Advice for removing musty smell from vtg bag

  1. #1 Jul 21, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
    I recently won a 1970's Bonnie Cashin for Meyers bag on eBay for just $13.48 plus $9.00 S&H - so no matter what happens with this bag I can't lose much. DemRam authenticated the bag and kindly gave me some rehab advice.

    I haven't been exactly thrilled with the vendor. I paid right away by paypal and received an automated message with an estimated delivery date range. After a few days when I didn't hear any more I emailed and asked for the tracking number. The vendor hadn't even shipped it yet and said she would get it out "tomorrow or the day after". I finally received a tracking number, but for 3 days it just said that USPS had "received electronic notification to expect the package." I contacted the vendor again and asked when to expect it. She apologized and said that I would get it on Wednesday - and I did just receive it today. She finally sent it by priority mail so I got it only 9 days after the auction ended, so that's okay. But I have the feeling that if I hadn't initiated communications and pushed hard, I'd still be waiting.

    I stressed that I wanted the bag packed well and safely to prevent damage and the vendor assured me that it would be well-packed but it was sent in a padded envelope! Happily it was not damaged by the journey. The bag is in excellent shape and I really like it - I was prepared for a disaster and it is intact and very clean. (And really cute IMO!)

    The auction included a pic of an area where the stitching had separated, but it is minimal and I am sure it will be easy to repair.

    The auction said "smoke free home" and it does NOT smell like smoke - but it does have a strong musty "old" smell. I have a "sensitive nose" so I need to remove this smell or I won't carry the bag. My inclination is to give it a good bath like a vintage, unlined coach bag; but DemRam tried that with a vintage Cashin for Meyers and the leather cracked.

    Any suggestions for removing a strong musty smell? Thanks in advance for your advice!

    Here's a pic of the bag from the auction:
    cashin red hobo.jpg
  2. it's pretty tough to get rid of the musty odors that get absorbed into porous materials like leather....I've tried these tricks and hope you have luck with any one of them, if you are interested. ( I had GREAT luck with both tricks, one time with a vintage clutch from Italy that was lined in a "straw satin" that was SOOO musty I could barely stand it. And another time with a cream colored small willis coach I bught on eBay):

    1) LOOSE MINT LEAF TEA--if you have a tea ball, fill it as much as you can with loose, mint leaf tea. First---Try microwaving the loose tea first in a microwave container with about 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of water and then drain it thru one side of the tea ball, to strain it. Let it sit in the tea ball for a couple of hours for any loose liquids to drain. Then set the tea ball with the damp tea in the tea ball, in the bag, lining the bottom of the bag with a couple of paper towels. Place the tea ball on the paper towels. Keep bag closed and let it sit for 2-3 days. (If you have more than one tea ball, this trick works even better with 2-3 tea balls.)

    2) Boil 12-15 green tea bags in lemon water (use about 5-7 tablespoons of real lemon in about 1 - 1 1/2 quarts water) and drain in a strainer for 2-3 hours til liquids are gone. Place the tea bags on a dry paper towel, inside the bag and keep it closed for 3-5 days. (This trick works even better if you also soak some paper napkins in real lemon juice, wring them and set them out to "drip." When it looks like no more liquid is draining from the napkins, fold and insert them in large white mailing envelopes. DO not close the envelopes--just use them as holders for the lemon=-moist napkins. Place these inside the bag, with the tea bags as outlined above, for 3-5 days, keeping bag closed.)

    Good luck!
  3. Tea! I hadn't thought of that, thanks for the suggestion!
  4. How abut a dryer sheet....
  5. I had the same problem with my vintage cashin. It had been packed away for god knows how long. I put a baking soda disk in the bag for a while and aired it out as well for a few weeks. I carried it with a bundle of lavender buds as well for a while. Eventually the smell went just needed to be used :smile:
  6. I put baking soda in mine and put it in a closed garbage bag overnight. I also let it air out outside for a few hours prior to doing that. It had been dunked too though.
  7. Thanks for all the great advice; I hope I can do something with the smell! This morning before I left for work I stuffed some dryer sheets in it!
  8. ^^^ i think that's a great idea--dryer sheets! I'm sure glad i read that idea myself.
  9. One time I got a bag from ebay. The seller lied about being a smoker. When the bag came it reeked of smoke. I sprayed the inside with ozium, once dried, I put some charcoal (like the ones for fish tanks) in little bag and put baking soda and dryer sheets. The ozium helped neut. the smoke smell, but since it was on the leather too, and didn't want to put the ozium on the leather, I did all the rest and put it in a bag for a week.

    Worked well for me. Might of been overkill but it was worth it. :biguns:
  10. Wow, charcoal - I never would have thought of that! Thanks!
  11. #11 Jul 23, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
    I would say the baking soda with it in a sealed bag for a few days to a week approach might just do the trick.

    Also read in another thread about freezing the bag for a few hours to kill the mold spores. Place it in a plastic bag to keep it dry and put it in the freezer for a few hours. Let it warm up to room temperature before handling it to avoid damage or cracking.
  12. ^^ Never heard that trick before about the freezer.

    I haven't used dryer sheets, because my husband is sensitive to smells.
  13. I'd do baking soda, either the circles ones or a box opened inside... it's worked for me (that and airing out the item for a few months...). It takes patience for sure!
  14. Try putting Citrus Magic solid air freshner in the bag....worked for me. $5 at Walmart, Walgreens etc. The room where my dog is smells kind of good since I am selling my house. One of those air freshners has worked for months....where febreze and everything else failed
  15. This may be the same as charcoal? I've used odor eaters - those shoe inserts for smelly feet, put one in a musty bag sometimes with a dryer sheet and fill up the leftover space with crumpled newspapers which also absorb odors. You can change out the newspapers every couple of days.