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Topic: Books from smokers - can they be saved?

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Subject: Books from smokers - can they be saved?
Date Posted: 9/29/2011 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2010
Posts: 34
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Despite my specific condition request stating that I do not want books from smokers, I continue to receive books that really stink.  There is no doubt that these books came from smokers.  Yet they deny being smokers.  I have contacted my post-office and they are a smoke-free zone, including the delivery trucks.  I received three books on the same day and only one of them stunk so I am at a loss.

Is there a way to get the smell out of the book?  I have thrown away four books already without even reading them.  The last book I received I have tried putting in plastic bags with air fresheners, dryer sheets, baking soda and a bag of charcoal.  The book still stinks.  And today I received yet another book from a smoker! 

Date Posted: 9/29/2011 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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I sympathize, Ginger.  If you search this forum for "smell" (without the " marks) in the subject only, you should see a number of threads with suggestions to try.  I think the key is generally time -- leaving it for a long period in a sealed container with crumpled newspaper/kitty litter/baking soda/some other suggested material is the one that seems to most often be successful.

Since you're getting a lot of issues, you may wish to review the wording of your Request Conditions as well -- folks don't have to be smokers themselves to have gotten a smoky book somewhere and passed it along.


Date Posted: 9/29/2011 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2006
Posts: 1,619
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Why throw them away?  Repost to someone who doesn't have an RC for smoke.  And the senders may not be smokers.  They may have gotten the books used and have no way of knowing who the previous owners were.  Sounds like you're particularly sensitive to smoke.  I've heard cat litter works, but I've never tried it.

Date Posted: 9/29/2011 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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I agree with Elizabeth--time is the key.  I don't have a no-smoking RC, but I really can't stand the smell.  The reason I don't have an RC is that I find I can just leave the books out someplace away from the rest of my books for a while (sometimes quite a while) and the smoke smell eventually gets so it's not at all noticable.  (And I have a pretty good sense of smell.)  Sometimes it takes a couple of months before I consider the book rehabilitated--during that time, I leave it out and for the most part ignore it.  Sometimes I'll fan the pages a few times as I walk by.  I find that time works with books that smell of smoke.  Haven't been so lucky with a couple other books I have that just smell awful.  It's not smoke or a musty smell--I've been trying to air them out for eight or nine months with no luck.  I think I'm going to eventually have to admit defeat on these two and toss them in the trash.

Date Posted: 9/29/2011 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
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Ginger, I don't have any ideas about how to rid a book of the smell of cigarettes. Sorry I can't help with that.

But about your RC: Does it simply say 'no books from smokers' or 'no books from a smoking household'? If it's the first, then I could agree to that because I am not a smoker but I share a home with one and therefore my books still smell like smoke, even though my smoking mother never reads them. But the second might help to weed out some of the problem swaps you've been getting. Just a thought.

Date Posted: 9/29/2011 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,692
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I have a RC about tobacco smoke too. I used to place these books outside and let them air. Then one time I had a book that took literally months before I could read it. So I now have an RC against such. (Sorry, due to a severe allergy, I cannot accept books from a smoking environment.) I have had a number of requests canceled due to this, but that is OK.

I recently got another that seemed to be just musty.  So I accepted it. The next day I realized it was a tobacco small. The only thing I have found that works is to air it outside - with it open - standing up -  and the pages spread. Eventually the smell disappears, but it is a hassle.

Fortunately, at the university I work at, smoking is NOT permitted anywhere on campus  - not even in cars.



Date Posted: 9/30/2011 1:12 AM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2011
Posts: 634
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 I read of a product that MIGHT help.  I have NOT used it myself but I read about this on some forum about books and people said it worked great.  It might be worth a try.  I have been thinking about buying it myself since I buy used books and can't be around smoke either.





Last Edited on: 9/30/11 1:12 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/30/2011 6:47 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 1,442
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WOW, thanks Zoeyeve!!  I've never heard of Smelleze and am so glad you posted that link.  It looks like an exxcellent option for those of us who have smoke-smell issues.

Date Posted: 9/30/2011 7:30 AM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 626
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I just bought some.  Haven't tried it yet.  I looked high and low for ingredients in the stuff, but there's nary a list to be found.  It looks a lot like clay granules. 

Date Posted: 9/30/2011 7:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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I've had the same experience as Laura: time and exposure to air works wonders. In good (not humid) weather, I let the book sit open outside. Just like her, I leaf through it occasionally. I have better luck with books (only a couple have been smoky), but so far this has worked for me.

The last time someone asked this on the forum, I got curious and wondered if the book really lost its smell, or if I was just fooling myself, so I picked up one of the books I rehabilitated this way. I cannot say the smell was 100% gone - the book still had a very faint smell of something - but I would say 99%, so little smell left that I could not identify it as cigarette smoke. And I do have a very acute sense of smell; I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't notice it at all.

Date Posted: 9/30/2011 8:37 AM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
Posts: 4,177
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I tried the Cat Litter method; but my book ended up smelling like cat pee. 

Stopped doing that  because I could only fit a few books at a time in the litter box. wink


Last Edited on: 9/30/11 8:38 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/1/2011 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 6,075
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Wipe down the book with GooGone or De-solv-it. You'd be surprised how much smoke can be removed. Then I would leave it out and open for awhile. 

Date Posted: 10/1/2011 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2010
Posts: 576
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Rob, you might want to use the kitty litter before your cats do LOL


As for the smell, I know what you mean. I have no allergies but my eyes do water if I am trying to read a very smoky book. I find if you leave it out in the open, preferably outside, for ahwhile it helps. But some sort of granuals that absorb smells, do sound more practical. And I think I have seen those somewhere before?


Date Posted: 10/1/2011 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,365
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LOL Rob...

Date Posted: 10/4/2011 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 16
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I can totally relate. My problem is recently being diagnosed with chronic bronchitis COPD, which means my lungs will start to close up even before my sensitive nose has noticed it. So this has become a major issue for us. Here is our RC, if it helps, and you are welcome to use any portion that may work for you.

"Please understand, due to health issues, we are unable to accept books from homes with smokers or that have a heavy smoke smell.  We realize that a lot of books are purchased used and from a lot of different sources. If you are not sure or are unsure of your sense of smell then please feel free to click and decline this request."

Can't wait to try that book deoderizer. Right now I am running tests with baking soda and one with kitty litter. I read it is better to have it where the book is above the material not sitting in it. Also it needs to be changes out, once it absorbs the smell it can't continue to absorb more.

Good luck!