How to Eliminate Smoke Smell From Your eBay Sales or Purchases.
Having bought smoky items more times than I care to acknowledge, I decided to write a guide for handling this problem. Here are a few tried and true ways to get rid of that horrific odor.
"In order to eliminate smoke odors, one must first understand that smoke consists of approximately 4,000 different chemicals in both gaseous and particulate forms. Aside from the serious physical health affects, some of the chemicals act as bonding agents which cause the stench of smoke to adhere to hair, skin, clothes, furniture, walls, carpet, and literally anything that is nearby. The microscopic particles and chemical gasses created from smoke can not only be offensive to nonsmokers, but can cause illnesses; particularly to children, seniors, and those with breathing sensitivities." - from ad for an ionic breeze deionizer
How many times has it happened to you? You see the book, item of clothes, antique, or fabric that is perfect for you at auction. You can't believe it's real. The price is so great, shipping is reasonable, you read all the small print and think you've covered all your bases. You gleefully place your bid, celebrate when you win and jump straight over to PayPal and pay for it.
Then you begin your wait, sometimes looking up the tracking number to see where it is en route.
Then it arrives. You rip open the package and pull out your wonderful buy. It's so perfect. BUT...your nose sends you the harshest of messages. You have purchased from a S*M*O*K*E*R! You forgot to look for the proclaimation that the seller has a "smoke-free" household.
Having been through this experience more times than I care to acknowledge, I decided to write a guide for handling this problem. Here are a few tried and true ways to get rid of that horrific odor.
First, a word of warning. There are many chemicals that mask the smell, but don't get rid of it. More drastic treatments, like heat and ozone, are damaging. Thoroughly cleaning items that can withstand it is really the only tried-and-true solution.
Try these to remove mold or mildew smells as well.
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 garbage size plastic bag and inside with the items a generous amount of one of these items tied up in a sheet, pillowcase, sock, brown bag, etc. Place the bag somewhere dry and cool for a few days.
-Potpourri 1 to 2 cups.
-Baking soda 1 cup.
A dryer sheet. For a book, take one and rub it over the front cover, the back cover and each page.
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.
Charcoal bricks. Put 1 to 2 quarts into sack. After you finish, do not use the charcoal or baking soda for anything else. Discard.
Glade candles and burn them once or twice near your large item. Then puts then in your cupboards. everytime you open the door you have a great smell.
Put vinegar on white bread into bowl or 1 cup old coffee grounds and let sit beside items Both are known to eliminate odors and smells.
Cleaning with HEPA-type vacuums first will reduce possible contaminants, which carry the smell. (For techniques on cleaning - see their technical leaflet at nedcc online.
Nok-Out removes smoke and tobacco odors (can't recommend or not because I haven't tried this but there is an eBay seller who carries it called Metacares.
[Tip I came across that I hope you'll never need.] Freeze wet books in a vacuum freezer. This special freezer will remove the moisture without damaging the pages.
SMALL FURNITURE ITEMS
Wash the cloth parts with mixture below. Make sure to test a small hidden area first to make sure it will retain color and shape.
Wipe down furniture items with a cleaner that is appropriate to the surface (wood, plastic, metal) of the pieces.
RUGS or CARPETS
Throw rugs can be cleaned by beating, sweeping, or vacuuming, and then shampooing. Shampoo with rug shampoo to which you've added 1/4 cup baking soda to each gallon of water. Throw rugs can be dried outside as quickly as possible.
Sprinkle the carpet with a mixture of 1 cup Borax and 2 cups cornmeal, wait an hour, and then vacuum.
For larger rugs, lay them flat and expose them to a circulation of warm, dry air. Turn a fan turned on the rugs to speed drying. Make sure the rugs are thoroughly dry to prevent mold and mildew. Moisture can remain at the base of the tufts and can quickly cause the rug to rot. If possible, rent a spray - vacuum "steam cleaner". For more information on cleaning and preserving carpets, call a carpet dealer or installer or a qualified carpet cleaning professional.
Wash blinds with Dirtex or similar cleaner containing TSP or a similar variation. Wash curtains as clothes (below).
A word of caution before you begin: test garments before using any treatment, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. [Several of the cleaning mixtures described in this section (below) contain the substance Tri-Sodium Phosphate. This substance can be purchased under the generic name TSP. Tri-Sodium Phosphate is a caustic substance used commonly as a cleaning agent. I find mine at the hardware store. It should be used with care and stored out of reach of children and pets. Wear rubber gloves when using if you have sensitive skin. Read the label for further information.]
TO get smoke smell out of clothes add a cup of vinegar to a bath tub of hot water. Hang clothes above the steam.
Smoke odor and soot can sometimes be washed from clothing. The following formula may work for clothing that can be bleached:
* 4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-Sodium Phosphate
* 1 cup household cleaner or chlorine bleach
* 1 gallon warm water
In washer or by hand, mix well, add clothes, rinse with clear water. Dry thoroughly.
To remove mildew from clothes, wash the stain with soap and warm water, rinse, and then dry in the sun. If the stain has not disappeared, use lemon juice and salt or a diluted solution of household chlorine bleach.
To remove odor from a small appliance, wash the surfaces you can reach with a solution of baking soda and water, or use one cup of vinegar or household ammonia to one gallon of water. IMPORTANT: NEVER mix ammonia and bleach! This produces a toxic gas.
Don’t use appliances that have been exposed to water or steam until you have a service representative check them.
You should probably throw out all food in plastic or paper packages. The smell will most likely never come out. The food might be ok but why take a chance with your family's health.
Wipe leather goods with a damp cloth, then a dry cloth. Stuff purses and shoes with newspaper to retain shape. Leave suitcases open. Leather goods should be dried away from heat and sun. When leather goods are dry, clean with saddle soap. Rinse leather and suede jackets in cold water and dry away from heat and sun.
If there will be a delay in locating such a freezer, then place them in a normal freezer until a vacuum freezer can be located. A local librarian can also be a good resource of advice on where to obtain restoration services.
LOCKS AND HINGES
Locks (especially iron locks) should be taken apart and wiped with oil. If locks cannot be removed, squirt machine oil through a bolt opening or keyhole, and work the knob to distribute the oil. Hinges should also be thoroughly cleaned and oiled.
PLASTIC [or other washable] TOYS, ETC.
Bleach and vinegar won't get to some smells that plastic absorbs.
Try using kitty litter confined with the plastic item. Pack it as for books (above) pack it in there and leave it for a few days. If the toy is small enough, put it in the kitty litter bag from the store.
Dump them in the bathtub, with soap and vinegar.
Run them through the dishwasher.
Scrub them by hand with orange or lemon based cleaner. The dollar store sells AWESOME but it has strong fumes. Spray it onto your cloth and then wipe it on straight.
Scrub wood furniture or fixtures with a stiff brush and a wood cleaning solution like Mrs. Murphy's Oil Soap.
Wet wood can decay and mold, so dry thoroughly. Place in garage or leave doors and windows open or use air conditioner.
Do not dry your furniture in the sun. The wood will warp and twist out of shape.
Remove drawers. Let them dry thoroughly so there will be no sticking when you replace them.
If mold forms, wipe the wood with a cloth soaked in a mixture of borax dissolved in hot water.
To remove white spots or film, rub the wood surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of
*1/2 cup household ammonia
*1/2 cup water.
Wipe the surface dry and polish with wax or rub the surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of
*1/2 cup turpentine
*1/2 cup linseed oil.
Be careful - turpentine is combustible.
You can also rub the wood surface with a fine grade steel wool pad dripped in liquid polishing wax, clean the area with a soft cloth and then buff.
The major preservation and conservation websites, e.g., the Northeast Document Conservation Center
Trinkley, Michael. "Protecting Your Institution from Wild Fires: Planning Not to Burn and Learning to Recover." n.d. at stanford edu(May 31, 2001). Details about the nature of smoke and soot and proper methods of dry cleaning buildings and collections
There are many on-line resources to guide you in protecting and conserving valuables. You can look at the web page of the National Institute for Conservation at heritagepreservation organization
If you've liked my writing, I hope you'll like my eBay store, Mon-Petit-Magasan. Please stop by for a visit!