De-stinkify canvas
September 23, 2012 3:59 PM   Subscribe

How can I de-stink these canvases?

I found three canvases in the dumpster. They are two-color silkscreen prints on canvas ~ 24" x 30". From the looks of the art, the style, I am guessing they are from late 1960s to mid 1970s.

The art on them now is mediocre at best and I am planning on painting over them. [Don't worry! I can assure you that these paintings in their current state have no monetary or cultural value. Here is a link of one. See for yourself. They are three in a series, knock-off prints of a Matisse or Modigliani drawing style.]

Anyway, back to the original question: How can I get rid of the smell? The stretchers are well-made and the canvas is in decent condition, but they are awful stinky. Like they were in someone's basement for 20 years. A musty stench emanates from them and it is a very strong and very unpleasant.

I have let them sit in the sun for several days and I sprayed them with a dilute vinegar-water solution. This did not fix the problem.

Please do not suggest Febreeze or any other masking fragrance. I would prefer to leave the canvas on the stretchers, but if this problem cannot be fixed, I will replace the canvas. Thanks!
posted by at the crossroads to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
I'd leave them in an airtight container with a BUNCH of baking soda poured around them. A big plastic tub would work if you could close it and then put plastic wrap tightly around it. I'd leave it in for a couple days, then change out the baking soda and do it again. Baking soda is awesome! This is a tip recommended for musty books, so I think it would work in this situation.
posted by shortyJBot at 4:47 PM on September 23, 2012

I've done a variation of what shortyJBot suggests only with Feline Pine to get the smoky smell out of books and other objects from my wife's parents house (full of smokers and they never, ever open the windows).
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 5:25 PM on September 23, 2012

If you don't have a plastic tub big enough for the baking soda/Feline Pine idea, you could probably use a large thick trashbag (like a contractor bag).
posted by shiny blue object at 4:09 AM on September 24, 2012

I will fourth the suggestion of baking soda in a plastic tub/garbage bag. If I were you, I'd probably put them all face down and generously sprinkle baking soda onto the back of them and leave them for a few weeks. Vacuum off the baking soda once they are de-stinked.

Good luck!
posted by godshomemovies at 4:59 AM on September 24, 2012

Arm and Hammer also sells a pet odor eliminator that works well. Not sure what is in it that isn't in baking soda, and I don't actually remember why I bought it, but I think my neighbors cat once got into my apartment. I've used it on some musty suitcases. I never got them to where I could store clothes in them, but I did cut the must way down.
posted by amandabee at 6:32 AM on May 31, 2013

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