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Topic: Any suggestions for airing out

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Subject: Any suggestions for airing out
Date Posted: 6/23/2008 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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a book that came from a very smoky home?  I usually do not bother to put RC about cigarette smoking and books, but this one must have been in the ashtray with the cigarettes.  Not real sure how to go about making it possible to keep it near enough to read!  Looking for suggestions.  Help!

Ruth

Date Posted: 6/23/2008 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2008
Posts: 428
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Take a large ziplock back and 4-5 dryer sheets. Put the dryer sheets inside the book at various intervals.

You could also try some of those inserts that you put into shoes to keep them from smelling. The active ingredient in those is charcoal which will absorb the smell.

 

 

Date Posted: 6/23/2008 7:39 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,414
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I've heard of people leaving the book outside on a sunny day with the pages fanned out a bit to let the smell dissapate.

Otherwise, the dryer sheets in a ziplock bag is good too.  Baking soda would also absorb the odor if you've got a big enough container to put the baking soda and the book in without getting the baking soda on the book.

Date Posted: 6/23/2008 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2005
Posts: 333
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Use care with dryer sheets.  The smell they leave behind is almost impossble to get rid of.  Many people are sensitive to the chemicals in them.

Instead try fresh air and sunshine.  Or place the book in a large zip top bag or plastic container with some unsented clay kitty litter or a piece of news paper.  Both will help absorb the smoke smell without covering it up with a heavy artificial scent.

Date Posted: 6/23/2008 8:34 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2008
Posts: 91
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My vote is for the newspaper. I would not use dryer sheets because it's as bad as having a smoky book. Plus, they leave behind residue that the next person (if you're planning to post it after you read it) may be allergic to. It's just better to err on the side of caution when it comes to scents.

Date Posted: 6/23/2008 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 201
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Baking soda really does work well.  I use a rectangular plastic container.  Just fill the bottom with baking soda, put a metal trivet on top of the baking soda, and lay the book on that.  It can take a week or so to get rid of the odor but, for those of use without cats, works as well as the kitty litter (just in case you have also resigned yourself to a cat-free existence for the sake of your allergic husband--sigh).

Date Posted: 6/23/2008 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Mr. Handyperson, which is sort of the home-repair version of Dear Abby, had a column on this a couple of weeks ago.  He says:  http://www.uexpress.com/mrhandyperson/?uc_full_date=20080608

"For the musty books, there are commercial restoration services that specialize in water-damaged documents, books and other items, and one of them can surely help you for a price.



However, if you are in no great hurry, Mr. HP has a technique he has used to get the musty odor out of old books (as well as dresser drawers, older hard-case suitcases and trunks). In fact, if you have an old suitcase that could also use some freshening, you can kill two birds with one stone (to use a rather ugly phrase). If not, you'll need a small, sturdy cardboard box that closes tightly, or perhaps a plastic storage container of some kind.



Line the bottom of the container with crumpled newspaper (only black and white newsprint -- not the glossy, color advertising pages). Liberally sprinkle about a half-box of baking soda over the papers, put the books in (open with the pages up if you can do this without stacking them or damaging the bindings), cover with more crumpled newspaper and the rest of the baking soda, close the box or container tightly, and leave it in a dry place for a few weeks. Then, check the books, flip through the pages to air them, and if there is still a musty odor, put them right back in and leave them alone for another few weeks or a month before checking them again.



If the odor persists, remove and replace the newspaper and baking soda with fresh amounts. This is not an instant solution -- in some cases it might take months -- but it is certainly simple and inexpensive. Mr. HP has a nice collection of old suitcases, old books, old furniture and old trunks that no longer smell musty after he used this slow but eventually effective solution."

As others have stated, some members are very allergic to the scents left behind by dryer sheets, so I'd try everything else first, if possible.

Cheers,
Catt



Last Edited on: 6/24/08 8:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 6/23/2008 11:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 2,039
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Dryer sheets just add to the problem, in my experience!

In a ziploc baggy, I put the book in with scrunched up newspaper.  A day or so later, I mist the book with fabreeze while fanning the pages (if you mist there is no water damage) then back in the baggie for another day or so.  Take it out, leave it in the garage or outside and it will be good as new!

I've become a pro at de-smoking books!

Date Posted: 6/24/2008 12:37 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Thank you all for the great suggestions.  I'm going to try one or all  except for the dryer sheets.  I don't have any anyway.  No kitty litter either.  Guess I'll start with the baking soda.  Then I'll go buy the shoe inserts.  This may come up again.

Thanks everyone!

Ruth

Date Posted: 6/24/2008 8:41 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2008
Posts: 515
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Thanks for the advice; I'm having the same problem. I tried tea bags, but they didn't work very well; I guess I'm going to try baking soda next.

Karen B. - ,
Subject: Activated Charcoal
Date Posted: 6/25/2008 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2007
Posts: 32
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Activated charcoal, the kind you buy at a pet store for fish tank filters, works miracles when you need to remove a musty odor from something, and I'm sure it would also work for smoke odors.  Back in my boating days,when EVERYTHING used to be moldy and stinky, I used a plastic storage bin with a generous layer of activated charcoal in the bottom (reused the same charcoal for years).  I placed the smelly items inside and sealed it up for a week or so.  Fabric, books, leather all freshened up over time.  Books were the most difficult, however, unless I was able to fan them open.

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 10:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 8
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Almost worse than smoke smell was a package i opened up that I swear the person poured a gallon of perfume on or sprayed a whole can of lysol spray on!  I think they might have been trying to mask some other type of smell.  It almost gagged me when I opened the package up!

Date Posted: 6/27/2008 9:15 AM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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Ruth, the baking soda does work, but if it's a really smoky book it may take a while.  Be patient, and you will be able to read that book eventually!

When I used baking soda, I put the book in a large ziplock and I put the baking soda in a small open plastic sandwich baggie, inside the ziplock with the book.  Then I put it in a place where it would not be disturbed, so that the baking soda wouldn't shake out of the baggie and get into the book.  It worked fine.

Subject: smelly books
Date Posted: 7/22/2008 10:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2008
Posts: 1
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I AM HAVING THE SAME PROBLEM.  I FOUND THAT A DRYER SHEET IN THE PAGES (OR TWO IN DIFFERENT PLACES IF A THICK BOOK) PUT IN A PLASTIC GROCERY BAG FOR A MONTH OR SO DID  REMOVE THE ODORS FROM TWO OUT OF FIVE BOOKS. I HAVE AN UNTRIED, THUS FAR, IDEA  THAT THE AGE OF THE BOOK WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE. OLDER ONES MIGHT NOT WORK. I PLAN TO TRY THAT IDEA SOON.

SOMEBODY SAID THAT KITTY LITTER IN A TIGHTLY SEALED PLASTIC CONTAINER MIGHT DO THE TRICK.  PUT A LAYER OF LITTER IN THE BOTTOM COVER WITH A SHEET OF NEWSPAPER, THEN PUT IN THE BOOKS, ONE LAYER, AND SEAL TIGHT. i DON'T KNOW HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE, BUT I'M GONNA TRY IT WITH FELINE PINE. THAT SOUNDS THE MOST LIKELY ONE. AND IT SHOULD LEAVE THE BOOKS SMELLING GOOD.

GOOD LUCK,

IRMA K

Date Posted: 7/23/2008 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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Good suggestions! I just got one that smells like cinnamon spice room freshener. It's pretty strong!

Date Posted: 7/23/2008 4:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Thanks again for more great ideas.  I can always use them!  ;D

Ruth

Date Posted: 7/23/2008 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Heh - a friend of mine said she uses two Odor Eaters in a gallon sized ziploc bag.  I thought it was funny, but apparently it works.  I guess something designed to eat foot odor probably would be good.  I bought a covered bin like you'd use to store vegetables, and it has a hinged door on the front.  I loaded it up with my own mix - a bag of crystal cat litter, a small bag of Fresh Step deodorizing cat litter (multiple cats formula:P) a quarter cup of Pet Fresh carpet & room deodorizer (it's strong so I use it sparingly), and a small box of baking soda.  I mix it all together in the storage bin, put my books in an open weave basket, and sit them right on top of the mix.  I leave them in there for about a week, and everything seems to come out smelling nice.  I also use essential oils in my storage spaces too.  I just soak a cotton ball with Sandalwood oil and put it in my storage drawers - where it won't touch the books, of course.  It doesn't really impart any fragrance to the books; it's not meant to.  But the storage spaces in general just smell nice & fresh, and I'm sure the books pick up a little of it that noses more sensitive than mine can detect.

Date Posted: 7/24/2008 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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I was going to make Karen B's suggestion, the charcoal in a ziploc or container---if you don't want to track down the activated charcoal, I use regular BBQ charcoal briquettes--just be sure to get the plain old kind that need lighter fluid, not the instant light kind.  Those will absorb anything. I wouldn't try to cover the smell with any other scent or Febreez or anything--just keep changing the charcoal, maybe once a week, til the smoky smell is gone.