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Topic: How do you get smoke smell out?

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Subject: How do you get smoke smell out?
Date Posted: 2/12/2009 9:41 AM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 182
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I made a boo boo and did not check the box for my RC's on a box of books. The book I received, the packaging, etc, smelled so much like smoke I had to take it out to the garage to even open it. I left it in the garage for a month to air out. I even sprayed it with fabrize. Can anyone give me advice on how to rid the book of the smell? I cannot read it, and I don't feel like I should post it since it smells so bad. HELP!!!


Date Posted: 2/12/2009 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,175
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Oh darn, I was going to suggest the Febreeze. I have a box of 3 books coming from a smoker (which I said OK to because I really wanted the deal and she seems like a very nice person!). I planned on airing them out and Febreezing them if need be. I also planned to rub them with a dryer sheet. I never thought those actions wouldn't help. Maybe someone else can suggest something. The air sprays from Bath & Body Works (room scenters) are really strong, maybe that??

Date Posted: 2/12/2009 10:04 AM ET
Member Since: 5/6/2008
Posts: 5,310
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I was told to put them in a box or drawer or something with clean, (I know, that goes without saying) clay kitty litter.

Date Posted: 2/12/2009 10:13 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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A few suggestions

Book with TERRIBLE smoke smell HELP!

Smoke smell in books

Best way to get smoke out of a book?

How do you get the smoke smell out of books?

Last Edited on: 2/12/09 10:14 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: smell
Date Posted: 2/12/2009 11:09 AM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 182
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thanks for all the great suggestions, I will run home to put the book in a bag of crumpled up newspapers. Sounds like something that wouldn't work but does! I was going to try the dryer sheets next. I had even thought of putting the book in a box next to a bowl of vinegar. But then, how do you get the vinegar smell out? I knew someone would have an idea. This book is so bad, you can smell it across the room. There is no way I could ever have read it.

Date Posted: 2/12/2009 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 387
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I seal them up in a plastic bin or bag with a huge amount of baking soda (which I buy in bags at Costco) and leave them there for a good long while.

Date Posted: 2/12/2009 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Both the baking powder and the newspaper work.  For the baking paowder to be effective the book doesn't have to be sumberged in it, just in an air-tight container.  Also - weird as it may sound, palcing books in an air-tight container with (clean!) kitty litter works, too.  Fabreze and dryer sheets are potential allergens so they might not be the ideal choice for traded books.

Date Posted: 2/12/2009 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 5,751
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1. Hang the book on the clothesline. Take a couple front and back pages and clip them on the line with the squeeze type clothes pins. Switch to different parts of the book to let the air into all parts. Hang them in the shade to prevent bleaching.
Let them hang a few days in the day time only.

Place the books (or other items) in a plastic tum with sealing lid, sprinkle any one of the following into the bottom of the tub and place the open book on a rack above. leave for a few days.
    **Baking soda 1 cup         **3 cups of cat litter.  **Charcoal bricks- not the easy light ones      **Put vinegar on white bread into bowl                            **1 cup old coffee grounds                                                                                   

Cedar chips. You can buy these from your local feed or pet store. Place the book in a large zip-loc back together with a couple handfuls of the cedar chips. It removes the smell of cigarettes, mold and mildew and the cedar smells really good, too.

You could also try spraying the inside of a tub with OZIUM spray and then placing the open book on a rack inside quickly and sealing.  Good Luck!!

The Tyler Library did an experiment on different methods and this was their experience.

The Taylor Public Library gets a lot of very good donations from a local cigar enthusiast.  His wife kicks him out of the house and he smokes back in his air conditioned shed, while reading some really popular books.  When he’s done, his wife donates them to us.  Of course, the books are all saturated with cigar smoke.  We try just airing them out somewhere, without a lot of luck.  Staff had already tried baking soda, with no good results. 

So, last week, we conducted an experiment with the cigar-y books, based on some recommendations in list servs & other sources:

  1. Put the book in the freezer.  We popped the book into a baggie and then placed it in the staff freezer at City Hall.  After a few days, we took it out.  The smell was miraculously gone!  Until the book warmed up, that is.  Once it warmed up, it smelled just as cigar-y as before.  I have seen recommendations that putting a book in the freezer will remove musty smells, but it simply cannot handle the strong cigar odors.
  2.  Put dryer sheets in the book.  So, we put about 4 nicely scented dryer sheets in the book and sealed it in a large baggie.  After a week, we pulled out the dryer sheets and took a whiff.  There was not a lot of noticeable improvement—it was still terribly cigar-y. 
  3. Kitty litter—this is the winner.  We put about ½ cup or so of kitty litter (generic store-brand because my cat doesn’t really care) in a large baggie and put the book in.  We sealed the baggie, shook the kitty litter around the book, and let it sit for about a week.  We then took it out and were truly amazed.  It hardly had any smell left—only if you stuck your nose right into the spine of the book.  It was so much better than the other techniques.  Sure, the kitty litter left the books a bit dusty and there were granules of litter in the book, but with some good shaking and wiping, no one will be the wiser.  Marinating in kitty litter proved to be our solution for cigar-y books.

 I personally can't imagine how they get the cat litter dust out of the book. I would try the rack in a box method first.

Last Edited on: 2/12/09 6:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/12/2009 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Thanks for all the good info.  I purchased a book used at Amazon, and it arrived with a strong smoke odor.  Didn't think I'd need RC at Ami!

Date Posted: 2/12/2009 2:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,175
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I don't think you can have RCs at Amazon anyway. As far as I know, PBS is the only one that permits it (and I am glad they do!)

Date Posted: 2/12/2009 2:55 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 285
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I definitely suggest the newspaper trick also.  I've received a couple of orders that smelled like smoke, so I put them in a garbage bag with crumpled newspaper and the smell was gone soon.  Works great!

Subject: update on smoke
Date Posted: 2/15/2009 6:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 182
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Well, the book has been in a large plastic bag with newspapers for several days now, I took it out today to check on it, and it is better but not yet gone. Since I have no kitty's I am trying to delay the purchase of kitty litter, but that may be my best bet. Since I broke down and ordered another copy of the book, non-smoking variety, I have time to let this one sit for a while before re-listing. I could not send this to anyone like it smells!!!


Date Posted: 2/15/2009 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Cat litter deordorizer is good stuff too, and you can still use it in a ziploc bag or sealable container.  It's basically baking soda base anyway, with some other scented stuff mixed in.  You can sit books right on top of it; it's not going to stain or discolor them or anything.  All you need to do is fan the pages really well over a trash can before mailing, to make sure there's not any still in between pages.  I still think this is what was in with the book posted about here recently with some sort of powder substance in the packaging with it.  I know the policemen who came out said detergent, but I have some in a generic store brand, and it smells just like powdered detergent.

Last Edited on: 2/15/09 7:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/16/2009 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,916
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Cat litter works great.

But, please don't put the books directly in the cat litter. I know I wouldn't want to receive any books like that.

You can put a layer of cat litter in the bottom of a tupperware or rubbermaid container wth a cover (that will fit the books without bending) and then use a baking rack or even a paper plate - just lay it on top of the litter and then put the books on top of that and seal it up. The smell will still be absorbed without the books getting dirty or dusty.

Kitty litter is also great if your fridge has a weird smell -- you can put some in a bowl or small plate and stick it in the fridge. I think its better than baking soda. 

Last Edited on: 2/16/09 6:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1