Shopping at LEGO or Amazon?
Please use our links: LEGO.comAmazon
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Smoky smell in old boxes

doodlebirddoodlebird Austin. Texas. Member Posts: 88
edited February 2012 in Everything else LEGO
i've seen mention on here of how to remove the smoky smell from bricks, but what about from the boxes? obviously, i can't soak or wash them. does airing them out have any effect? in the sunlight / away light?

i ask because i just found two NISB paradisa sets from the early 90s at my local used toy shop.
6411 sand dollar cafe
6419 rolling acres ranch

the owner said a lady had them stored in her garage. (for ~20 years???) there is a noticeable smell of smoke if you get too close to the boxes. i don't know where to put them, because i don't want that smell coming off on to anything else.

also, i bought them with the intention of reselling them... to what degree (or percentage) does this scent negatively affect the sales price?


  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    Try putting them in a sealed container with some charcoal. Charcoal is used in filters to absorb order. Good luck
  • boldtarboldtar Member Posts: 5
    Not sure if this will remove the odor totally but try putting the Lego boxes along with a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda (the kind they have for absorb odor in fridge and freezer) in a plastic container
  • doodlebirddoodlebird Austin. Texas. Member Posts: 88
    thanks for the suggestions. i'll try the baking soda first, as i know exactly what you mean. as for the charcoal... do you mean like briquettes used for grilling?
  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    ^ yes
  • icey117icey117 DenmarkMember Posts: 507
    @Doodlebird When you've tried it, let us know how it went! :-)
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,265
    Just dont use the briquettes pre soaked with lighter fluid =)
  • Blue1dotBlue1dot Member Posts: 78
    Hardware stores and even some grocery stores (try laundry section) sell a product in a net bag that absorbs odors something like and it is reusable.
  • starfire2starfire2 Phoenix AZMember Posts: 1,329
    Link doesn't work^
  • Blue1dotBlue1dot Member Posts: 78
    sorry about the link, it was just meant as an example, that company are priced too high. The ones I got were only $5 and were "refreshed" by putting out in the sun. Seems weird but they really worked. Two of them took the smoke and mildew smell out of a used car in a couple of days
  • doodlebirddoodlebird Austin. Texas. Member Posts: 88
    edited February 2012
    finally got the sealed sets packed inside a larger sealed container with a box of baking soda... the kind of box designed to tear off the sides and place in freezer or fridge. I will post results when I have them in a couple weeks. stayed tuned!
  • doodlebirddoodlebird Austin. Texas. Member Posts: 88
    i let them go for longer than needed...
    just opened them... still reek of smoke. :(
    i guess i'll try the charcoal briquettes next.
  • mountebankmountebank Member Posts: 1,237
    For the next part of your experiment, perhaps not refrigerating the boxes. I wonder if being at a warmer temperature might encourage more of the odour to be released and captured by your activated carbon.
  • wagnerml2wagnerml2 Belleville, IllinoisMember Posts: 1,376
    I would try dryer sheets, like bounce or something of the like. Or cedar planks. You can usually find those at department stores. They are designed to go in your closet to keep your clothes from smelling musty.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^^@Mountebank has it right about the temperature increase. Try that with it fully sealed to increase pressure as well.
  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    I bought a used car that smelled of smoke once (not too bad, but I could smell it). I simply left the windows down while parked in the garage for a few weeks or months. After that, I could no longer smell the smoke.

    Maybe just leaving them in your garage (if you have one) for a while would help? I say the garage, because it's not as insulated as the house (more fresh air coming in and out).
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Well, putting the box in a vacuum chamber for a day should work. It works for bricks.
  • doodlebirddoodlebird Austin. Texas. Member Posts: 88
    thanks for all the suggestions. for the record, i didn't put these in a freezer or a fridge. the box of baking soda is the kind designed to go in freezer or fridge. i'll try again and post results when i have them - good or bad.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    If you're going to try charcoal you'll have better luck with the type charcoal used in aquariums. Put the charcoal in a sock or mesh bag in a sealed container with the boxes and leave it for several days. If that isn't successful buy a bottle of "Odor Away" open it but do not put it on the boxes, spread out the boxes in a container that can be sealed sit the open bottle in the midst of the boxes, being very careful not to spill the bottle contents, and leave it sealed for several days.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    That should say the charcoal and boxes in a sealed container, obviously it won't help if the charcoal is sealed away from the boxes.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,933
    edited May 2012
    Well, putting the box in a vacuum chamber for a day should work. It works for bricks.
    Now please clarify what is meant by Vacuum chamber and where someone could have one for a day :-)
    This sounds a bit silly, but would a 'space bag' work? Im guessing no or it may crush the box
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Ah, yeah, a vacuum chamber is not a household item. It is an industrial tool used for various purposes (freeze drying food, preparing resins, lab tests, checking satellites before they go to space, etc.) You most likely won't be able to get access to one easily. I mentioned it on the off chance you could because it is probably the most effective method to use. A space bag won't work because you don't actually create a vacuum in it.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    By the way, here is the original discussion about getting rid of a smoke smell from bricks. @Istokg mentions a discussion with an engineer about why it works.

    I'm curious, anyone actually try this?
Sign In or Register to comment.

Shopping at or Amazon?

Please use our links: Amazon

Recent discussions Categories Privacy Policy

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the, Inc. Associates Program and the Amazon EU Associates Programme, which are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.