Deodorizing Purses

Dear Donia,
How do I get the musty smell out of purses?

Old purses

Q. Dear Donia,

My daughter stored some purses in a garage and they retained a musty odor. How do I remove the smell from them? Thanks, Edith

A. Dear Edith,

There are several ways to reduce or remove odors from a wide variety of items.  
 
The first option is to use baking soda. Put the purses in a clean plastic storage container with bowls of baking soda and then put the top on the container. Don't sprinkle the baking soda directly onto or into the purses! This process will take at least a year. The question that usually comes up with this method is how often to change the bowls of soda.  Frequency of change and the overall length of time to reduce the odor is all based on how much baking soda you are using,  how much surface area of the baking soda is exposed (shallow bowls or baking pans expose more soda and work more efficiently), how many purses you have, and just how smelly they are.  In any event, I would follow the guidelines on the box which is to change the soda every 30 days.  This should help to absorb odors more efficiently to help you complete the project more quickly.  
 
You can also use activated charcoal that you can get at pet stores.  Activated charcoal is used in fish tanks to keep the water clean and it is also great at absorbing odors.  You would use it in the same manner as baking soda but don't need to change it as often (about every 2 months).  You can also try the Gonzo Odor Eliminator rocks that you can find on Amazon.  If you purchase a couple of these, you can be recharging one while you are using the other.  Again, change out every 1-2 months.  I would avoid the other odor absorbers you can find on Amazon or in the stores.  These often have chemicals that release "pleasant" odors and these chemicals can be damaging to your purses.  It is best to stick with baking soda or activated charcoal.
 
A more expensive but more efficient method that gives overall better results in my experience is MicroChamber paper.  If you get some MicroChamber interleaving paper and crumple some up and put it inside the purses and then wrap the outsides in the same paper and place in a safe place but not in a basement, attic, or garage.  Change the paper out after 1 month and each month after that until the odor is gone.  This may be the best option if you want to use the purses sooner than you would be able to with the baking soda or activated charcoal. 

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