fan to hasten drying. Covers of books can be wiped with a solution of one part rubbing alcohol and one part water. Vinyl and leather book covers can be lightly coated with petroleum jelly or leather or vinyl dressing. For valuable books that are nearly dry, consider pressing the pages with an electric iron set on low. Separate the pages to prevent musty odors. When books are thoroughly dry, close them and use C-clamps to help them retain their shape.    Remember that books and papers do not have to be in water to suffer damage. Extra humidity from water in the area is enough to trigger mold growth. Place them in an area with fans to speed air circulation and lower humidity. After your documents and books are completely dry, they may still have a musty smell. To combat this, place the papers in a cool, dry place for a few days. If the musty smell lingers, place the books or papers in an open box and put that box inside a larger closed container with an open box of baking soda. Be careful to prevent the baking soda from touching the documents and check the box daily for mold.

Hope this is helpful !
Nancy Stehulak Replied August 12, 2015, 8:43 AM EDT

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