Why does packing tape smell like vinegar?
May 26, 2009 10:47 PM   Subscribe

Why the heck does plastic packing tape smell like vinegar?

Has anybody else noticed this? We're talking plain old clear plastic packing tape, which has a VERY distinct vinegar smell when you use it. In roll form, it is apparently odorless, but as soon as you tape a box, WA-BAM! Vinegar smell! Has anyone else noticed this? Any thoughts?
posted by rawredmeat to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When acetate tape degrades, it releases acetic acid. Happens with film also.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:04 PM on May 26, 2009

Stretching the tape probably breaks some molecular bonds. Mechanical degradation.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:06 PM on May 26, 2009

Acetic acid is what vinegar "smells like". Acetic acid is cheap and used everywhere in making materials. I would think adhesives would be a prime area of acetic acid use. Here's a query for "acetic acid adhesive" and yeah, it looks fairly well associated.
posted by telstar at 1:52 AM on May 27, 2009

To me it smells like pineapple and vinegar.
posted by applemeat at 6:00 AM on May 27, 2009

I have noticed a distinct acetone/nail polish remover smell while using tape recently. It's odd because I have moved a lot and only recently noticed this. Is your tape Scotch brand?
posted by soelo at 8:18 AM on May 27, 2009

The clear packing tape I've used smells like cinnamon.
posted by deborah at 8:36 AM on May 28, 2009

Thanks everybody. I've got to get me some of that cinnamon tape!
posted by rawredmeat at 3:53 PM on September 4, 2009

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