Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

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Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby avanutria » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:16 pm

Hi all,

I just bought a secondhand dulcimer, and it reeks of tobacco smoke. Mostly the case.

I've hung the dulcimer on the wall to air out and left the case open for now. It's a hard case with that fuzzy padding material inside. What is the best way to remove the smell? Is it safe to use a spray like Febreeze on the inside of an instrument case?

Obviously I'm not going to Febreeze the dulcimer. I think whoever owned it and smoked around it mostly kept it in the case when not using it. It'll probably get better with a good airing.
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Re: Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby pjbuck » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:35 pm

If he kept it mostly closed its probably the smoke residue on the outside that stinks most, you will have to clean it. I would try something mild. if its working the cloth or paper towel you are using will show the brown crud on it. I have had to do this on luggage. just be patient and go slow so yo don't loosen any glue and keep in mind that the " leather" covering is often just embossed paper. febreze might help on the inside
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Re: Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby KenH » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:45 pm

I would Febreeze the inside. Don't soak the lining, but spray well. Then wipe it out with paper towels.
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Re: Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby avanutria » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:22 pm

Thanks! I'll give both of these a careful try.

The handle felt a bit sticky to me so there probably is a lot of external residue.
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Re: Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby strumelia » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:33 pm

It also helps to leave the case open in the sun on a breezy day. (without the dulcimer in it of course)
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Re: Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby Marc Mathieu » Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:33 pm

A couple years ago, I bought a used dulcimer and case that REEKED of cigarette smoke something terrible when I opened the box !!
I had won it on e-bay. I later read feedback from other winning bidders about the seller, stating that their purchases also arrived smelling very strong of cigarette smoke.
I actually had to leave the case opened in my garage for over 2 months before the smell actually faded enough to bring it back inside.
I still needed to wipe off the vinyl outer shell with warm water & mild detergent to get the crud off.

1st thing I did with the dulcimer, was take off the strings and rubbed it down with instrument polish several times. Gross was came off of it :x
It even smelled inside the soundholes, but not much I could do about that. I re-strung it and set it aside for a couple weeks, and the smell eventually faded away.

3 years later ... the smell is all gone from case & instrument. There IS hope Avanutria.
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Re: Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby avanutria » Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:39 am

I think mine isn't as bad as yours was Marc - that sounds awful! I've left the case open in a room for a few days and soon I will have a chance to actually work on it - hopefully this weekend. I'm in the same room now and it's not overwhelming, and I'm pretty sensitive to smoke, so hopefully with a little work it'll clean up nicely. I'd put it in the sun for a while but I'm in Oregon in February; sun is in short supply at the moment.
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Re: Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby KenH » Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:48 am

I lived in Salem for seven years... I know all about "sun breaks"!!!!
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Re: Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby fluidpainter » Mon May 09, 2016 9:33 pm

Hi all. First post here. I bought a leather vest on eBay for my husband last year that was the same. A friend told me to put it in a bag with coffee (dry, not brewed!). The vest is black, so I tried it. Took a couple of changes of coffee, but it worked. You might try a small bowl placed carefully inside and close the case (don't want coffee grounds all over inside!). Good luck! It will eventually go away if what can be cleaned is. If you're like me, anything that smells like coffee is GOOD!
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Re: Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby KenH » Tue May 10, 2016 9:42 am

Ground coffee is a great idea as an odor remover! I'd pour a cup of cheap ground coffee in through the sound hole and shake it around a lot. The fun part will be getting the grounds out, but that's just a matter of persistence!
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Re: Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby asterhunter » Wed May 11, 2016 5:19 am

Which works better, regular or decaf? :D
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Re: Getting tobacco smell out of a dulcimer/case

Postby KenH » Wed May 11, 2016 9:33 am

Free-trade de-caff!!
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