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Removing Mold and Smoke Odors From Books and Documents

For as long as there have been words printed on paper mold has been busily trying to undo what man has done. And until recently man or library scientists have been fighting the good fight and for the most part winning. And though we may be winning, the price has been very high.

Up until 2000, mold remediation consisted of Lysol spray, vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters, respirators and hours and hours of manual labor. The results were marginal at very best. Using stronger chemicals to actually oxidize the mold and spores involved liquids and when the solvent evaporated, the powder left behind was poison. Additionally, spraying any liquid on paper documents caused damage of its own.

Using the old standard ozone still has some very negative side effects too. Like making leather book bindings brittle and crack, oxidizing the binding cord and bleaching everything in sight.

In the December of 2000, Pat L. Weaver-Meyers, Wilbur A. Stolt, and Barbara Kowaleski wrote a paper titled "Controlling Mold on Library Materials with Chlorine Dioxide: An Eight-Year Case Study" that was published in the " Abbey Newsletter". Their problem was apparently so severe that they were willing to wipe the books with chlorine dioxide (CLO2) dissolved in water to remove the mold - AND IT WORKED!

OdorXit odor remover

They followed up with a product produced by Aseptrol Technology that produced very small amounts of CLO2 that was catalyzed by the humidity in the air. This product is now very hard to get and was not an efficient or cost effective way to produce CLO2 even in very small quantities.

In recent years, new materials and new thinking has been applied to the problem of safely and easily producing small amounts of pure chlorine dioxide. This effort has resulted in the product available on this web site called OdorXit AQM- Air Quality Manager - CLO2. It is available in a 10 gram packet weight. For the purpose of library uses, this is the perfect size.

The normal use of these packets produce small amounts of CLO2 for 20 to 30 days depending on the humidity (which must be higher than 40%. If the humidity is below 40% a few drops of water can be added to the clear pouch to raise the humidity.). When appropriately sized for the area being treated, there is no or very little odor. If an over sized packet is used, a slight to heavy chlorine bleach smell can be detected. The remedy is to put the working packet in another area that needs treatment for a day or so, then place it back in the original area to continue treatment.

Package Appearance

The packets measure as little as 2.5 x 5 x .25 inches. The active ingredients are sealed in a white micro-pouch. The seal is very special in that it breathes small quantity's of air containing water vapor and breathing out the resulting CLO2 vapor. This micro-pouch is shipped in a water vapor proof sealed mylar packet which must be removed to activate the process. Additionally a clear peal and stick pouch or clamshell is supplied with each packet to mount the packet in any convenient place. OdorXit AQM CLO2 packets usually produce usable amounts of CLO2 for 20 to 30 days after which time it will be necessary to replace them. The spent packets can be removed and replaced indefinably.

Note: It is not necessary to replace the spent CLO2 packet just because it has expired. CLO2 is so effective at oxidizing mold fungus and spores, re-population is very slow and based on the ability of the air handling system to filter out new spores and pathogens floating in the air brought into the treated area.


In order to remove mold, odor, mildew or smoke odors from hard bound books, you will need a plastic tub with a cover, a closet with wire shelving and a door or a metal locker with a door that can be closed (never a cardboard box).

  • Stand the book(s) to be treated on end so that the pages can be fluffed open.
  • Place the books so that the covers are open between 45 and 90 degrees and about 1 inch apart.
  • Hang soft cover books, magazines and documents from clothes hangers.
  • Stick the self adhering pouch on the side of the tub or near the top of the locker
  • Tear open the Mylar outer package without tearing or puncturing the inner white Tyvek packet of a 10 gram packet for a tub or locker.
  • Place the micro-pouch in the plastic container.
  • Install the cover or close the locker door without knocking the books over.
  • Remove the books in 24 to 72 hours. All the mold will be dead and needs only to be wiped away with a soft cloth.

The packet will continue to release small amounts of chlorine dioxide for 20 or 30 days during which time the books in the tub or locker can be replaced several times with new books for the same treatment .

Note, when there is no smell of chlorine left, the packet is finished or nearly finished producing vapor and should be discarded in an outdoor garbage container - about 20-30 days.

OdorXit odor remover

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