Recently, I have been enjoying a new branch of the LEGO® hobby. I’ve been scouring garage sale sites for retired LEGO® sets and bulk lots. I particularly like the bulk lots because you have to try to figure out what sets are included if there are no manuals. However, sometimes, you open up your new bin or bag and the nasty smell of cigarettes and secondhand smoke wafts out. Sorry to all the smokers out there, but it is gross. My whole LEGO® room stinks after one of those. Incidentally, I recently acquired the Toys R Us Truck (7848) from 2010. It smelled to high heaven when I opened up the Ziplock bags containing the set. The smell was ingrained in everything, the bricks, stickers, and manuals. Consequently, I faced with the problem of how to eliminate smoking odors from my secondhand set?
STEP 01: Soak that Stench
First, I dumped every brick without a sticker on it into a bucket full of hot water and dish soap. I let them soak in the bucket while I more carefully scrubbed the pieces with stickers in a separate container. I used a toothbrush to scrub the bricks. This procedure worked fine for bricks with small stickers. Additionally, the sticker-less bricks lost their stench after simply soaking them in the soapy water.
STEP 02: Drain & Scrub
After soaking the bricks for about 15 minutes, I drained the bricks out using a colander. Be careful here, smaller bricks may slip through gaps in the colander if the gaps are large. Place a net or filter of some kind in your sink drain first. Subsequently, I rinsed the bricks in the colander with water. If I noticed residual grime, I used the toothbrush to scrub it off. Finally, I placed all the bricks on a towel to dry overnight.
STEP 03: Bring on the Baking Soda
The Toys R Us Truck includes two large stickers. These stickers hung onto the cigarette stench despite scrubbing with a toothbrush. So, I grabbed a small storage container with a lid and dumped some baking soda in. Next, I placed the bricks in, and then sprinkled a thin layer of baking soda over them. Finally, I put on the lid and left the bricks overnight. When I opened the container the next day, they still smelled. I was worried the smell would never leave. I ended up leaving the bricks in the container for four days. On the fourth day, I no longer detected the smell.
STEP 04: More Baking Soda
The manuals posed another problem. They smelled as bad as the bricks and stickers. Obviously, I could not soak the manuals. Consequently, I placed baking soda in a Ziplock bag. Next, I placed the bottom edge of the manuals in a paper towel envelope. Finally, I sealed the two manuals and paper towel in the Ziplock with the baking soda. Interestingly, the manuals lost their odor faster than the stickers. After two days, the top half of the manuals no longer smelled. The bottoms in the paper towel hung onto the odor. So, I flipped the manuals around and left them for another two days. Subsequently, the smell was gone.
STEP 05: Build
I can tell you from experience, if you don’t treat smelly bricks quickly, the stench of secondhand smoke will linger for a long time. We are talking MONTHS here. A quick soak for most bricks is enough. Stickers and manuals need a few days of baking soda treatment. However, in the end, you have clean, odor-free bricks and manuals to enjoy. Hopefully this quick guide will help you eliminate smoking odors from your own secondhand purchases in the future! Do you have any stories, tips, or tricks to share? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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