I have just bought a condo, and the smell of moth balls is wicked, I have removed everything in condo, all furniture, carpets, and stripped the wall paper. I have placed air fresheners in every room (some rooms have more than one) and have aired the house out day and night for a week. Does anyone have any suggestions?PLEASE!
For really serious air cleaning you will probably want to look into getting an ozone machine or ozone generator. Hotels use them to get bad smells out of hotel rooms and they are supposed to be very effective. Maybe try calling around to rental places and see if they have one to rent.
Here is some information from the EPA about potential problems with Ozone:
From this it appears that using Ozone air cleaners indoors is potentially dangerous.
Here's some tips from the EPA:
There are many types and sizes of air cleaners on the market, ranging from relatively inexpensive table-top models to sophisticated and expensive whole-house systems. Some air cleaners are highly effective at particle removal, while others, including most table-top models, are much less so. Air cleaners are generally not designed to remove gaseous pollutants.
The effectiveness of an air cleaner depends on how well it collects pollutants from indoor air (expressed as a percentage efficiency rate) and how much air it draws through the cleaning or filtering element (expressed in cubic feet per minute). A very efficient collector with a low air-circulation rate will not be effective, nor will a cleaner with a high air-circulation rate but a less efficient collector. The long-term performance of any air cleaner depends on maintaining it according to the manufacturer's directions.
Another important factor in determining the effectiveness of an air cleaner is the strength of the pollutant source. Table-top air cleaners, in particular, may not remove satisfactory amounts of pollutants from strong nearby sources. People with a sensitivity to particular sources may find that air cleaners are helpful only in conjunction with concerted efforts to remove the source.
Over the past few years, there has been some publicity suggesting that houseplants have been shown to reduce levels of some chemicals in laboratory experiments.There is currently no evidence, however, that a reasonable number of houseplants remove significant quantities of pollutants in homes and offices.Indoor houseplants should not be over-watered because overly damp soil may promote the growth of microorganisms which can affect allergic individuals.
At present, EPA does not recommend using air cleaners to reduce levels of radon and its decay products. The effectiveness of these devices is uncertain because they only partially remove the radon decay products and do not diminish the amount ofradon entering the home. EPA plans to do additional research on whether air cleaners are, or could become, a reliable means of reducing the health risk from radon.EPA's booklet, http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/residair.html" rel="nofollow" target="new">http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/residair.html Residential Air-Cleaning Devices, provides further information on air-cleaning devices to reduce indoor air pollutants.
For most indoor air quality problems in the home, source control is the most effective solution. This section takes a source-by-source look at the most common indoor air pollutants, their potential health effects, and ways to reduce levels in the home. (For a summary of the points made in this section, see the section entitled "http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/insidest.html#Refguide" rel="nofollow" target="new">http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/insidest.html#Refguide Reference Guide to Major Indoor Air Pollutants in the Home.") EPA has recently released, http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html" rel="nofollow" target="new">http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html Ozone Generators That Are Sold As Air Cleaners.The purpose of this document (which is only available via this web site) is to provide accurate information regarding the use of ozone-generating devices in indoor occupied spaces. This information is based on the most credible scientific evidence currently available.
EPA has recently published, http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airduct.html" rel="nofollow" target="new">http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airduct.html "Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?" EPA-402-K-97-002, October 1997. This document isintended to help consumers answer this often confusing question.The document explains what air duct cleaning is, provides guidance to help consumers decide whether to have the service performed in their home, and provides helpful information for choosing a duct cleaner, determining if duct cleaning was done properly, and how to prevent contamination of air ducts.
I DON'T KNOW IF IT WILL WORK FOR MOTHBALLS, BUT PUTTING A LITTLE VINEGAR IN A BOWL AND SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM ABSORBS/REMOVES A NUMBER OF ODORS FROM THE ROOM. IT'S INEXPENSIVE ENOUGH TO GIVE IT A TRY.
Along with the vinigar (white prefered) you can also sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and place uncovered dishes of the baking soda around the house. I would give extra attention to areas where the mothballs were used, if known. Otherwise I would use more in the closets, and storage spaces. If there is a cellar or attic (crawl space) pay attention there also, you might find that there are mothballs still around as they are used as a deterent for many bugs and pests when a place is going to be left unocupied for a period of time.
Hang bags of cedar chips in areas you may think that the moth balls once were. If the smell is that strong, it would make you wonder if there is a serious moth problem. The cedar chips would also help prevent moths as well as abosorb odor and replace it with a fresher scent.
Light a match or a candle in the rooms. The boiling point of Napthalene is low so the smell will go away. This worked when I moved into my apt in NYC that smelled because the guy who was there for 14 years before me really used it as an office for fabric he imported from Europe for home decor.
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