Tales From The eBay…Begone Foul Stench!

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

     As my loyal readers may recall, I recently posted a rant about some books I acquired off eBay that arrived with the unadvertised bonus of what I like to call “Dirty Ashtray Funk.”  I gotta say I was not happy with eBay seller (let’s call him) PeePee17. And I wasn’t real confidant that I’d ever be able to put those books on my shelves.

     But alas, I believe I’ve managed to remove about 90% of the stench.  I thought I’d share what I did in case any of you ever fall victim to PeePee17 or his ilk.

     As I mentioned before, the cigarette smell on the books was so bad that I had to remove them from the house because they were stanking up the room.  I pulled out a 3’x2′ heavy-duty plastic storage bin I had sitting in the garage. I got a mongo-sized box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and emptied about half of it directly onto the bottom of the bin.  I then leaned the books against the sides of the bin, resting them directly on the layer of baking soda figuring I’d be able to dust them off later. I tried to fan open the pages as much as possible to allow air circulation.  I then put the remaining half box of baking soda in the bin and sealed the lid.

     I set the bin on my back porch under cover to avoid it getting rained on. The way my house is oriented, the bin would get about 4 hours of sun in the afternoon.  I read on the Web that heat is one way to remove smoke odor but I wasn’t looking forward to sitting down with a blow dryer on High and going page by page. Plus, several people mentioned that such a process might discolor (yellow) the pages.

     While I’m not a certified Stankologist, I theorized that the large surface area of the baking soda in the bin combined with some moderate heating in the afternoon sun might bake the funk out of the pages. And it seems to have worked.

      I actually kinda forgot about the whole thing until this morning when I looked out back to see if I needed to mow the lawn.  The bin sat out there for a whole week.  I wasn’t really expecting much but was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately for me, my nose is pretty sensitive to the smell of smoke after the house fire.  I’m not gonna claim the funk is totally gone, but you almost have to use your imagination to notice it.

     So, I guess PeePee17 is off the hook and the books can go on the shelf. Thank-you Arm & Hammer.

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