Mothball Odor Removal
Mothballs are generally composed of either para-dichlorobenzene (tolerance in air is 75 PPM) or naphthalene (tolerance in air is 10 PPM). The vapor from mothballs as they evaporate is heavier than air, so the vapor sinks down through underlying materials. Mothballs are not water-soluble, so they are resistant to conventional cleaning processes. Mothballs are soluble in alcohol (denatured, ethyl, isopropyl, etc.). Mothball odor problems generally occur when people over apply them.
Base pricing on this job on a time and material basis. Wear appropriate respiratory protection (a respirator with organic vapor pesticide canisters). Rely on engineering controls, ventilation, etc. to lower the respiratory protection levels required. Follow the basic method listed below. Vapors may be desorbed from affected materials by spraying affected areas with denatured alcohol and water solutions. The starting formula for desorbing would be 40% water and 60% denatured alcohol. Be careful because denatured alcohol is highly flammable and poses an inhalation risk.
The following are definite DON'TS in mothball odor removal:
- DO NOT OZONE!
- DO NOT THERMAL FOG!
- DO NOT APPLY ENZYME DEODORIZERS!
- DO NOT ADD ANY PRODUCTS WITH FRAGRANCES!
- DO NOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT ISN’T YOUR PROBLEM!
- Remove as much of the dried product as possible.
- Ventilate the area.
- Add activated carbon to affected areas. This can be placed in containers, which maximize the surface area. It can also be placed into women’s pantyhose or men’s tube socks and hung in HVAC system air handler. Activated carbon filters can be placed in air scrubbers for cleansing the air.
- Set up a negative pressure containment. Using a 6-mil poly sheeting and Zipwall poles, build a containment area around the affected area.
- Measure the cubic feet of your containment (Length x Width x Ceiling Height) and size the proper-sized air scrubber. You should try to attain 4-6 air exchanges per hour. Figure this out by using the following formula: Cubic Feet x 4, divided by 60 = CFM needed to obtain proper negative pressure. Install the air scrubber either inside or outside the containment. .
- If the HEPA air scrubber is inside the containment area, use lay flat ducting to duct the exhaust air outside the containment area. If the air scrubber is outside the containment area, use reinforced flexible ducting to duct the air from the containment area into the intake on your air scrubber .
Warning: Always test materials for colorfastness, follow label directions, and never mix products unless specified in the label directions. Each situation reacts differently and results may vary.
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