How do I remove a musty odor from old letters?
Q. Dear Donia,
While clearing out my parents' house, we found hundreds of old letters/envelopes between my dad and his family in Australia from the 1940s and 50s. Some are in bundles while others are in file folders. I need to remove them from inside my house as they have a musty odor and are causing us issues. I live in Arizona so it can get quite hot. My garage may be 130°F. Can I put them in bins in my garage without damaging them? Are the same methods you reference (deodorizers, baking soda) still ok with the heat? Do I unbundle and lay out in individual pieces? Any help is appreciated! Thanks, Erika
A. Dear Erika,
What a fantastic find; I'm just sorry the letters have a musty odor. You can put them in bins but it would be best not to put them in the garage as the heat will not be good for the paper. What you can do is put them in the bin with the bundles wrapped in Microchamber paper (or with some Gonzo Odor Eliminator or activated charcoal in bowls). Those that are in file folders can be put in a separate bin with either Microchamber interleaving paper or Microchamber folders (or Gonzo or charcoal as in the other bin). I am recommending the Microchamber paper because it will work more quickly than the others so you can enjoy the letters sooner. To help things work even faster, if you can stand it, take the bundles apart and interleave each letter with the Microchamber paper. With the bins closed, the odors will stay contained so they shouldn't be a bother to you and you can keep the bins in the house where the environment is safer.
I hope you can get the odor reduced so that your family can all enjoy the letters. Thank you for asking "Dear Donia", and please don't hesitate to contact us again if you have any further questions.