How can I safely mail smelly items?
You will need a few items to do this job correctly:
- Latex gloves (3 pairs)
- New canning jars w/ lids
- Fingernail polish remover
- Paper towels
- Plastic baggies
- Clean/new cardboard shipping box
The goal is to keep odor leakage to an absolute minimum, while reducing the possibility of incriminating forensic evidence (ie: fingerprints).
Put on the gloves, and weigh or measure the smelly item into a new plastic baggie. Do not lick the baggie to seal it. Roll the baggie up loosely and set aside.
Change gloves. Remove a canning jar from the box. A box of canning jars will run $4-8 a dozen, including screw bands and lids- just buy a box and don't handle them until you need them. Take a clean paper towel (if you wanna get fancy, you can use pretty wrapping paper) and line the jar with it, making sure the paper doesn't interfere with lid closure. The paper ensures that the contents are not visible inside the jar.
Carefully insert baggie into jar, making sure the paper towel stays in place. Place lid on jar and screw the band down tight.
Change gloves. Begin by wiping down the shipping box (inside and out) with a clean paper towel to remove any possible fingerprints. Use the right size box for the job, ideally you will want two inches of space between the item being sent and the cardboard, to allow for proper packing. Take a cotton ball or bit of paper towel and moisten it with fingernail polish remover. Wipe the outside of the glass jar, paying careful attention to the screw band and lid.
Loosely crumple a sheet or two of newspaper and place inside the box. Place the glass jar in the middle of the box, and carefully pad it with additional crumpled newspaper. You want to ensure that it has adequate padding on all sides, so that the glass will not break if the box should be dropped or mishandled. Use enough packing material to keep the jar from rattling or thumping around in the box when violently shaken (shake it; if it rattles, add more paper).
By following the first 5 steps, you will have ensured the interior of the box is "sterile" and that the contents are safely and securely packaged for transit. Use a printed shipping label, if possible. A good substitute for a printed shipping label is a professional-appearing label printed on plain printer paper, trimmed to fit and carefully taped in place. Use a real "fake" return address, a good source is the packaging on most common household goods. A good idea is to cover the shipping label completely with tape, to protect it from moisture (if it should get rained on, the ink will run).
Use ONLY clear shipping tape when taping the box, no duct tape!
Your box is now ready to be sent. Be mindful of how you handle the box- remember, leave NO FINGERPRINTS. You can handle the box safely without gloves, just use the back side of your hands to pick it up & tuck it under your arm to casually carry it.