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Freakin' Reekin' Nicotine Nightmare - Stench Central


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#1 MyOhMy

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 08:45 AM

I recently won a box of original pre-recorded cassettes of an undisclosed quantity (in excess of 100) on eBay(UK) - so far so good.  However, when the poorly packed box arrived I opened it to be greeted by an obnoxious whiff of biblical proportions - I jest not. :no:   Dear me, I recoiled at the nicotine stench as it was all too overwhelming for my delicate self so took the box outside straight away as I do not possess a bio hazard handling suit fit for handling materials contaminated to this extent.  I stuck my chin out, stiffened my upper lip and emptied the box contents onto my patio and now wished I'd had enough sense to cover my hands with latex gloves as every cassette case was sticky with a thick coating of nicotine.  The further I delved into the box, the more sticky and dirty orange coloured the cassette cases were, a very unpleasant experience indeed! :-O   :annoyed:   I opened every cassette case to air them as best as I could and left them all outside for the remainder of the day to de-stink whilst the box went straight into the bin.

 

I could have (or maybe should have) returned them because I didn't pay for the smell and it didn't even form part of the item description - this was a freebie I didn't want and hadn't paid for. :no:   I decided to roll up my sleeves to de-whiff the cassettes as best as I could and see if what I could to salvage whatever I could then add them to my collection which was far easier said than done:

Tapes & paper inserts were duly removed form each case front which was separated from it's back for a wash in the bath tub but this only made the slightest of difference so each case part then spent two days soaking in bleach prior to a second wash & scrub.  Nope, not much difference here either so then they were all soaked in disinfectant for a further two days prior to washing & scrubbing once more.  Now we're getting somewhere! :yes:  The whiff was now much reduced but still present and a spray of fabric freshener followed by a wipe made for a 99% success rate. :-)  I had no choice but to clean all the cassettes and paper inserts with damp cloth soaked in disinfectant achieving a high success rate then a spray with my ol' friend the fabric conditioner finished off the job as much as possible.  Once the cases were re-assembled and the paper inserts & cassettes were returned to the cases a close up, very personal like, sniff test proved almost all the whiff had now been removed which made me a happy at long last.  I've now placed all the cassettes into closed boxes for another sniff test in a week or so and will remedy any problems then.

 

 

A few words of caution if any of you ever find yourself going down this route:
Prior to separating the cases, sort them into batches of case style/design first.  When I came to re-assemble the front and back casings I was surprised to find how many different styles, designs and attachment parts there were despite so many of them looking the same with a casual glance.  The male and female part of the case hinges are of many different sizes as were the locking pins and slide provision for fitting the parts together.  The angles (or square corners/rectangular 'flap') on the rear of the cases where the front and back parts meet are not all the same, some rear case parts have no spool holders (used with clear cases allowing for more information to be printed on the paper insert) and some have a thinner internal measurement that make it difficult to insert a cassette with a thicker paper insert.  As I was dealing with 100+ cases it was a bit of a nightmare matching up the parts after cleaning, this alone took about 4 hours.

 

With regard to dry all the constituent parts that had to be dried and aired off, this was a real pain in the ol' proverbial as I was dealing with 100+ rear casings + 100+ front casings + 100+ cassettes + 100+ paper inserts and this little lot needs plenty of space, a very well ventilated Boom Room floor along with the surface area of all of the music centre lids provided all the space I need. All in all the whole operation took over a week and about two days of wiping, cleaning and reassembling which did not impress me one iota. :no:  :annoyed:

 

 

 

From the cassette seller's perspective:  "I'll shift this with an 'economic description' ".  :-D

From my perspective:  Ask questions about the item next time, yer daft tw@t:-/

 



#2 T-STER

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 09:52 AM

Daaaamn thats commitment right there. I hope you were recorded with some excellent cassettes in the job lot?

#3 Northerner

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 09:53 AM

Nightmare! I'd have given up and sent them back, unless of course they were awesome recordings...what are they? :-)

#4 MyOhMy

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 10:05 AM

There was a general range of mostly Pop & Rock 1950's - 1980's (Link), nothing particularly noteworthy or special.  There are some duplicated tracks on compilation cassettes and a couple were shi@t and/or odd tapes in the wrong cases but, all in all, it was a good selection (for me :yes: ) at a fair price - considering the tar thick nicotine was free.  If the seller had cleaned the tapes first I think the parcel weight would have reduced significantly!  :-D   



#5 Reli

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 11:17 AM

To remove it more quickly, you need something that cuts grease:

Goo-Gone

Dr. Bronner's

Simple Green

White vinegar

Or ammonia



#6 MyOhMy

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 12:16 PM

To remove it more quickly, you need something that cuts grease:

Goo-Gone

Dr. Bronner's

Simple Green

White vinegar

Or ammonia

 

Many thanks for the suggestions, I already have white vinegar to hand so I'll see if this is needed when I open the boxes.  Wiping paper with any liquid is a matter of delicacy and caution is certainly needed when wiping cassettes with print applied directly to the cassette as the print will wipe off quite easily. (Test area first!  :yes: )



#7 Reli

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 12:29 PM

Smoking is common throughout most of Europe, especially East Europe, but also the Dutch and Germanic cultures.  What sucks is getting a box that used to have white speakers, and now they're yellow.  Yellow tuner glass too.  And the smell doesn't go away unless you wash the circuit boards, which is not really advised anyway lol.  



#8 samovar

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 01:55 PM

The vinegar approach is the one I like best -- home-brewed, so to speak :-) I too hate (a) when I find a smokey box (almost impossible to clean) and (b) when I buy second-hand books that come from non-smokefree environments and the seller doesn't tell. Despicable...



#9 Northerner

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:16 PM

My VZ2000 was brown it's was so thick with it. Inside and out. It was gross. But a good wash and scrub with a sponge and it cleaned up like new...hard work tho!

#10 Rimmer36

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 04:26 PM

I love my fags lol boxes more though :-) ....i notice nobody complains if the people are smoking weed lol :-D



#11 JustCruisin

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 04:48 PM

Yikes! I know exactly the smell.. I was in a chain smokers mobile home, and even the spiderwebs were orange!
All the hung pictures were taken off the wall, and you could see a perfect imprint of where they covered the wall..

#12 MyOhMy

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 05:21 PM

Yikes! I know exactly the smell.. I was in a chain smokers mobile home, and even the spiderwebs were orange!
All the hung pictures were taken off the wall, and you could see a perfect imprint of where they covered the wall..

 

Yes, that's the level of nicotine I'm talking about.  For the most part the cassettes showed little sign of handling, just lots of nicotine, so I suspect many had been rarely played or not played at all.  The nicotine had certainly made it's way into the cases over a period of time but, as for the cases, I'd guess they'd been in a heavy smoker's room ever since the day they were bought all those years ago.  The base of the tapes (when stored upright on a shelf) appeared clean, although pretty darn stinky, but the tops & spines of the cases were just so farkin, sticky. 



#13 Reli

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 05:40 PM

With alcoholic beverages they are required to say how much alcohol is in it.

 

Not so with cigarette manufacturers. This is to hide the fact that they've increased the nicotine content over the years.



#14 JVC Floyd

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 05:51 PM

They sound like bensen and hedges greatest hits lol. The nicotine collection by k-tel.

#15 Lasonic TRC-920

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 10:57 AM

Oh GAWD! I don't know if I could have done it.....That's full scale factory assembly line work right there! I don't know what they're payin' you, but it's not enough!  :no:

 

I suppose if the price is right it's worth doing it ONCE! :blink:

 

So, what are the condition of the tapes? Sponges in tacked? Have you played any? What genre's?

 

Your a trooper M.O.M., ain't no doubt about that  :thumbsup:



#16 MyOhMy

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 12:23 PM

Surprisingly, the cassettes are in pretty good condition, they had slight nicotine stains on a few edges where the cases were not as tight as others but I don't think many had ever been played or only played once the shelved - underneath the world's biggest ashtray.  They still had a very distinct nicotine whiff about them but cleaning the tapes was easy-peasy compared to the cases.  :yes:

 

Regarding the content there was a bias towards compilation tapes of Rock 'n' Roll, 60's music and a good helping of 80's chart music.  Other artists included John Lennon, Petula Clark, The Hollies, Clannad, Cher, Kim Wild, Odyssey, Nancy Sinatra, Enya, Marianne Faithful, Bowie, Frankie Vali etc., etc..  Pretty much middle of the road stuff but OK for old folk!  

 

I think the clean up job needed as much patience as effort and I had no plans for International Jet Setting or mountaineering that week so it was OK. :yes:  :-D  

 

(Link to cassettes)



#17 blu_fuz

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 12:56 PM

Good for  you for sticking through cleaning them up, but I would have sent them back too. I hope they stay fresh!



#18 MyOhMy

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 02:06 PM

Update:

 

I opened up the boxes after a few weeks and the stench is gone for the most part, a further sniff test revealed a very slight whiff detectable when I sniff inside the box.  Now for an airing and all will be fine (well, 98%+ fine!)  :yes:



#19 metalhandbag

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 04:04 PM

Scrubbed up well . I have had a few boxes from Germany that were terrible but once cleaned came up well , it's like the nicotine protected the finish .

#20 MyOhMy

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 04:21 PM

Scrubbed up well . I have had a few boxes from Germany that were terrible but once cleaned came up well , it's like the nicotine protected the finish .

 

Ah, you nailed it!

 

When the nicotine is really thick and you hold the case up to the light, it's like one of the 'insects preserved in amber' scenes from Jurassic Park!  :-D



#21 SLO

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 10:23 PM

Wow! Thats dedication! I would have just bought new jewel cases and trashed the stanky ones. You are a very patient woman M.O.M.

#22 MyOhMy

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 06:05 PM

Wow! Thats dedication! I would have just bought new jewel cases and trashed the stanky ones. You are a very patient woman M.O.M.

 

When I get to the tape display/shelving stage I'll sniff-test each individual case before it's shelved and replace any cases that thought they could get away with being stinky-winky - they'll not get past me.  :nonono:

 

On a side note,  I acquired a set of speakers (at the same time as the whiffy cassettes) with a non-removable cloth mesh on the fronts which was all nicotine stinky-winky but didn't notice at the time due to the overpowering stink from the cassettes.  However, spraying the speaker fronts with the same anti-whiff/fabric de-stencher worked it's magic in an instant.  :thumbsup:  I avoided spraying directly into drivers through the cloth, in case you ask!  ;-)



#23 Nickeccles

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 01:42 PM

Holy shiat!!

 

I would never have taken that on.....they would of gone on the fire!! lol

 

I really don't do pre recorded anyway, have never been satisfied with quality when it's easy to make a better quality yourself & yes even back in the 70's this was the case!!

 

That is extraordinary commitment Chris - You are as daft as me rescuing worthless generic radio recorders :-D  :-D  :-D 



#24 MyOhMy

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 06:24 PM

Holy shiat!!

 

I would never have taken that on.....they would of gone on the fire!! lol

 

I really don't do pre recorded anyway, have never been satisfied with quality when it's easy to make a better quality yourself & yes even back in the 70's this was the case!!

 

That is extraordinary commitment Chris - You are as daft as me rescuing worthless generic radio recorders :-D  :-D  :-D 

 

I feel I must be more than a little (senti)mental!  :yes:  :-D