Clean Cigarette Smell/Residue from Old Photos?

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Posted 2/24/2013 by toomuchcoffeegirl in General Photography
 

toomuchcoffeegirl
PeaNut

PeaNut 300,473
February 2007
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Loc: Seattle, WA

Posted: 2/24/2013 11:57:00 AM
I recently inherited all of my father's photographs when he passed away and want to get them all digitized and archived for the rest of my family.

Unfortunately, he was a very heavy smoker and all of the photos are stained with residue and smell awful.

The photos are all from the 40s to the 80s, some instant film, others prints.

I've heard recommendations about swabbing with vinegar and then rinsing in water and air-drying, but the idea of submerging photos in water makes me very nervous.

Does anyone have any experience or suggestions in how to best get these photos cleaned and smelling better?

Thank you!

voltagain
OklaPhoma

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July 2001
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Posted: 2/24/2013 12:48:42 PM
I wouldn't wet them without knowing what you really have. When printing most prints go through a wet process and will survive being re-wet. But not all will. It depends on the finishing processes that came after the wet stages.

I'd get a sealable box (like rubbermaid or sterilite) big enough to fill the bottom with some baking soda for odor absorption. Put a rack in the bottom (borrow one out of my kitchen wares)so the photos aren't directly on the baking soda (it could scratch) and seal the photos up in the box for a few weeks.


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StuckOnPeas

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August 2006
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Posted: 2/26/2013 10:46:29 AM
Good advice!


Jennifer~
I think a photography class should be a requirement in all educational programs because it makes you see the world rather than just look at it.

REBL
PeaFixture

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March 2009
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Posted: 2/26/2013 3:54:23 PM
searched and found this: web page
you might try Febreeze near but not on photos, just to be on the safe side place photos face down.


Robert

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PeaAddict

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October 2003
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Posted: 2/27/2013 9:32:13 AM
The best thing I have found is activated charcoal in a closed container. You ca buy this at the pet store where they have the fish supplies. Place your photos in the same box box separeate from the charcoal and seal it up. Consumer reports tested febreeze. plug ins, baking soda, and charcoal years ago & the charcoal won by a landslide.

As far as residue goes, I am not sure. I would google archival restoration and see what professionals offer to wipe/clean the photos with.

What a treasure you have to have photos thru those years-good luck with your project!

obsidian
StuckOnPeas

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March 2007
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Loc: Waikato

Posted: 3/2/2013 11:51:48 PM
Do not febreeze them it ruins photos great for clothing not photos.

zThe best thing to do is scan then and archive the originals. If they have been exposed to that much cigarette smoke they will be damaged.

We sold hundreds of old photos to an image web site because the smoke damage had ruined the originals beyond repair. Now anyone can scan at home so I would.

katiedoodlesgran
PeaNut

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July 2005
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Posted: 3/3/2013 1:29:59 AM
I got a bunch of scrapbook papers from my someone who was a heavy smoker, I couldn't use them I put them into a closed tote with some boxes of opened baking soda and a couple fabric softener sheets. Nothing really came in contact with the papers but in the tote with them. The smell never totally went away but it did help. I wish I would have thought of the charcoal...


I shoot my with Sony A77


REBL
PeaFixture

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March 2009
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Posted: 3/3/2013 2:48:50 PM
The activated charcoal sounds best..... if it will get rid of pet urine smell it should help with just about anything. If you scan them be prepared for a lot of work fixing them up.
Here is an old post from a while back.
web page


Robert

Building my Arsenal

5D MK III
Canon 800mm FD
Canon 8-15 4.0L Fisheye Zoom
Canon EF 200mm f/2.0L IS USM
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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM, Canon 500D Close-up Lens,RRS Focusing Rail
Canon MT-24EX Macro flash
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM
Canon EF TS-E17 4.0L
Canon 24-105~4.0L IS USM
Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L
Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM
Canon EF 2X II, Canon EF 2X III, Canon EF 1.4X III,Canon FD 2X-XAextender
Pro media Katana Gimbal Head;Pro media Flash bracket;
2 Alien Bees Einstiens;1 AB 400; CyberCommander 2 CVCSX; CST; CSR+; ST-E2 Tramsmitter,PW Flex TT5;PW Mini TT1;2 PW Multimax; 2 PW MC2's;2-48"Octaboxes;3HD Air cushioned stands
Sekonic 758 Meter; Spyder Cube; RRS CLAMPS,L bracket, pano head,430EX,580 EX II, Gitzo 2220 Tripod, 1127 carbon fiber tripod,1227 carbon fiber tripod, Manfrotto 410 geared tripod head, RRS BH40 and clamp;Gitzo Systematic Ball Head,Acratech Leveling base & Clamp, Hoodman Hoodloupe
Cotton Carrier, Manfrotto Autopole Background Kit, spare LE6 Battery, Jobo GPS
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