There’s nothing more deflating to a good mood than excitedly ripping open a newly arrived box that just came in the mail, only to have your nostrils hit with a powerful stinky stench coming from the treasures that hide inside.
Anything from smoke to musty odors can ruin a collectible. Once smoke smell gets inside items its hard to remove it – you can’t wash it out. Now if you receive an item that smells smokey or musty but it doesn’t reek – you can save it.
How? Behold the power of laundry fabric softener sheets.
My sister and I used to run an online store and we used to pick up books and toys from thrift shops – they’d show up w/ varying degrees of icky smells sometimes. Believe it or not you can remove the smells without ruining your items. Warning – this is NOT a speedy process, but it works.
Got a box filled w/ books that were hidden for years in your dank basement that smell like mold but look fine otherwise? They can be restored.
Simply find a rubbermaid type container w/ a tight fitting lid. If your items are plastic, put some paper between them and the container so they won’t stick onto the tub.
Then cover the items w/ fabric softener sheets. Fabric Softener sheets are designed not only to remove static charge from your drying clothes, but they remove final odors that might be left on your clothes that appear at high heat. This makes them perfect for removing icky smells from objects. Just make sure that you pick sheets that you like their smell – otherwise, you’ll replace the smoke smell w/ something else that you don’t like.
Close up the tub and put it somewhere where it can get warm, naturally… ie the garage, your attic, or your porch. Leave it closed up for some time (several days – less if you’re like me and it’s Summer in Arizona) and later open the tub up to examine the items. If the smell has dissipated but is still there, replace the sheets with new ones and wait a few more days. In time the offending odor will be gone and your collectibles will smell instead like freshly laundered clothes.
For dolls where you can’t wash them for some reason – if you can remove their heads, stuff the head full of fabric sheets to remove the scents from the inside as well as out. For boxes of books layer the sheets throughout the layers of books inside the box.