This is topic Vinegar Syndrome Odor Cure in forum 16mm Forum at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on July 11, 2014, 02:59 PM:
I believe I have found a cure odor of VS. I recently got back into 16mm and bought a cheap 2k film that I knew had VS. I was think of a way to try and rid the smell. I thought of Fabreeze after watching the TV commercial. When it said it "breaks down" odors and eliminates them I immediately thought of VS. So here is what I did. I took the film out of the plastic can and sprayed it generously with Fabreeze on both sides of film. Then I put it back in the can for 2 days not opening it. On the 3rd day I opened the can and BaddaBoom! No VS odor. I hasn't come back yet and it has been 3 days. Somebody else try this a report back please.

[ July 12, 2014, 06:40 PM: Message edited by: Pasquale DAlessio ]
Posted by Roger Shunk (Member # 2836) on July 11, 2014, 03:32 PM:
This is an interesting concept here but looking at the ingredient label for febreze it's has some really harsh chemicals in it.
You may just be just covering up the VS smell on the outside of the film at that's it. Films with VS I guess you would have nothing to loose anyway so maybe this is worth trying. Any particular scent of febreze or just the plain?
Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on July 11, 2014, 03:48 PM:
The scent I used is Spring Renewal. I haven't seen and damage to the film yet. If this stays as is this is awesome.

Is it possible something so simple can solve this? Stay tuned and find out!

Posted by Michael De Angelis (Member # 91) on July 11, 2014, 04:14 PM:
Anything is possible unless you try.

If there is any slight amount of water in Fabreeze it may have helped too.

I had used Film Renew on reel two of a 16mm print of Way Out West when it began to emit a slight vinegar smell.

I immersed the metal reel in a metal can with enough Film Renew to cover the bottom and with lid on for 6 months to a year.

I believe that any small holes in the film were sealed and it stopped the film that was in the beginning stages of breakdown.

If a film is scratch coated or sealed with products that permanently cover scratches, then there is not any solution that would inhibit the breakdown process.

Some people have had good results by using Vitafilm with the same method that I had employed.

I think that I read that other collectors used Film Guard in a similar fashion.
Posted by Michael O'Regan (Member # 938) on July 11, 2014, 04:15 PM:
Evience is that VS can't be cured.

Eliminating the smell doesn't halt the process, unfortunately.
Posted by Maurizio Di Cintio (Member # 144) on July 11, 2014, 09:41 PM:
I second that, Michael: the smell is just a symptom, the illness remains... Unless Pat has watched his film after this "treatment" and found out the colors have been restored...
Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on July 11, 2014, 11:49 PM:
It's on a B&W film. What I meant was the VS smell was gone. That in itself is cool. I do realize that it is not completely gone but the smell is at least. It's a step in the right direction.
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on July 12, 2014, 10:59 AM:
Anything that gets rid of that awful smell is a great help.
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on July 12, 2014, 12:13 PM:
This sounds great Pat. I have about 10 400 ft. 16mm home movie reels that have a very bad chemical smell. I thought it was VS at first ... but my cousin who sent me the films to transfer says they have always smelled that way. I'm going to try your Fabreeze solution. Getting that smell out would be wonderful. Thnx Pat!
Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on July 12, 2014, 01:35 PM:
I had also smelling films (but not VS). Where does that come from ?
Posted by Brad Miller (Member # 2) on July 12, 2014, 04:04 PM:
As stated above, there is no cure for VS...although to cover up the odor might make the film able to be brought back into the house to run it! [Wink]

I know FilmGuard covers up the odor and lubricates the film so it can run through a projector without too much stress. I've heard similar reports on other cleaners. My concern with Fabrese is that it isn't designed as a film cleaner, so you may find in 6 months the film is literally glued together, or you could actually be making a NEW odorless chemical gas that could be worse (either to that print or others in the same room).

It's a very interesting test, but I would keep that print completely separated from all other prints for at least a year before even considering using it on another print. For example I had FilmGuarded test prints in beta test sites and various rolls in torture storage conditions for 10 years before I released the product to the public. Time is everything here, and it's possible one year may not even be enough, but I wouldn't consider anything less.

(By the way, take half of the film and rewind it once a month to give us status results and keep the other half on a reel without unwinding it for the full year.)

Do please let us know the results.
Posted by Michael De Angelis (Member # 91) on July 12, 2014, 04:32 PM:
Do not use Fabreeze. It's not an approved for films.

Only use Film Renew, Vitafilm and Film Guard on films.

There are cleaners that are approved in Great Britain too.

I once purchased a cleaner from Derann. It was toxic, but it had a smell of camphor to it.

My films were rejuvenated when I used it and they became the most pliable films in my entire collection.

If it's a chemical smell that you experience then leave the films alone. It may be only the chemicals from the film processing.

Some "TV Prints" have been known to have been scratch coated to hide scratches.

I need to clarify that films that have been scratch coated or sealed may eventually develop vinegar and there is not any treatment that will help or cure it.

If it smells of chemicals then only air out the films, or keep them in a cardboard box and not sealed. Films need to breathe.

Keep the films away from heat, and high humidity climates. A stable climate is necessary. Kodak recommends 72 degrees with 42% relative humidity. Do not freeze the films in the 'fridge.

Films also get VS if they were not prepared properly during the developing and washing process.

Store the films preferably against an inside wall and not facing an outside wall in the house.

I keep my home movies in a closet that is not facing or against an outside wall.
I do not recommend a moldy basement.

VS may not be curable, but there are collectors that have experienced good results with the products and techniques that I mentioned and I attest that my results on the Way Out West feature was successful and it's not masking or covering up a vinegar smell. The Film Renew chemical smell is not present anymore and the film does not have any foul odor. Instead it has the smell of fresh film.

If a film has vinegar, then it must be kept separate and away from other films in a collection. VS has been known to infect good films.

I once had films with severe vinegar syndrome before the films began to spoke on the reel and I was never able to rejuvenate those films. But if you don't try, these recommendations that I mentioned earlier then you will never know if you can salvage the film.

I rather try to help the film, then not trying at all.

If you truly like a film, then isn't it worth a shot to try to reverse the process, providing that VS has not advanced too much on a film?

I wish everyone the best with their film collections and I only want to share my experience which has been positive.
Posted by Michael O'Regan (Member # 938) on July 12, 2014, 04:49 PM:
I see no harm in trying this experiment with Febreze as long as the film is a print which you won't be too upset to lose if it all goes wrong.

After all, scientific progress has to be research based.
Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on July 12, 2014, 06:39 PM:
Thanks Mike. Maybe I should have said remove smell of VS and not cure? Of course it is and old film but I was amazed that the smell went away. I check it today and it still doesn't smell. So the damaging process still goes on but at least the smell is gone. Isn't that the most annoying about VS? So I edited my original post and it's title.
Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on July 12, 2014, 10:49 PM:
If VS is contagious, what should you use to clean the projector with after projecting the infected film ?
Posted by Dino Everette (Member # 1378) on July 13, 2014, 12:44 AM:
Dominique I would use alcohol to clean your projector after running a vinegar print, since you'll want something that will clean but also not stick around like some of the slow drying cleaners just to ensure that nothing has been left behind. In fact I try and run some alcohol through the projector after each reel, or each feature at the very least.
Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on July 13, 2014, 04:40 AM:
As far as alcohol, I recommend Jack Daniels!
Posted by Dan A. Caprio (Member # 2089) on July 13, 2014, 07:34 AM:
Whenever I purchase a film from someone I keep it in a film can for a couple of days...if it has VS beginning my nose will pick up the smell...after being confined for that brief of a time...always do this when buying a film and you should be ok

I have never purchased a print where someone "recently cleans their films before shipping them out" as some ebay sellers...usually its a sign in my opinion of someone covering up the VS smell.

If a print goes in and out of focus its usually a sign of beginning or advanced VS

Use Ad strips when in doubt on your purchases or to monitor your collection.

As far as others have stated....NO... [Eek!]
You might as well use Cigar Smoke ... [Razz]

As far as a VS cure...There is None....Only Life Support...for a short time.. [Cool]

Now Blue Track Vomit Smell is another story...I just love the smell... [Smile]
Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on July 13, 2014, 11:49 AM:
I merely stated what happened when I tried it. So are you saying I'm a liar. What do you mean by NO? If I try something and it works why not post it to help others. have you ever tried Fabreeze? if you haven't then you shouldn't say NO! That being the case I won't bother posting anything else for you negative people to cut up.
Posted by Michael O'Regan (Member # 938) on July 13, 2014, 12:29 PM:

Don't worry about it. Give it a go. As I said, I can't see any harm here as long as the print in question is not a treasured print.

Incidentally, I'm not convinced that VS is contagious. This is a process which comes from within the film, is it not?
Posted by Dan A. Caprio (Member # 2089) on July 13, 2014, 01:03 PM:
By NO I mean I wouldn't recomend an unproven product not meant for film to be applied to film.

I'm quite sure the vs smell is disguised as you stated but by no means cured...Just worried about some new collectors appling this product to their films and finding bad results down the line...stick with a product meant for film and developed by people in the industry... [Smile] No offense intended

There is a well known collector who's been around forever...he swears he has a cure for Blue Track "Vomit Smell" long story short suspending reels above bucket of bleach....gets rid of the smell but guess what it smells like.. [Confused] ...Bleach supposedly...Now would I recomend this or try it on any of my prints....NO...who knows what long or short term bleach vapors have affect on Blue Track Color prints...


Posted by Michael De Angelis (Member # 91) on July 13, 2014, 02:49 PM:

It's your print, and if you wish to treat the film in that fashion that is your choice.

I keep VS infected films in my garage and far away from the collection inside the house.

I agree with Dino that the projector should be cleaned with alcohol.

I still stand by my experience in using Film Renew to eliminate early VS. If there is a time in the future I will use Vitafilm and

if these will not work then I too will use Fabreeze.

[ July 15, 2014, 09:31 PM: Message edited by: Michael De Angelis ]
Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on July 13, 2014, 05:18 PM:
Personally I would not use Fabreze on film prints in my collection that do not have a VS smell, or if the film smells of chemicals. Leave well enough alone. If it's not broke, then don't try to fix it. This is just my 2 cents.

I didn't say a damn thing about treating good films with Fabreeze. All I said was I treated a print that I had with VS and the smell went away. i wanted somebody else try try it an report back. man you guys can be so friggin picky you really pis me off. i will NEVER post any advice her again. It ain't worth the aggravation! Ya try to be helpful and share info amd people crawl out of the wood works to bust chestnuts. never again. I'm done.
Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on July 13, 2014, 08:07 PM:

Don't leave us! Everyone is entitled to their opinion...for and against. There are folks here who have treated their films with WD-40, Armor All and even coffee and vitamin C (for B&W processing!). If a film already has been stricken with VS, there's no known cure, so why not try something different?

Posted by Michael De Angelis (Member # 91) on July 13, 2014, 09:31 PM:
I apologize to Pasquale and to all collectors.

No offense.
Posted by Adrian Winchester (Member # 248) on July 13, 2014, 09:43 PM:
I'll also say to Pat: "Please don't leave." Everything is a matter of opinion and I was interested to hear about the test described.

As an example of a different point of view regarding VS, dare I say that personally I think it's a waste of time cleaning a projector that has projected a VS film. VS isn't a virus, it's a chemical reaction. The chances of miniscule amounts of VS-induced gas setting off VS while a subsequent print momentarily goes through a projector is virtually impossible in my opinion, but if anyone thinks otherwise and can find the time for extra cleaning, good luck to them.

I'm inclined to think that cases where VS appears to have spread in a big way are linked to situations in which a lot of prints have been stored in too hot conditions. There have been cases in which people have found a VS print right next to another on the same reel, and the other print is fine. Clearly some films are more susceptible than others.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on July 13, 2014, 09:43 PM:
Hey Pat,

You have been a friendly face on this Forum for years and it wouldn't be the same without you.

Do what you want with your films, but please keep posting here.
Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on July 13, 2014, 10:33 PM:
What's wrong with reporting an experience made on a copy that was on the way to be lost anyway ? As he said, Pat did not advise to repeat it on good prints. And, Doug, thanksfully, Pat did not say neither that he would leave us !
Posted by David Guest (Member # 2791) on July 14, 2014, 08:00 AM:
try shake and vac its puts the freshness back
Posted by David Ollerearnshaw (Member # 3296) on July 14, 2014, 10:18 AM:
Pat take one Jack Daniels if you want a mixer with it just put two shots of JD in add ice, drink slowly and savour it.

All this while watching your favourite film.

SHEER BLISS [Wink] [Smile] [Smile] [Smile]
Posted by Paul Barker (Member # 4318) on July 14, 2014, 11:52 AM:
nice one david. gave me a laugh, that did.
Posted by Michael O'Regan (Member # 938) on July 14, 2014, 12:28 PM:
As an example of a different point of view regarding VS, dare I say that personally I think it's a waste of time cleaning a projector that has projected a VS film. VS isn't a virus, it's a chemical reaction.
Yes, I agree. It's not contagious, as I said a few posts earlier.
Posted by Roger Shunk (Member # 2836) on July 15, 2014, 08:52 AM:
Greetings fellow film enthusiasts!

Ok I took Pat's Febreze challenge and applied it on a VS Film.
I did this on Saturday and used the Hawaiian Aloha scent and placed it in the can and checked it this morning and no VS Smell!
It's like one of my magic tricks the VS smell totally disappeared
Amazing! Thanks for sharing Pat

Also on the subject of Pat he made me a really nice black vinyl dust cover for my Elmo ST-1200HD. He even added the ELMO name logo on the front of the cover. (Elmo would be proud) It sure beats my plastic bag I was using and his price was really reasonable for all the work he put into this project. So if anyone is interested in a custom dust cover for your projector PM Pat.
Posted by David Ollerearnshaw (Member # 3296) on July 15, 2014, 10:17 AM:
Roger, What was the film called. When I read your post my brain inserted Elvis in to Hawaiian Aloha, we could have smell-o-vision [Big Grin]
Posted by Roger Shunk (Member # 2836) on July 15, 2014, 11:15 AM:
Yeah David anything is possible! The print was TV western laredo.
Posted by Pete Richards (Member # 2203) on July 16, 2014, 07:16 PM:
I used febreeze on a stinky 35mm reel of 'TOYS' that had a severe VS. I did it purely as an experiment as it was a faded odd reel anyway.
That was in march of 2013, the film still has no odour and there don't appear to be any ill effects so far. The reel was run once in April, and I ran it again this morning after reading this thread and being amazed that someone else was crazy enough to give it a go.

So, not exactly evidence that it won't wreck a film, but just over a year in and it doesn't appear to have caused any damage so far, and my shed doesn't smell like salad dressing any more.
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on July 16, 2014, 07:53 PM:
Pat and Pete...Your willingness to think Out-of-the-box is a refreshing example of serendipity. Creativity and discovery is what we need to extend the life cycle and the enjoyment we get from this hobby. "Nothing ventured...nothing gained." Thanks guys [Smile]
Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on July 21, 2014, 02:05 PM:
It is interesting to learn that the smell doesn't come back after several months. That would worth further investigations.
Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on July 21, 2014, 02:19 PM:
Thank you Michael. That is very kind of you. Well accepted! [Wink]

Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on October 01, 2014, 06:14 PM:
A French lab's service :
Posted by Gary Crawford (Member # 67) on October 06, 2014, 06:33 AM:
Sometimes I feel that the vinegar smell of film is similar to pain in a person. The pain is telling you something is wrong with your body. The vinegar smell in film is telling you something is wrong with that film.....that the chemical decomposition is ongoing. From all I have read and heard from experts, masking the smell merely hides the fact that the film is still deteriorating. It also opens up the possibility that a person selling films could use whatever type compound to mask the smell and sell the vinegar syndrome films to unsuspecting buyers.
Posted by Kevin Hassall (Member # 2352) on October 06, 2014, 08:33 AM:
doug is right pat your comments on here are a treasure to us [Razz]
Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on October 06, 2014, 10:56 AM:
Thanks Kevin.
Posted by Adrian Winchester (Member # 248) on October 06, 2014, 07:33 PM:
Would be interesting to try an A-D strips test on a film that has been treated and no longer smells.
Posted by Tommy Woods (Member # 2437) on October 11, 2014, 05:45 AM:
Feel the lurve Pat [Wink]
Posted by Scot Myers (Member # 6626) on April 19, 2019, 04:01 PM:
I know this is an old thread, but has anybody else tried using Febreze to mask the vinegar odor smell? I'd like to try it but want to see if anybody has seen any ill effects.

As long as this doesn't accelerate vinegar syndrome then I'd be all for it.
Posted by Clyde Miles (Member # 4032) on April 19, 2019, 04:38 PM:
scot no cure for vs, don't use fabrize its water based and will destroy film
Posted by Terry Sills (Member # 3309) on April 20, 2019, 01:46 AM:
Don't take the criticism to heart. I also have tried a formula which I posted on here and received negative comments, but if a film is affected anything is worth a try because it is doomed anyway. Unless people try then nothing will be achieved. I love to read your posts. You have a great sense of humour, which always makes me smile and lightens up sometimes dull posts.
Please do not leave us [Confused]
Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on April 20, 2019, 10:48 AM:
I will gladly point out that Pat kindly drops by every so often with a friendly hello.

Posted by Daniel D. Teoli Jr. (Member # 6043) on April 29, 2019, 08:56 AM:
Well, that is how most forums are. Don't worry about the critics. Just do your tests and move on. Lots of anal people, esp collectors.

I will give it try but I will soak it in Fabreze and then dry it off to age after a few days. But then it has to be aged a long time to see how archival it is.

Larry Urbanski gave me some good advice. He said to air out the films for 6 months or so on a shelf. Then the smell becomes very low or goes away in some cases. Put it in a ventilated can and it should slow down the decomposition. If you can freeze, then all the better. I can't freeze, so I air out. If you can't fix VS, slow it down.

Here are a couple of posts on this subject where I did tests.


I also tested Filmrenew. Great for cleaning and lubrication. But nothing much for VS.

Here is something on Vaporate. I wish I knew what the formula was! /11/20/vaporate-film-preservation/

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