Wet (reads: very wet) books are usually interleaved with paper towels and stood on end with the covers fanned out to expose the individual pages. A fan is then placed on the spine side of the book to circulate air to draw out moisture and the interleaving paper towels are changed periodically.
However, in your case you have damp books from a basement. If you want to use the oven, I would recommend that you place the book on a cake pan lined with several layers of paper (to protect the book from the heat conducted by the metal pan) and stand the book on end with the covers fanned out so the warm dry air with circulate. I would not go over 100 or 110 degeres F. The amount of time is simply a judgement matter on your part-how the pages feel, etc.
If you decide to use the microwave method DO NOT put the book in the microwave and let it go at high for several minutes. Rather place the book in the microwave on end with covers fanned out and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute and remove the book standing in a dry area with low humidity and the book on end with covers fanned out. Place the next book in and repeat. One you have done several books. Start over again with the first book.
If you leave the book closed and simply place it in the microwave for several minutes it will start to darken the paper in the center of the book. The 30 second to 1 minute cyling allows for the moisture in the paper to become active and then evaporate from the page. If the book is closed the moisture has no where to go and slowly heats up not only the moisture, but also the paper fibers and to a point where they start to discolor.
Finally, the best easy way to get rid of the musty smell, is, as an another author stated, place the books on end with covers fanned out in the sunlight on a dry warm day. If this isn't available you can place then in the window.
Hope this helps.
Tom Fine Wrote:
This is a little OT, but I figure with a list of preservation experts, someone might know the
answer. Is it OK to bake a damp/musty-smelling hardcover book to dry it out? If so, is the "warm"
(about 130-150 degrees) setting in a conventional oven OK? If not, what's the recommended what to
dry it out. I bought some used books that had obviously been in the kind of basement that invites
sticky-shed with tapes. I can read 'em as is, but I'd sure like to be rid of that musty smell and
damp feeling to the pages. These books are non-valuable ($1 each), so I don't care if they get a
little warped, just want them intact to read (ie don't want to ruin the binding).
-- Tom Fine
Audiovisual Preservation Specialist
Library of Congress
>>> steven c <[log in to unmask]> 07/01/06 5:43 PM >>>
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Lennick" <[log in to unmask]>
> Thought this was going to be a similar situation to the episode of
"Cheers" where Sam dropped Diane's
> rare book in the bathtub and when dried, it looked like a chia pet.
Actually if anyone has an answer
> to this or to the related problem of musty record jackets and labels (a
problem I'm facing with
> records I've been buying from an estate, where there was a flooded
basement), let us know.
As I recall...a dilute solution of Clorox (or similar bleach) will both
kill the mould and remove the musty smell. I have no idea how this is
supposed to be applied...I've mainly seen it recommended for use in
musty luggage. Also. I think putting such items outdoors in direct
bright sunlight will work...?