Remove Musky Scent In Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles last for years and are prone to all kinds of elements from musty storage smells in attics to musky moist smells in basements or garages. Some get swollen from moisture, some get greasy from food and some have an extreme amount puzzle dust inside the bag or box.

Jigsaw Puzzlers have some tips here to help you deal with puzzle dust and smokey, moldy smelling jigsaw puzzles. 

Hickory Sticks (food)

Puzzle Dust

  1. Place the puzzle pieces into a large strainer, the type with the wire mesh and sift the pieces either outside or over the garbage 
  2. Put the puzzle piece into a laundry garment bag that has the holes and shake well over the garbage bin or outside
  3. Use a hand held mini-vac to clean up puzzle area and/or puzzle dust inside the puzzle box
  4. If there is a lot of dust, a mask should be worn 

Musty, Musky Scents

Here are some of the Jigsaw Puzzler's tips and tricks but keep in mind that it really is going to depend on the strength of the scent and whether it is embedded into the puzzle piece board or just surface smells due to the gloss on the pieces. 

However, IF you are allergic, then it may be in your best 'health' interests to not attempt to resolve the issue and move on....

Try some of the tips if your jigsaw puzzle pieces have any of the following situations:

  • Color ink scent
  • Mold or mildew smells
  • Damp puzzle pieces
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Burnt smoke
  1. Let the boxes sit open and air out preferably in direct contact with a fan
  2. Try putting a few dryer sheets in the puzzle box to see if it takes the smell away
  3. Try baking soda on a paper towel set inside the box
  4. Put puzzle piece into a ziploc bag first, then added the dryer sheets.
  5. Spray some Fabreeze on a paper towel, then put in a ziploc bag
  6. Get empty tea bags and put baking soda inside. Seal them up keep them puzzle box. It would absorb any scent over time.
  7. Odor absorbing Charcoal
  8. Try the Febreze powder
  9. Newspapers absorb odor
  10. For MOISTURE -  put the puzzle pieces into a microwave oven along with a cup of water. Microwave for few seconds. Stir the pieces. Repeat until the pieces are very warm. This will remove a lot of moisture and smell.
  11. Then back to the container. It could be a large box or plastic container. Place the book(s) in there with a tray of baking soda, cat litter, or charcoal briquettes. Leave the books in there for a couple of days and the smell should have gone.
  12.  Put dryer sheets inside a vacuum Ziploc bag and pump out all air. Leave for 24 hours
  13. Try sprinkling with baking soda, seal it in a Ziploc, and leave it a day or two. Then sift puzzle pieces through a strainer or laundry bag with holes outside to remove the baking soda.
  14. In a large paper bag put a layer of odor-eliminator Charcoal then, lay two sheets of typing paper, then the puzzle pieces and fold over top. Wait 5 days before opening.
  15. Use "sawdust cloth" on really dusty pieces. They're slightly sticky wipes designed to pick up fine sawdust. Available at hardware stores.

Pet Fur or Other Debris

Now for puzzles that may contain pet fur or other types of debris such as pieces of food etc (you may want to discard immediately if you are allergic) instantly put on the gloves before touching.   

  1. Pick the pieces out  and place into another box 
  2. Clean the box with a Hand-vac or slightly moist hygeneric cloth
  3. Air the box out in front of the direct path of a fan until completely dried
  4. Clean the puzzle pieces (depending on the condition of the pieces) using any of the above methods. 
  5. Layout all the pieces flat onto puzzle boards and allow to completely air dry in the direct path of a fan 

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