help me remove cigarette smell from a book
November 15, 2004 5:55 PM   Subscribe

OdorFilter: I need to deodorize cigarette smell from a book. [MI]

I just bought a used book off eBay. It's a great book and in pretty good condition but the seller failed to note that it reeked like an ashtray. As a non-smoker, I can't bear the smell and I would not have bought it if I had known this.

But forget about eBay. I want to deodorize this book, or else I'll have to get rid of it. I can't read it if it's going to smell like this. It's a thick, hardcover book. I'm hoping there is something more logical than spraying Febreeze on every page.
posted by MrAnonymous to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I used to work at a used bookstore, and what they did there was to stick a dryer sheet in the book and seal it in a ziplock bag for a month or two. Seemed to work most of the time, but not always.
posted by interrobang at 6:12 PM on November 15, 2004

Response by poster: Seeing as how I buy books much faster than I could possibly read them, time-consuming methods are not a problem. Thank you!
posted by MrAnonymous at 6:16 PM on November 15, 2004

There are more solutions if you don't want your book to smell like dryer sheets. Most involve putting the book in an airtight contyainer either with soething that smells good [cedar chips, orange peel] or somethign that neutralizes odor [kitty litter, baking soda]. It's a pretty simple process just don't let the book touch whatever it is you have that is smelly or neutralizing. Tips included in that link.
posted by jessamyn at 6:43 PM on November 15, 2004

From what I remember--and keep in mind that this didn't always work, just usually: if the book *really* stank, there was usually just no hope for it--when the book came out of the bag, it was like magic: no cigarette smell and also no dryer sheet smell.

It was like they'd neutralized each other.

I hope you get your book clean, MrAnonymous!
posted by interrobang at 6:56 PM on November 15, 2004

Response by poster: Does the book "breathe" or does it help to try and give the inner pages some access to the deodorizing agent? In other words, will it get the stink out of the tight spots near the spine without opening the book?

Thank you, jessamyn!
posted by MrAnonymous at 7:01 PM on November 15, 2004

Put the book in a zipper bag with some ExStink for a couple of hours.
posted by majick at 8:04 PM on November 15, 2004

I tried the kitty-litter-in-a-bag method with a large book (hard-bound collection of Gourmet Magazine from 1951) I bought recently. It seemed like a beautiful, clean book when I bought it but it reeked of... I don't know, kind of "mouldering death" when I got it home.

The kitty litter didn't work, although I only left it in there for a week so maybe that wasn't enough time. The book is currently wrapped tightly in wax paper like a gift (of death!!!) until I can think of another way to destink it. I'll try the dryer sheet thing next.
posted by bcwinters at 7:53 AM on November 16, 2004

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