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Topic: Smoke Odor

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Subject: Smoke Odor
Date Posted: 10/14/2007 11:20 PM ET
Member Since: 9/28/2007
Posts: 14
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Here's an interesting discovery.  I have, as part of my conditions, the statement that I do not accept books that have the odor of tobacco.  Well, I received a book the other day that, despite my conditions, was clearly from the hands of a smoker.  It reeked.  Just by luck, I happened to have a basket of laundry that needed to be folded and there was a spent dryer sheet in the basket.  On a whim, I picked it up, tore it into a few pieces and put it in random pages of the book.  Then, I thought I could keep the dryer sheet scent in by putting the whole book in a plastic bag.  IT WORKED!  Two days later, I opened up the bag and the book smells heavenly. You can't even discern the odor of smoke.  So...for those who DO smoke, you may want to stick some dryer sheets in the books as you mail them.  Being in an envelope with dryer sheets may diminish (or eliminate) the odor by the time it gets to the requester.  Of course, I would suggest that you do a trial run with someone who doesn't have a smoke condition, but... it really did wonders on the book I received.  Just thought I'd share...

Date Posted: 10/14/2007 11:21 PM ET
Member Since: 9/28/2007
Posts: 14
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Never mind...I see that it's already been suggested.  SORRY!

Date Posted: 10/14/2007 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Last Edited on: 2/6/10 11:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/15/2007 1:30 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
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Well now there's a condition that might make me blink and read twice - "please, no dryer sheet encased books." :)

Date Posted: 10/15/2007 2:52 AM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2007
Posts: 831
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This works to take the smell out of books and magazines:  If you have an older style gas oven with a pilot light, put the books in there when you're not using the oven.  The warmth drives off the volatiles that create the odor and the pilot light incinerates them...Just be sure to take them out before you turn the oven on!

Last Edited on: 10/15/07 2:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/15/2007 5:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2007
Posts: 6,447
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I've done the dryer sheet on musty books that I have gotten from yard sales and it works great! I just put the dryersheet and the book in a baggie and let it sit for a  couple of days. I havne't mailed a book with a dryer sheet in it tho.

The oven idea is interesting but I wouldn't dare do it. When I was working for someone she put an easter basket in the oven in my apartment. 1st thing I did at lunch time was turn on the broiler to make a grilled cheese.<G> Oops!

Date Posted: 10/15/2007 6:16 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Last Edited on: 2/6/10 11:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/15/2007 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,234
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Smokers PLEASE don't stick a dryer sheet in a book and then send it to someone with a no smoking condition. I am very surpised at all of the ways people say they can get rid of that smell from a book on this site. My personal experience is that it is near impossible to get that smell out of a book, it gets into the pages and trapped. I received boxes of books from a friend when she moved, I think it took about 5 years for me to not smell the books when I walked by them. I am perfectly fine with someone mailing a book they don't know the history of and can't smell anything on, but a book that is currently exposed to smoke will not be improved so quickly.

Date Posted: 10/16/2007 12:37 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2006
Posts: 37
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I just got a book today, against my condtions, that not only reeked of smoke, but of funky, flowery dryer sheet. Stunk up my whole van because I made the mistake of picking up my mail on the way to the grocery store. GAG!

Date Posted: 10/16/2007 3:00 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 2,549
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Please please do not send a book with a perfumed dryer sheet enclosed.  In addition to being excessively sensitive to smoke (to the point that I cannot enjoy a roaring fireplace or a marshmallow toasting bonfire) I am also sensitive to perfume.  Perfumes also tend to mask the offending odor, instead of eliminating it.

When my neighbors do their laundry, I make myself scarce.  (That's how sensitive I am to it).   There are scents that I can be near, but anything I buy goes through the sniff test.  [And I learned the hard way that my deodorant must be unscented... after I went around for a day being allergic to myself!]

Date Posted: 10/16/2007 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2006
Posts: 197
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Yeah, the dryer-sheet thing hasn't worked for me, either. The book just ends up smelling like smokey flowers. I haven't found anything that actually gets the smoke smell out of the books, though some methods reduce the smell a bit. Smoke is very tenacious and clings like mad to anything, especially wood and wood products--like paper.

Date Posted: 10/16/2007 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,817
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How about a NONscented dryer sheet?  Does that mess up your allergies too?   I am just curious.  Thanks!

Date Posted: 10/16/2007 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2007
Posts: 93
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I wouldnt put a dryer sheet in a book that I was mailing. I would be to worried that someone was allergic to it. Whenever I get a request for a book with conditions that books cant come from a smoking household or smell like smoke I refuse the request. I do not smoke in my house so I dont think my books smell like smoke but I just dont want to take any chances.

Date Posted: 10/17/2007 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 6/13/2007
Posts: 4,731
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Newspaper can help...cut up newspaper in as many pages as possible w/out driving yourself mad does seem to absorb the odors pretty well.

On the same note....I don't have any conditions on my acct.  But today I rec'd a book that smelled as if it spent it's life in an ashtray.  I would think the owner should have pointed that out before hand regardless.  Yes?  No?  I mean it's bad!!!  But then again, maybe b/c this person smokes, maybe they didn't even notice! 

Date Posted: 10/17/2007 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 1,691
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There are a variety of ways to get smells out other than those mentioned. 

Enclose the book in a plastic bag and dusting with baking soda (reuse the baking soda to keep your drains smelling good but don't use it to cook with)...

...or in another non-smelling container with a bowl of white vinegar...

...enclose in a plastic bag with cedar chips (buy it cheaply in the pet aisle)...

...in a container with the type of charcoal you would use to get the smell out of musty basements...

...or, my favorite, hang from your clothesline for a few sunny days.

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 4:18 AM ET
Member Since: 9/28/2007
Posts: 14
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You don't have to use a scented dryer sheet.  AND, if you take it out of the dryer, it doesn't have any of the oils or large molecular particles that would give someone an allergy.  There's no exchange of protein.  Sorry I made the suggestion.  I don't smoke and I didn't recommend that SMOKERS *do* this contrary to someone's conditions.  It was more of a "hey! If you smoke and the requester doesn't mind, this will still cut some of the odor." 


Date Posted: 10/18/2007 7:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 1,837
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I am very allergic to tobacco smoke, and also allergic to dryer sheets.  I sure hope that the smokers on PBS don't make a habit of trying this.  I don't want to receive books that a smoker has tried to cover up the smell of smoke in any way, shape or form.  I would think that others with smoke allergies would feel exactly the same.


Date Posted: 10/18/2007 7:50 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 11,062
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Please remember not all books that arrive reeking of smoke were SENT reeking of smoke. It only takes one mail driver on one part of the route the package takes to make the wrapping and the book reek to high heaven. Every book I get via PBS reeks of smoke by the time it gets to me, just because it spends 2 hours in an SUV with my chain-smoking mailman. I've learned to just open them up, toss the wrappers, and let the books air out on an open windowsill for a day or two.

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2007
Posts: 17,086
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Bren....What a nuisance!!

Date Posted: 10/21/2007 6:50 AM ET
Member Since: 9/28/2007
Posts: 14
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Thank you, Christian Reader.  You illustrated and expressed what I was trying to say better than I could.

I realize that people can be allergic, or have reactions, to smoke - I AM ONE OF THEM.  However, despite my conditions, in the first week of swapping here on PBS, I received a book that was clearly from a smoker.   So...I tried to make the best of it and shared what I did in the hopes that if someone found themselves in my position, they might have something to try.  Pardon me for trying to make the best of a bad situation.  If some had read my comments, they would've noted that I said I didn't think this should be done by smokers sending books when people specifically requested their books not have smoke odor...but, in the haste to make their point, they seem to have missed that part of my commentary. 

I just have to ask, though....because, having been burned (no pun intended) once and having a reaction:  If your allergies are so severe that getting a book with a dryer sheet or smoke smell would absolutely send you into anaphalaxys, why are you in a club that trades used books?  Like Christian Reader said - you can't control every stop the book makes between you and the sender.  There are about a million places where your book could be bagged next to something sent by a smoker.  Your mail delivery person might smoke.  The mail person, or sender, might toss a coat or other piece of clothing scented with a dryer sheet over the package to be delivered.  If you have severe allergies, you probably shouldn't risk it. 

Once again: I do not smoke.  I have smoke allergies.  I can't use scented dryer sheets, either.  I didn't say that smokers should violate  the TOS and send people who specifically request non-smoke books smokey books.  What I said was that this solution worked pretty well for me and that if SMOKERS were trading books with other people who didn't care, this might make the odor less offensive. 

Date Posted: 10/21/2007 8:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Last Edited on: 2/6/10 11:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/21/2007 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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Well, I think it's a good idea for books you recieve.  I'm not allergic to smoke, but I have a very sensitive nose.  I can often smell someone smoking in another car on the highway (and not just tobacco!) - with the car windows closed.  It just amazes my husband when we're driving along, and I wrinkle up my nose and start looking for the smoker.

I've only gotten a few smoky book before, and that was a batch from ebay.  I just enclosed them in an airtight plastic container with one of those kitty litter like odor eater bags.  Worked like a charm, but I think the used dryer sheet is probably easier.  I've certainly got plenty of those laying around - since my dog snatches them from the laundry to play with!

Date Posted: 10/21/2007 1:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2007
Posts: 109
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My husband is also highly allergic to dryer sheets, so I add my voice to the list that says please don't do this to books you send out. Even if the requester has no conditions (we don't and would rather deal with the occasional smokey book ourselves) 

If we get a smokey book, cat liter can work to remove some of the ordor, as do the carbon pre-filter from our air filter, and they don't leave any other smells behind.



 My son is also allergic to old paperback books (as crazy as that sounds) -- the ones that get really yellow and crumbly (mostly from the 60's and 70s)  So we don't keep that kind around, but read and pass on (or throw away of necessary)  But I could hardly make a condition saying no yellowed books!! We deal with it on our end.

Last Edited on: 10/21/07 1:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1