Help support TMP

"Mildew Smell" Topic

21 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Consumer Affairs Message Board

1,300 hits since 9 Apr 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Scott MacPhee Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 9:05 a.m. PST

I bought some rules books on eBay from a TMP member. When I opened the package, I was immediately hit with a strong mildew smell, strong enough to make me gag. I have all four books airing out now, but I doubt they will ever be rid of that smell.

Am I being overly sensitive here, or is this something that should have been in the item description? What say the wise men of TMP?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 9:23 a.m. PST

When I find one I'll ask him. Meantime…

In fairness to your vendor, not all of us have equally sensitive noses. It has to be pretty bad before I notice, for instance. I've been hanging around old books most of my life. He should certainly have noted any visible mold or mildew, but the scent comes first.

Nothing wrong with airing out, but much to be said for lighter fluid and paper towels where there is visible mold or mildew, and strong sunlight otherwise. If you've got a good south-facing window, leave them open there, and turn the pages every few hours. It's an annoyance, but it's fixable in pamphlets. Big thick books are trickier.

Perris070709 Apr 2017 9:33 a.m. PST

Would an open box of baking soda in a box, container, or bag with the books work?

Prince Alberts Revenge09 Apr 2017 9:37 a.m. PST

I used to buy some hard to get books and rulesets from a local hobby shop that had an overwhelming body odor stench permeating throughout. It actually made the books smell nasty. I was desperate to own them, so I'd buy them anyway. I used to place fabric softener sheets in the pages and let them air outside. It would ultimately do the job and rid them of the smell. Might be worth a try.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 9:37 a.m. PST

Personally, I try to be as accurate as possible when I describe a books condition and that includes any odors.

I would expect a seller to be aware of the odors you describe: a tobacco or smoke smell can be more difficult if the seller is a smoker since they would be acclimated to the smell.

I've purchased books from Amazon, Alibris, Abe, etc., that had extremely strong odors and that condition was never mentioned in the description: it's frustrating and annoying.

I've had limited success airing books out: the older the book the more difficult it is based on the printing materials used.

I've found this method to be successful about 80% of the time:


Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 9:56 a.m. PST

Baking soda and direct sunshine are your best bets.

Silurian09 Apr 2017 10:10 a.m. PST

I've found baking soda to work very well with books.

Also, when I've bought some old musty magazines, I've put them in a ziplock bag with a couple of drier sheets for a week or two. Worked well.

Oh Bugger Inactive Member09 Apr 2017 11:02 a.m. PST

Happened to me too with a TMP seller, despite the stench the books were actually OK. After 12 months airing the smell went. I was left speculating just how does someone inculcate such a ghastly pong in an inanimate object.

acatcalledelvis09 Apr 2017 11:56 a.m. PST

A couple of interesting paper articles on book smell – I have loads of books I cant read because the smell. Today on the TV the old book smell was called 'the smell of a dying book' – I quite liked that description



14Bore09 Apr 2017 12:04 p.m. PST

Scan them into computer and print them out

rmaker09 Apr 2017 12:16 p.m. PST

Newspaper sheets between the pages helps, too.

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 12:34 p.m. PST

Try putting them in a sealed plastic tub with a little bowl of ammonia. That should put the halt to the mildew.

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 2:41 p.m. PST

For most "smells" placing the books, magazines, etc. in a clean closed box with one or two Dryer Sheets for a few days will most often alleviate most odors. Mold is a bit more of a Bleeped text, but as suggested above not impossible!

altfritz09 Apr 2017 2:44 p.m. PST

It should be noted in the description, whether it can be solved or not. How was the condition described?

Personal logo Scott MacPhee Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 3:26 p.m. PST

The condition was just listed as "used."

Thanks for all the great suggestions! I'll try to get the stink out.

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian09 Apr 2017 3:40 p.m. PST

The seller may have been so used to the smell as to not realize. Smokers often do not realize how much they smell of smoke, and musty house owners often do not realize how musty their houses smell.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 5:16 p.m. PST

Super gross, good luck!

Personal logo chicklewis Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 7:10 p.m. PST

I feel for you. I vividly remember my own horror when, in Borneo, I realized that my T Shirt was growing mildew WHILE I WAS WEARING IT !!!

wrgmr109 Apr 2017 7:41 p.m. PST

Receiving books that smell of smoke is just as bad. One used book I bought had been owned by a cat owner. I'm allergic to cats. There was so much dander on it, I could only read for a few minutes without sneezing.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2017 12:59 a.m. PST

Mildew Smell would be a great name for a Dickens' character.

BTCTerrainman Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2017 11:46 a.m. PST

Yeah some of us folks are more sensitive to mildew and mold smells. I have smelled some people that must be wearing moldy clothing……not sure how they can stand that odor. I can only imagine what their homes smell like……

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.