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Here’s How to Get That Cigarette Smoke Smell Out of Your Books, You Classic Beauty You


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Here’s How to Get That Cigarette Smoke Smell Out of Your Books, You Classic Beauty You


Published on October 9, 2019

Screenshot: Columbia Pictures
Ghostbusters 2 Ray's Occult bookstore
Screenshot: Columbia Pictures

People love book smells, particularly old book smells. There’s something comforting and magical about dehydrated paper and dust, so much so that some perfume companies even have old books as a fragrance option.

But cigarette smoke? Not everyone is a fan of that secondhand smell, which sometimes permeates the pages of old favorites. (This can be a particular issue for libraries, since books circulate amongst a variety of environments.) Is it possible to get rid of it?

One booklover took to Reddit to find out.

Reddit user dxdydz_dV had Googled methods, but their search results were aimed only at masking the smell, so r/books brainstormed ways to eliminate it.

(The fine print: The following advice is from Reddit, and has not actually tried any of them, so take them with a grain of salt.)


How to Remove Smoke from a Book, Perhaps:

The Ziplock Bag Method

This was mentioned a few times by various users: placing the book in a Ziplock bag with a dry, powdery substance for a few days supposedly helps eliminate the smell. Library employee ukulele_renee said they use baking soda at their job, while Isthisaweekday ‘s variation was to” Wrap your book in a hand towel and grind up like 35g of coffee (you may need more coffee depending on the strength of the odor).”


A tried and true method for freshening up musty dorm-rooms and basements, this infamous spray could also work on your stinky tome. Unlike with days-old laundry, though, you don’t actually want to drench the pages of your book. Instead, user ElectricalIons suggested lightly Febrezing the air above your book.

Fabric Softener Sheets

From making cheap wigs look more realistic to being the MVP in an excellent sploof (source: the staff contains multitudes, okay?), these handy little sheets do a lot more than soften your laundry. User thedots suggested sticking one of these between the front cover and the first page, a method echoed by Byalla for de-mustifying books.


(Post Script: When searching for the ideal top image for this article, we stumbled upon this illustration and what is even happening why does that mouse have a gun?!?)

A Little Book for a Little Cook illustration

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