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Topic: Dealing with smoky smoker smoking books

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Subject: Dealing with smoky smoker smoking books
Date Posted: 2/13/2010 2:58 AM ET
Member Since: 10/16/2008
Posts: 7
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This is not a posting about accepting or receiving books from smokers. I think, and I believe that there is general agreement, that you should warn people your books were exposed to smoking before you send them, as well as setting a requestor condition that you will NOT accept books that are smoky if it's really an issue with you and your allergies. Okay? Okay?? Okay.

What I'm interested in is HOW you have dealt with smoky books, and WHAT worked to get them to stop being smoky. Or if nothing worked.

One method that I think worked for me was I put some green tea leaves (I still don't know what particular type, that's a long story) in a food processor, ground it up, and put it in a plastic bag. I wrapped the book in linen, and put the book in there as well, so that the tea was in the same place as the book but not touching the book. I think it worked. I say "I think" because I sold the book to someone, and I told them to tell me if the condition was not acceptable. Or maybe they had a bad sense of smell. Or smoked. Or didn't care. I don't know.

I have heard of the following:

(1) A dryer sheet put in the book. It seems like this would mask the smell, not eliminate it. Plus, if someone has issues with cigarette smoke, it's not hard to imagine they would have issues with the toxic perfume of a dryer sheet.

(2) Leaving the book in the sun. If you have the ideal, un-disturbable spot to put the book, this may work, but it seems like a slow process, and if the book gets...weathered, faded, spilled on...there are endless ways this might not be ideal. It doesn't seem good for the book.

(3) Inter-leaving newsprint in the pages of the book. It's supposed to act as an absorbent. Except I'm worried about the newsprint getting the book pages dirty, and what gives the newsprint more absorbability to suck the smell out of the pages of the book? Doesn't seem effective.

(4) Putting the book in a container with baking soda. I guess the theory is, if it works in the fridge... Also, putting the book in a container with either dry cat litter or activated charcoal. Or even a cedar-lined chest. Except wouldn't cedar oil harm a book? And if we're talking allergies again, cedar might be no better an alternative than a dryer sheet.

(5) I've heard the snooty expensive bookstores use expensive ozone, which I believe is also harmful and toxic to humans and pets.

Anything else?

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 4:39 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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I think you've listed all the components of the combinations I use, tho I do them a bit differently. I had one that was just the worst I'd ever been near. I literally could smell it from the next room. Now if it had been a novel, I might have considered it being that smokey, but as it was a cookbook, the only thing I could think of is the owners were chainer smokers and sat at the kitchen table with the book generally laying nearby. I worked like crazy on that one, and finally got it down to where I could keep it in the house without gagging, but it to hold it for very long was still a chore. Shame too, good Campell's cookbook!

Anyway, to the point, what i do is start with a large paper grocery bag. Stand it up in a box and place it where it will not get bumped or knocked over for a couple days, prefereably outside, sun doesn't matter as the book is going inside the paper bag. Mix a cup of unscented cat liter with a small box of baking soda. Place the book standin up with the front an back cover spread apart, and the pages fanned between as much as you can get it to do. Then sprinkle the liter/soda mix into the back over top of the book, making sure the mix goes between as many pages as possible and spreading any remainder around the book. Roll down the top, taking care not to knock over the book inside. Once you've left it this way for a few days to a week (depending on the amount of stink) then if the book seems nearly clear smelling, find a place on the porch if your weather is dry, or on a table inside a window, on its end again, with the boards separated and the pages fanned as much as possible. Leave it in the sunlight for another few days.

If this does not make it to where you can stand the book yet, try it again. Being sure to leave the book inside the bag for at least a week (you can use the same mix of litter/soda that you had, just pour it out, put the book back in, and re-sprinkle the book. Try adding some newspaper crumples or even shred some in the paper shredder and see if you can sort of sprinkle them down between the pages too. That might help.

I believe I've heard, that if you can get them to stand and stay cooperatively, putting a bowl of some vinegar in the paper bag would work too. Not had courage enough to try that one :)

I would highly recommend that people strongly resist any fabric sheets or spraying the book with any odor eliminators. These have more of an oil base to hold the scent in, and it is almost impossible to get that out. And for someone like me that can absolutely not tolerate the smell on a book, I would be extremely mad at losing a book. I'd be able to do nothing with it but post it and hope someone takes it off my hands. I wouldn't be able to read it at all! We have to be very selective in the fabric sheets for our laundry as I'm sensitive to them. So few people get that "bright" idea and it spreads slowly because most people snap out a discouragement of the practice quickly, that I don't have an RC for it yet. But, one of these days I may have to add it. So far I've been vey lucky and only received one.

In my  opinion, if the book smells musty or old, let the receiver have the option of what method to use to clear it up. Who knows, they might be one of those people that revel in attic old smelly books! And here you stuck a fabric sheet in! I might not like smoke, but let me try my own mehtods of getting rid of it rather than being stuck with your fabric softner (or some have put the book in a bag with scented bar of soap, again, same results), you are covering up with a smell that can no longer be removed!

One other thing, Ingrid, you started your post out with a statement that I strongly disagree with half of:

"I believe that there is general agreement, that you should warn people your books were exposed to smoking before you send them"

In no way, shape or form, am I required to let the sender know that the book smells like smoke (which mine don't but if they did, I would be under absolutely no requirement to PM the requester. It is totally up to the requester to make sure they don't get smokey books (or other odors if they want to be serious about them. But no way is it the sender's responsibility. I hope you understand that this is not a community general agreement as you indicated. Many others believe in the responsibility belonging to the requestor also. That's why we have Requestor Conditions, not Sender Notations.  :)

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 4:45 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,749
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no new ideas, but results from the ones i have tried..

(1) A dryer sheet put in the book.

oh man, that one is the worst.  i tried that once, and only once, and ended up with a doubly stinky book that even months later still smelled of both the dryer sheet and cigarette smoke.  (it was a *really* badly smoky book.)  even without allergies, that's pretty unpleasant.  i had to wait until i had a severe cold to read the book.

(2) Leaving the book in the sun.

i tried this one on my back deck with several books, and though it did get the smell out i ended up with a lot of wavy pages.

(4) Putting the book in a container with baking soda.

this is the one that works for me, though it can take months if the book is bad.  i just put the book and a box of baking soda (the 'fridge' kind, where you can peel off the sides of the boxes for more exposure) in a ziploc bag and fan the book open, and then move the book(s) around every so often.

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 5:08 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
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I use a black plastic bag, baking soda boxes. and a sunny spot.  The black plastic bag will heat up in the sun.  Part of the idea is to dry out the book, with something to absorb the moisture and odors.   I'll shake up the fridge boxes of baking soda after a day or two so they will keep absorbing. 

I have also used a dark box with baking soda under neath a cookie cooling rack.  Those metal grids to cool baked goods one?  I use an old rusty one just for my books.  Gets air under as well.

I really hate the dryer sheets.  Instant headache for me.  Really hard to get it out of books.  I'll try with most smokey books.  I just get rid of the dryer sheet books.

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 8:41 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2007
Posts: 9,493
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I believe that there is general agreement, that you should warn people your books were exposed to smoking before you send them-this is incorrect.

In no way, shape or form, am I required to let the sender know that the book smells like smoke (which mine don't but if they did, I would be under absolutely no requirement to PM the requester. It is totally up to the requester to make sure they don't get smokey books (or other odors if they want to be serious about them. But no way is it the sender's responsibility. I hope you understand that this is not a community general agreement as you indicated. Many others believe in the responsibility belonging to the requestor also. - this IS correct.

dont get me wrong Ingrid-My main RC is no smoky books and ive been declined for it. The one person who did ignore the RC actually thought she could hide the smell with a dryer sheet--NOT. Then she tried to deny it had been exposed to smoke!!! but I did get my credit back with a nasty PM.

Tina D. (tinad) - ,
Date Posted: 2/13/2010 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 4/8/2009
Posts: 350
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I had received a  book once that smelled so bad I could smell it before I opened the package (I don't have an RC because normally it's not that big of a deal).  I tried the dryer sheet thing and even tho I use the ones with very little smell, that seemed to make it worse. I ended up sticking it on a shelf in a little used closet since I had plenty of reading material. 

Well, I discovered it a few weeks ago (it sat on the shelf probably 3 months), picked it up and the smell was gone!  I couldn't believe it considering the way it had smelled when I received it.  So sometimes doing nothing seems to take care of the problem - at least it did in this case.

 

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 10:22 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2010
Posts: 400
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So far, knock on wood, I haven't had to deal with that.

I have an RC for smoking, due to allergies.  But my daughter has given me books after she reads them and some from her friends.

With my daughter, I am thankful that she refuses to smoke inside her home or anyone else.  No matter the weather she smokes outside.  She doesn't smoke often (she says) but I know she wouldn't, no matter what, smoke inside, she knows how it affects her brother and me. So, she considers guests in her home.

As for receiving a book with a smoky smell, one of her friends has given me a book that so far only has a slight smell.  If one does stink, depending on how strong the smell is, then what I think I am going to is a combination of all.  Get a cookie sheet-- line it with paper to protect the pan, and pour some cat litter on it.  Place over top of the litter my cooler rack, open book so pages are spread out, and then place a box over top.  Every day I will renew the litter and flip the book over and respread it.  If really bad, I guess I would put some baking soda also in the box.

 If it so bad my son and I start coughing it will just have to go into the trash.  One sent to me I will do the RWAP (I think I have that right), ask for credit and trash the book.

I know that technically we don't have to let the requestor know, but if smells really bad, I  would think it would be nice to let the requestor know, right?  Just curious. 

Still new here, so learning the ins and outs of must and shoulds here.

Janette 

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 11:25 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,442
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I've used dryer sheets before.  The unscented ones though.  I can't take the stinky ones.  I think that did work somewhat although I eventually switched to baking soda and a ziplock bag.

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 11:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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As Sherry mentioned, the sender does NOT have to warn you before sending that they smoke or are sending smoky books....but then again, if you have your "no books from a smoking environment" RC in place, that would not be necessary anyway as they should decline the request if they do.

This is going to sound weird, but I have yet to receive a smoky smelling book. 1480+ books received over the 4 1/2 years I've been a member, and none that reeked. Granted, my nose is not the greatest, due to frequent sinus infections, but smoke is one thing I'm pretty sensitive to. Whenever I visit family or friends who smoke, my clothes smell like I've been sitting at a bar or something...so I know I *can* smell smoky smells, but I keep sniffing each book as they come in, and though I have no RC, I've never gotten one that I smelled smoke on.

Knocking loudly on wood,

Cheryl

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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I hesitate to comment, because I've yet to find anything that works.  But  can say, the (scented) dryer sheets are a total bust and only add another layer of scent when most often this RC is from people with a scent issue.

I've left strongly smokey books in a zip lock with kitty litter for weeks, and only part of the odor was removed.  I've been told to try again and change the litter after awhile (haven't yet).

Unless the requester has an odor/smoking RC, it is not necessary for senders to pm.  It's considered unnecessary (per site rules) and frivilous, and some members would undoubtedly get cranky about receiving unwanted and unnecessary pm's.

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 1:05 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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(2) Leaving the book in the sun.

i tried this one on my back deck with several books, and though it did get the smell out i ended up with a lot of wavy pages.

If you try this method with a book, you have to remember to bring the book inside for the night.  The dampness of night is probably what made the pages wavy.

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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Unless the requester has an odor/smoking RC, it is not necessary for senders to pm.  It's considered unnecessary (per site rules) and frivilous, and some members would undoubtedly get cranky about receiving unwanted and unnecessary pm's.

I'm not sure many members here would consider a PM telling them that the book they will be receiving comes from a smoker's household and will probably smell like smoke to be an unwanted and unnecessary pm.  I wouldl consider it to be a courteous and respectful PM and appreciate getting it.

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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I've only received one smoky smelling book so far (it really reeked) and like Tina I didn't do anything but set in on a separate shelf away from my other books.  When I went back to it a couple of months later it was much better.

If I get another one, I'll probably try the baking soda trick.

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 1:18 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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This is going to sound weird, but I have yet to receive a smoky smelling book

Same here! The only time I've received smoky books is when ordering from Ebay of Half.com (and those were textbooks).

If it's summer I open a window and set the book on the ledge (for 2 or 3 afternoons usually). That has always taken care of it for me.

In winter I use dryer sheets since I don't have any problems with those scents.

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 2:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Activated charcoal, which you can buy in tablets from Walgreens, or get by the carton from a pet store.  or I once bought about a dozen packages of charcoal insoles from Big Lots (a drug store buyout) for $1 each, and then unwrapped them all & put them in a bin which I put all of my incoming used books in for about a week before shelving them.  You can also get Ever Clean Everfresh cat litter with activated charcoal in it, and put that in the bottom of a bag or bin, stack your books on top & seal it for several days, and they should come out odor free.

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/16/2008
Posts: 7
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Really great suggestions, everyone! Thank you, your creativity is appreciated.

As for SHERRY, I am going to reply to her in private. What she said was correct, because kindness and consideration are NOT requirements of this site. And she made me angry. And as I am a kind and considerate person, what I have to say to her is not necessary to broadcast in the public realm of this forum.

Date Posted: 2/13/2010 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
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In no way, shape or form, am I required to let the sender know that the book smells like smoke (which mine don't but if they did, I would be under absolutely no requirement to PM the requester. It is totally up to the requester to make sure they don't get smokey books (or other odors if they want to be serious about them. But no way is it the sender's responsibility. I hope you understand that this is not a community general agreement as you indicated. Many others believe in the responsibility belonging to the requestor also. That's why we have Requestor Conditions, not Sender Notations.

I agree with Sherry's statement 110%.  As long as my book meets PBS standards and does not violate an RC then there is absolutely no reason for me to contact the requestor via a PM.  Those individuals who do this are starting a precedent that is setting the rest of us up for problems if we don't send a PM for every little thing...ie:  smoke smell, 1/4 inch tear, being around dogs, etc etc.  The guidelines set out times we are to send a PM...cookbooks (I think) and definitely with textbooks and underlining. 



Last Edited on: 2/13/10 8:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/14/2010 3:21 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,749
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(2) Leaving the book in the sun.

i tried this one on my back deck with several books, and though it did get the smell out i ended up with a lot of wavy pages.

If you try this method with a book, you have to remember to bring the book inside for the night.  The dampness of night is probably what made the pages wavy.

i did only do this on nice dry days and bring them in before dark.  just being in the hot sun for the afternoon got the pages wavy.

Date Posted: 2/14/2010 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2005
Posts: 1,075
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Sherry is 100% correct.

Date Posted: 2/14/2010 12:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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Christy Princess65: "Those individuals who do this are starting a precedent that is setting the rest of us up for problems if we don't send a PM for every little thing"

Exactly my point, Christy, thank you for making it more clear. The rules for books are so clear-cut, black and white, that anyone who feels the need to send a PM is causing others to think that they are supposed to be doing so also, and pretty soon, we are getting yelled at because we simply follow PBS guidelines which state that there is no reason to send a PM if your books meet their requirements.

Ingrid, I'm sorry you feel that my post was meant to be derogatory to you, it was not. It's simply a statement of fact, that in no way are we remotely expected to send PMs about flaws in the books that are within the PBS guidelines. And by doing so, you are encouraging a misconcept that PMs are required and a part of how PBS works, which, it isn't. And if you don't like that I don't find this a necessary courtesy, that is your problem, not mine. You are entitled to your opinion, and I'm entitled to disagree with it. But, as you can see by the replies that agree with me and disagree with you, it is NOT a general agreement so don't go mis-quoting the majority that haven't made that general agreement.

Date Posted: 2/14/2010 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,182
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I use unscented dryer sheets or just let them air out in my garage. Both have worked fine for me. 

Like another poster on here I got one that I could smell right through the package! lol I was kind of amazed at that! 

As for the PMs, this isn't  a "my side" versus "your side" thing, nor is it a "politeness" thing. It's the rules, bottom line. I don't have an RC for smokey books and I also do NOT expect a PM from someone who smokes.

Likewise, I don't expect a PM for all the little flaws of a book when it still meets PBS guidelines. I had one person send me a simple e-mail after receiving a WL book I sent, "It's a library book." I sent her a PM back and said, "Yes, they are allowed." I suggest an RC if she didn't want ex-library books. Just for the sake of it, I looked at her WL and she'd put the same book back on her WL. To me, that was weird cuz this book was in impeccable condition.  

The communication is the RC -- not a PM. If you want something, or don't want something, the place to communicate is the RC not a PM. 

Date Posted: 2/14/2010 1:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
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I just have to add.  The RC is NOT the place to vent.  This is.  Or the little comment box on the survey. 

Having a RC that vents about a past trade is a real turn off.  Makes folks hesitate to send books.  Seen way too many RCs that rant about other swaps.

Subject: Smokey Books
Date Posted: 2/14/2010 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 1,138
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I don't smoke nor am i thrilled to recieve a stinky,smokey book....but this is a used site. If you want new go to Border's. I'm happy to get books from my wl. If they smell smokey,i put them in the garage & let them air out.

I will not accept any RC conditions other than non-smoking cause i've found people who put alot of RC's usually will find a complaint about something else.Again,that's my choice.

Date Posted: 2/14/2010 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 5,571
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I've put in my book shelf header that "I have a smoker and Cats" in my home.  hopefully They see it and then decide if they want to order from me. That said  , I've never gotten a complaint about stinkey books.

I also turn down people with a smoking R.C. , although one gal  that had one still wanted my book deal and said it was okay...