As is usually the case with my online purchases, I bought this bag late at night. It came from China, but surprisingly only took about ten days to arrive (which is really fast in my China-ordering experience). When it arrived, the first thing I noticed was, obviously, how gorgeous it is. The next thing I noticed was the smell.
The bag smelled like it had been dipped in gasoline. It was that new-bag smell x100. And everything that touched it reeked of chemicals, too. (Cue that song, "Smelly Cat," that Phoebe sings on Friends.) I later found out this is called outgassing, which is the process where a material (in this case, the PVC) continues to emit gases trapped inside it (which is apparently also what causes that new car smell, or plastic-y smell when you get a new shower curtain). But this was before I knew anything about that, so I opened up the bag and hung it on my closet hook to air out overnight.
The next morning, I woke up feeling like I had an intense cold. I couldn't breathe out of my nose, my lungs felt tight, my eyes were watery. And my whole room smelled like a burning chemical plant. I immediately removed the bag from my room, opened the window, and my symptoms soon went away. This is when I started doing some googling and learned about outgassing and how incredibly toxic it can be when the material is synthetic. Which is just fantastic because I spent the night locked in a room with all that. I guess it's my own fault for not looking into it beforehand, but I've never dealt with a smell this strong and I assumed it would just quickly go away.
Anyway, for the past month, the bag has been in an empty room elsewhere in the house while it continues outgassing. I've hosed it down with Febreeze multiple times to try and eliminate some of the odor (even though I'm not fully convinced Febreeze pulls out odors like it claims, and it doesn't really soak into the PVC anyway). The smell on the outside of the bag seemed to fade more quickly, but it had also seeped into the material lining and wouldn't seem to let go.
Now, after a month of having the bag turned inside out and checking it every couple of days, I think the smell is finally gone for good and I'm left with just the gorgeous bag. I mean, I imagine I'll develop some pretty horrible health problems down the road from being trapped in a room with all those chemicals overnight (and apparently synthetic materials can emit harmful stuff even after the smell is gone), but at least I'll have a cute cat bag to take to the doctor's office with me.
Stay tuned for the eventual eBay haul video where I'm sure I'll showcase this bag some more.