Smoke damaged figures, best way to clean and remove smell.

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So I had a fire back in October 2019 and a large part of my collection was destroyed.

I have a few POTF figures that survived but my other set of the last 17 did not.

What is the best way to clean them. They are covered in smoke soot and how to get the smell out of figures?

Thank You
 
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Let them soak in hot water & soap. You may need to scrub them a bit depending on damage. You will likely need to do this several times.

If it is really bad you can try 10% bleach 90% hot water, but try regular soap first as bleach could damage the paint apps.
 
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the smell is hard to get out without damaging figure paint. nearly impossible.
 
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Found a video discussing the removal of the smell of smoke from action figures, the guy below puts them in a bag of kitty litter for a week and then the dishwasher! Cant say I've ever tried it myself, but it might be helpful. I would avoid any chemicals, and stick to soap & water for cleaning beforehand. Another option would be dryer sheets for laundry in a sealed baggie with the figure for a week. Maybe try it on an inexpensive test figure first?

 
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When I've gotten figures from folks who were cigarette smokers, I've had success with sealing in plastic tubs with dryer sheets. I don't know if there would be much impact to having them touch, but trying to keep chemicals off the figs, I've used a tub large enough to have room for 'social distancing' :)
 
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Don't ask me how I came to try it or why it worked, but I've always put them in a bag of (Loose) baking soda, then put the bag in the freezer. Take them out after a couple days, bust out the soft bristle toothbrush and a little dish soap.
 
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Don't ask me how I came to try it or why it worked, but I've always put them in a bag of (Loose) baking soda, then put the bag in the freezer. Take them out after a couple days, bust out the soft bristle toothbrush and a little dish soap.
What type of figures did you put in the freezer - vintage or modern? I've noticed that freezing temperatures tend to make figures more brittle, which can lead to snapped limbs, etc. I've only had the issue with modern, Kenner figures tend to be more sturdy.
 
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Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. Charcoal and/or newspapers in a sealed container can work, too. Vinegar works well, too. Rub with vinegar, allow to set for a while, then rinse. Not sure if vinegar will do anything to the paint, though.
 
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What type of figures did you put in the freezer - vintage or modern? I've noticed that freezing temperatures tend to make figures more brittle, which can lead to snapped limbs, etc. I've only had the issue with modern, Kenner figures tend to be more sturdy.
Interestingly, I was speaking mostly of modern. Which I should have mentioned given the subforum. I haven't run into a lot of smokey vintage figures.

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. Charcoal and/or newspapers in a sealed container can work, too. Vinegar works well, too. Rub with vinegar, allow to set for a while, then rinse. Not sure if vinegar will do anything to the paint, though.
That was the weird bit about it, I'd had mixed results with just baking soda, then for some reason I slung the bag in the freezer one day and it seemed to work much better.

Newspapers is an interesting one, I'd like to try that sometime.
 
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Just wanted to add another 'do not use.' Don't use Magic Erasers (those white foam pads you moisten) to clean anything. They clean with a process called microabrasion, which can leave scratches on plastic, especially shiny plastics. Even for regular plastics it can give them a more matte appearance.
 
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Yeah, I agree, anything abrasive can dull the luster of the plastic and make it look more matte. I've used a scrub brush to aggressively remove some paint from a figure and it dulled the luster away - a soft toothbrush (paired with soap & water) works wonders though, and it actually feels rewarding restoring a vintage figure.
 
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Yeah, I got some figures in a lot once that looked bad, but I had my suspicions they may clean up. There were several nice/desirable figures, with a nice scarred COO Vader and China Luke being a couple, at a nice price. Luke cleaned up rather nicely and his value is nearly what I paid for the whole lot. Very rewarding. :)
 
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What I am reading regarding vinegar is that it will work to remove smoke smell, but start with it diluted in water. Soak it in the solution for a while and then rinse and wipe off. Vinegar has a low amount of acidity and should not be to harmful to the paint. Try it with some less-important/valuable figures first. Increase ratio of vinegar as needed.
 
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Maybe very warm water over a long period of time? I would get a sample, sooted figure and start in order of intensity;

Warm water
Dishwashing liquid
Boiling water
laundry powder
Spray cleaners for car interiors
Alcohol

After this, I find not much more solution than to put them to the dishwasher at full power. If the soot hasnt gone, you can always try acetone, but that will eventually remove even the plastic.

About the smell, I have the same problem,but with figures with cat pee smell on them. I've cleaned them 3 times with boiling water and everything i have, and they still reek. I've tried bicarbonate soda,in a bag for months, nothing. Somebody knows any other tip? I rather not put them in the freezer to avoid possible breakage.
 
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For cat pee have you tried cleaning it with pet stain remover? May need to soak it.
 
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Maybe very warm water over a long period of time? I would get a sample, sooted figure and start in order of intensity;

Warm water
Dishwashing liquid
Boiling water
laundry powder
Spray cleaners for car interiors
Alcohol

After this, I find not much more solution than to put them to the dishwasher at full power. If the soot hasnt gone, you can always try acetone, but that will eventually remove even the plastic.

About the smell, I have the same problem,but with figures with cat pee smell on them. I've cleaned them 3 times with boiling water and everything i have, and they still reek. I've tried bicarbonate soda,in a bag for months, nothing. Somebody knows any other tip? I rather not put them in the freezer to avoid possible breakage.
with a few figures I’ve had luck with soaking them in distilled white vinegar overnight to a day to get out the smell.
 
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Wow! A lot of good advise here!!! Maybe this one is not approve for everyone, but have you try the opposite, something that smell good (not to strong)? And for the ones that have not remedy, customizing is an option to explore. Hope everything goes well.
 
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Mmmm, I don't have any pets, so first I would prefer trying things I have around (luckily, the contaminated figures are just custom fodder, but man, the smell is so intense that I can hardly bear working on them!).

Vinegar seems a good idea, I'll try it next time I get some groceries. Vinegar is very bad for metals, but this are all plastic (old Marvel Legends). Wouldn't try it too much on good figures, as maybe it discolours paint.

Comicaluser, yes, I know :) . I use it many times myself. It is simply the last resort, as acetone will take nearly anything and everything in it's way. Sometimes nail remover contains less acetone, so it is better to use it for cleaning.

Litofett, I tried parfum, but it just mixes with the smell and is even worse!!
 
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Very late to the party but I have had some luck with baking soda scrub for smell absorption, even in plastic. I also use baby wipes to try and help.
 
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I tried leaving the figures about 6 hours in vinegar, and it worked quite well. Now they smell of vinegar, maybe a slight something else, but they are acceptable, I am not going to sniff them every 5 minutes :) . So thanks for the tip, it worked ;) .
 
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Apple cider vinegar works just as effectively but has a more pleasant smell. Costs a bit more, too, however.
 
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