Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Postcards that Stink (Literally)

One of the hazards of old and vintage postcards is that they sometimes smell from being stored or occasionally from cigarette smoke. A lot I purchased from e-bay had this issue, and I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I didn't want the smell to contaminate my other cards, nor did I want to send stinky cards to trading partners.

I looked online, and one suggestions was to put two or three postcards on a baking sheet and leave outside in the sun. I might have done this in Phoenix, but in Ithaca, where it is humid and likely to rain, it didn't seem like a sound plan. Additionally, it would have taken forever working on just two or three cards at a time.

Next, I tried putting a dryer sheet in the plastic bin with the postcards. That seemed to help a little, but it primarily masked the musty scent rather than removing it. On George's suggestion, I put baking soda in a small open container and then put that in the plastic bin. Not too much luck there. I thought maybe the baking soda needed more opportunity to breathe, so I placed in in tea filters (what you buy in the grocery store for loose tea). That helped, but too slow for my taste. My last and current attempt had me putting baby powder in the tea filter. The powder particles are smaller than the holes in the filter, so I double-filtered it. This seems to be working fairly well.

Have you had this problem? What have you tried and how were the results?


Natalie said...

I don't know if it will work on post cards, but when Lee and I lived in a very old rent house that had a very musty smell in the bathroom someone told us to put ground coffee in a coffee filter and put it where it wouldn't get wet and the coffee would absorb the odor. It worked like a charm! Good luck!

Christine H. said...

I also bought a large batch of postcards on ebay that smelled musty and mildewy. I used baking soda, kitty litter, and finally zeolite. They are almost odor free now. The zeolite can be used for other things too, like closets and refrigerators.I put the cards in a box with the zeolite and closed it up and left it for awhile.

The zeolite can be used over and over. You just put the bags out in the sun or in the oven at 200 and they're re-charged. The ones I bought were packaged in net bags that allow for some of the volcanic rock dust to filter out. That's the one down side.

Aimee Dars said...

Here's a link with lots of advice on getting rid of musty smells in books, but they'd likely work for postcards, too.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...