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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: 



Basic Method

  1. Remove as much of the dried product as possible.
  2. Ventilate the area.
  3. 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.
  4. Set up a negative pressure containment. Using a 6-mil poly sheeting and Zipwall poles, build a containment area around the affected area.
  5. 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. .
  6. 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 .

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    1. Dri‑Eaz DefendAir HEPA 500 Air Scrubber
      Dri‑Eaz DefendAir HEPA 500 Air Scrubber

      Lightweight, compact, and easy to maneuver, this machine adapts quickly to any job. The HEPA 500 filter offers multi-filtration, an optional carbon filter, variable speeds, and a built-in duct ring.

      • CFM: 250–500 (variable speed)
      • 2-stage standard filtration
      • 3rd stage optional filtration
      • 115V, 3 amps
      $1,029.00 Add to cart to see price
    2. ZipWall® 12, 2‑Pack
      ZipWall® 12, 2‑Pack

      The ZipWall 12-Foot SLP 2 Pack comes with two ZipWall Spring Loaded Poles. This kit really comes in handy when you need extra poles for a big job. It's also an economical way to add poles to your ZipWall system.

      • Handles ceilings up to 12 feet high
      • Confines dust, mold, and moisture to your work space
      • One person can put up a ZipWall in less than five minutes!
      • Create a drying zone to handle water damage jobs
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