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- View topic - Removing evil smells from books
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Removing evil smells from books 
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Post Removing evil smells from books
Back in high school (1964-67) I loaned a friend my copy of a 1960 hardback on falconry. He recently returned it, sheepishly explaining that one of his cats had peed on it and he was embarrassed to give it back in that condition.

Sure enough, it stinks to high heaven, even after 40 years. Any suggestions on how to get a book to stop smelling like cat pee would be very welcome.

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Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:52 am
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Post Re: Removing evil smells from books
There is nothing more evil than cat pee, unless it is a cat that will pee on hisher owner's possessions to prove they are smarter.

Having a few odiferous books around, I can say that it is one effin' persistent smell. I doubt there is any easy way to neutralize it. There is an excellent enzyme-based cleaner out there (one brand is Nature's Miracle) but I doubt that getting the book wet is in any way a good idea.

I would look into soaking/rinsing all the pages with a safe petrochemical cleaner - something like naphthalene comes to mind, but DO NOT take that as a given. With help, soaking the pages and rinsing each affected one well, then letting the book mostly-dry fanned open and finish-dry for a few weeks closed with a moderate weight on it might work. Do some research on the right cleaner.

Or, try putting the book in a box with powdered borax, fanning it good so the powder can get into every page. Let sit for a few weeks, agitating occasionally. Remove, and clean every page with a soft paintbrush.

Or, sorrowfully burn the book with all due ceremony, hie thee to ABEbooks for a replacement, and never ever loan a book to a catlover again.


PS - I also have quite a few books with puppy-nibbled corners. My worst cat-pee story is the very expensive sports rain jacket my son got for Xmas one year from his grandparents. A sort of blue rubberized fabric, it got peed on before the new year by a psycho cat we had at the time. Despite being a nominally waterproof garment, the puddled cat pee soaked in. We looked at the tag. The garment could not be: (1) machine washed (2) hand-washed or (3) dry-cleaned. It (4) hung in the garage until I believe it was (5) thrown away.

We don't have any cats because I've made it clear to the family that if the cat goes psycho we have to get rid of it. Two flippy cats - one because she was supposedly scared by a dog at age 3, one for absolutely no known reason at all - is all I can take of the archetype. Once that fuse blows, they are forever ruined, with no recovery. I really miss having a good cat, though. I almost had one and... no, that's a story I can't tell without too much anguish.

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Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:59 am
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Post Re: Removing evil smells from books

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Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:04 am
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Post Re: Removing evil smells from books
Well I would really like to know where your friend was keeping this book for the last 40 years. Make sure never to go in there...

After this length of time, the issue of whether the book still enjoys a separate identity from the cat pee is called into question.

I suppose you want to restore it for the novelty value and because you are bored. Therefore I shall not dwell on ideas like Abebooks, imaging each page and reprinting, etc.

I would soak each page in Nature's Miracle (see: pet store) and then follow the procedure for recovering a wet book, i.e., interleave the pages with absorbent paper (e.g. toilet paper), leave flat and repeat as necessary. Do not leave the pages open; do not iron them. I give it one in four odds of working after three iterations.


Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:21 am
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Post Re: Removing evil smells from books
There is one cat odor remover that is a powder rather than a liquid/spray, but I haven't personally tried it. It is called Odorzout and their website is www.88stink.com.
I would be very hesitant to use a liquid enzyme product on an old book, but this might work if you read how they suggest using the product (for litter boxes, on the animals themselves, anything sprayed by skunk, etc.) and then modify for specific need. Good luck!

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Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:05 pm
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Post Re: Removing evil smells from books

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Last edited by freesharon on Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:24 pm
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Post Re: Removing evil smells from books


Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:26 pm
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Post Re: Removing evil smells from books
Suddenly, in my RSS reader, courtesy of .

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Post Re: Removing evil smells from books


Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:37 pm
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Post Re: Removing evil smells from books
Thanks for the suggestion of ABEBooks.com. They had a nice copy for $4.50 for the book and $3.50 shipping. Clearly the superior option, sentimental attachment to the particular copy that got peed on notwithstanding. The order is placed. Thanks to everyone who replied.

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