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Topic: Recieved a book with a strong perfume scent - What to do??

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Subject: Recieved a book with a strong perfume scent - What to do??
Date Posted: 12/31/2010 2:55 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 1,996
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I have an RC that says that I will not accept books that are from smoking homes, nor will I accept books that are not wrapped in plastic.  Today, I recieved a book that meets my RC; however, it smells like it has been soaked in a strong ladies' perfume.  Two minutes out of the envelope, and I already have a headache from the smell of this book.  I can't recycle this envelope because the scent of perfume is INSIDE the envelope.  I don't want to pass on the smell of cigarettes, that's why I have my RC, but I have never recieved a book with perfume on it and haven't found a topic on the boards that addresses this topic, and I don't want to pass on this smell of perfume on to anyone either.

Any suggestions on an RWAP (if possible) and how to get rid of this stench.

Laura M. (LMM) - ,
Date Posted: 12/31/2010 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/12/2005
Posts: 524
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I don't think it is RWAP as it did not violate your RC or the posting guidelines.  I would place it outside to air out for a few days and consider changing your RCs to "no strong scents" if you think it necessary.  Some people are known to put dryer sheets in with their books to keep them from getting musty, but often it can backfire in this way.

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
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I hate to be the paranoid one, but I would suspect that it had been from a smoking home and they tried to cover it up.  Unfortunately, what I would do under your circumstance is post asking for help in the forums.

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2006
Posts: 1,619
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Put it out in the garage or laundry room to air out.  If it still bothers you too much to read it, then just repost it and order another copy.  Not everybody is sensitive to odors.

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
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Smell is not against any rules so there would be no RWAP cause. I also suspect it is meant to cover up smoke smell, but since you don't smell smoke it doesn't violate your RCs. try to air it out or pass it along if you can't read it.

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 4:03 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 1,996
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Laura - I rewrote my RC to say that I am sensitive to strong smells like perfume and smoke.  I just don't want to pass on those smells to other people who may have them.  I think I really may have a perfume allergy because on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I was around my female family members who were wearing strong perfume, and I got hit with a migraine both days. 

Chris and Melanie - I think it might be a cover-up as well, but the pages don't have a smokey smell and there doesn't seem to be any indication that any liquid was sprayed on the book. 

Alisa - I can't just post and re-order another book because this book was a WL book and I'd been on the waiting list for months.  If I tried to order another book I'd go back at the very end of the line, unless I RWAPed, but that's not an option.

I think I'll let the book stay outside for a day or two to help air it out.  If that doesn't help, I may just have to read it outside in the fresh air, and hope that the next wisher isn't sensitive to perfume.

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 460
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Another tip - place it in a covered box or sealed trash bag with wadded up newspaper for a few days.   The newspaper may absorb much of the smell and you can pitch the newspaper in the trash...

Mary in KY

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,984
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I've stuck my smelly books in a rubbermade container with baking soda in it and that seems to help sometimes.  I stick a cooling rack in the bottom so the book can sit on that rather than the baking soda. 

My friend swears by doing the same thing only with unscented cat litter.  Hope you find something that works for you!

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 9:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,484
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I use those refrigerator baking soda boxes.  I'll put the book with baking soda in a place that gets warm, such as inside a black plastic bag in the sun. 

That said, some books I have to toss out as the perfume is too strong for me to read.  Can't have them inside the house.

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 9:52 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 1,996
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Alisa and Emily - I've had the book outside since this afternoon and the odor isn't as bad as it was earlier.  I'm going to leave it outside overnight (I've got some plastic over it so it doesn't get wet) and hopefully, the smell will be tolerable.

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 1:58 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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I've also had success with the baking soda technique.  Sometimes it takes a while to get rid of a bad smell, but if the book is hard to find it's definitely worth a try.  Nothing to lose at this point!

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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I actually combine the newspaer and baking soda tricks.  I put baking soda in the bottom of a brown paper bag and fill it with wdded up newspaer, put in the book and the newspaer on top before closing the bag.  A few days in this set up has taken the smell out of books that literally reeked like ashtrays.

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Instead of newspaper and baking soda, I usually use tea bags as the odor-absorbing agent. There's less chance of a powderly mess or ink from the newspapers rubbing off on the book. 

I place the book and 2 tea bags in a plastic bag, tightly knotted.

I usually forget about the book for a while (3 weeks or so), so I can't say how long it really needs to work.

BTW, I have a horrible sense of smell, so if I am doing this the odor is quite strong. I ask my mom (who has an very keen sense of smell) to see if the odor has gone away. It almost always has.

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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It's good that you changed your RC--I don't smoke but I do burn scented candles and also make scented handmade soaps, and some of my books are in the room where my soap cures--I have had people tell me in the past that my books "smell nice" (they obviously didn't have scent allergies!) so I always refuse RCs that mention perfume or 'scents.' If I were sending a book to you and it just said 'not in a smoking home' I would have gone ahead and sent the book much like the person you got the book from, I suspect.

There are some people who wear a LOT of perfume, and if the books are stored in their bedroom or wherever they're spraying the perfume, it's entirely possible the book just absorbed the scent over time and smells really strong to you--if the person always wears a lot of scent, they may not even notice it, much the way I don't notice the scent in my apartment from the curing soap.


Date Posted: 1/1/2011 6:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,484
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The drier a book is, the less likely it is to smell.  Drying too fast will hurt the glue.  So the goal is to put an odor absorbing material in with the book as you slowly dry it out.  Newspapers, charcoal filters, baking soda, tea, and zeolite all help.  It is a balance of how patient you are, what the smell is, what you can afford, and how dry the book gets.

Extreme hot or extreme cold do dry books out.  The risk is possibly damaging the binding.

If someone uses a dryer sheet, I'll never be able to read the book.  Ever.  Can't seem to get those chemicals out.