Musty smells are removed from books by using a variety of household items such as baking soda, charcoal or kitty litter. Other items that can remove odors from books are talcum powder or fabric refreshers such as FeBreze.
When mold and mildew collect in old books, they typically cause a musty smell. To remove this unpleasant scent, several household items and processes are effective. One method is to find an odor-absorbing material such as baking soda. The baking soda is placed in the bottom of a large can or box with a lid. The offending, musty book is placed inside a smaller container and then put into the large can or box and covered. After a few weeks, the musty smell typically disappears. The same process is effective using charcoal or kitty litter.
Another effective method for removing musty aromas in books is sprinkling the pages with talcum powder before wrapping the book in brown paper. The book needs to sit unopened for several days before shaking out the talcum powder. Alternately, the pages of the book can be sprayed with a fabric refresher and gently dried with a hair dryer. A simple no-ingredient method for airing out musty books is to place them outside in the sunlight for several days, turning the pages often.