Smelly Camera Gear

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by FilmOnly, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I have been buying used camera equipment for a while now, and have run across some pieces of gear that have given off some rather strong odors. Such odors tend to give me headaches and congestion. Some months ago, I had to get rid of a rather nice Pentax ME body because its leatherette stunk of some type of cologne or chemical cleaner. I tried everything (everything natural, that is) to get rid of the odor--rubbing alcohol, vinegar, Bon Ami, assorted natural spray cleaners, and even an organic enzyme cleaner/deodorizer. Nothing was able to eradicate the odor, and I tried for a period of two weeks.

    I just received a Minolta G winder that is in fairly nice shape--but it has the dreaded odor! I think the most amazing thing about all this is that it is the SAME odor that the Pentax ME had. Does anybody have any suggestions? As far as I can tell, I will have to return the Minolta G winder.

    Thanks...
     
  2. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    Someone once recommended putting the offending items in a plastic bag with ground coffee for a couple of weeks. Never tried, but I've received some very funky items with odors best not described.
     
  3. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I seem to recall encountering similar advice once, but I believe the item was white bread, not coffee. May Odor-Eaters would work....

    (OTOH, with any of these items, I'd be a little concerned about either adding a new odor or damaging the camera from chemicals, mold, etc.)
     
  4. aparat

    aparat Member

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    I had a smelly camera, too. It smelled of smoked meat when I bought it. I cleaned it and I put it in a bag with a small cup with baking soda and a few packets of desiccant for a few days. It worked great!
     
  5. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    Ground coffee and any camera won't coexist well together. You may get rid of the smell but get some fine dust inside. There are special packs of fridge deodorisers which is in fact backing soda known for absorbing odours. We have a brand here called Arm and Hammer, you may find something similar. The advantage is these paks don't spill over any dust to contaminate the camera. Seal one of these in a ziplog bag with the camera and let it there for a week or so. Nothing is actually 100% guaranteed.
     
  6. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    Many people have suggested wiping the offending equipment with a fabric softener sheet like Fabreze. It seems to work wonders, though I admit to not having tried it myself.
     
  7. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I thank all of you for your suggestions. I have the winder in a zip-lock bag with a cup of baking soda and a few dessicant packs. I gave the winder a quick sniff after 12 hours, and there does not seem to be any change.
     
  8. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    If filmonly is sensitive to artificial scents, I'm betting Febreze bugs them too. I can't stand it, and it hasn't helped to get the doggy odor out of my husbands truck either.
     
  9. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I'm surprised an enzyme-based cleaner didn't do the trick... the stuff is apparently used to clean up crime scenes (according to Mythbusters, anyway). Maybe the area that smells is actually not accessible without taking the item apart.
     
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sometimes leaving the item in the sun (UV) can eliminate the cause of certain organic odors.
     
  11. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    The area that smells is the leatherette. After some cleaning, I cannot quite detect the odor on the body of the winder (i.e. the plastic and metal). Yes, I would not attempt anything with Febreeze, as it is a rather typical chemical-oriented product.
     
  12. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    After discussing the matter with the seller, I found out that Armor All is the culprit. He mentioned that, prior to shipping, he wipes his items with Armor All. I wish folks would stop doing this. Whether sensitive to such chemical smells (i.e. allergic) or not, no one should be inhaling chemical residues. For every chemical cover-up product, there is almost always an alternative natural product.

    Thankfully, a combination treatment of baking soda and enzyme cleaner got rid of most of the odor, and I was able to keep the winder. I have fared very well in cleaning my camera equipment with these products:

    rubbing alcohol
    vinegar
    baking soda
    Bon Ami (not Comet...Bon Ami is natural, but Comet is not)
    organic enzyme cleaners

    Of course, one must use care with any cleaner, but, after cleaning dozens and dozens of pieces of gear, I have yet to have any problems.

    Before I forget: Meltonian leather balm works very well on the leatherette. On camera bodies and grips, I use this as my final treatment (after cleaning). If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to assist, perhaps by starting a thread on "natural camera care."

    Enjoy...