Best way to clear epoxy resin fumes
December 27, 2019 11:29 AM   Subscribe

They fixed a hole in my shower today. The smell is abominable. How best to deodorize beyond airing it out and waiting?

Bonus question is how long should I keep my cats out of my apartment? They're at a friends in their basement right now since the smell was making me lightheaded almost immediately.

I'm planning to put down baking soda in addition to just constantly having air flowing with the windows open and I'll go buy a fan.
posted by OnTheLastCastle to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Not much more to do but keep exchanging the air. If you makes you feel better, I've mixed dozens and dozens of pots of epoxy with no observable side effects. Yes, it smells weird.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:35 AM on December 27, 2019

I basically sealed up the bathroom before I left and had decided I'd take my cats elsewhere, woops. My plan is to use various plates/bowls with baking soda on them. Maybe vinegar in separate bowls? I hear using an onion or two cut in half works too.

And weird isn't how I'd describe it so much as pure evil.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:38 AM on December 27, 2019

While the epoxy cures (probably 24h) you should just try to contain the smell. It's going to keep releasing more of it so any efforts you make to absorb it or whatever are not going to be very useful. After that, it should be chemically pretty inert, and won't be giving off much stink, so venting the room or cleaning the air in it will then be more effective.
posted by aubilenon at 11:45 AM on December 27, 2019

Okay, so my sealing the room (towel blocking bottom of the door) was a good idea? Sorry to keep back-and-forthing. I can leave it sealed up all night and just go sleep elsewhere (it's my only bathroom).

I could get a fan to blow on it if that would help. I thought maybe air flow would increase the drying speed as well.

posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:48 AM on December 27, 2019

Does the bathroom have a vent fan? I'd just leave that on without trying to seal up the gaps in the door; the negative pressure should keep any fumes from getting into the rest of the house. (If you do, I'd also close the windows; you won't get negative pressure with them open, and air blowing in could defeat your efforts.)
posted by Aleyn at 11:59 AM on December 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

You want to be exchanging the air, not sealing it up. As said, is there an exhaust vent in the bathroom?
posted by humboldt32 at 12:02 PM on December 27, 2019

Also, vinegar is what you use to clean up after doing epoxy. So I'm not sure what effect that has on fumes in the room. But I don't think it's necessary at all. Nor the baking soda. You're not working with odors in that sense.

Just keep getting fresh air in there.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:04 PM on December 27, 2019

Resin and epoxy fumes are heavier than air, so place a fan at floor level and vent the off gassing out of the window. The floor level fan directed at the epox will encourage drying and oxidation. Brief bathroom encounters should be fairly tolerable, but avoid long term exposure to breathing the fumes. If your weather is humid, it will dry more slowly. Do keep pets clear of the fumes as their smaller body weight will impact them more. The longer you allow it to cure, the stronger it will hold. I personally think the onions and baking soda are ineffective. There are solvent absorbtion beads on the market, but by the time you order and ship, your epox will be dry. I hope this is helpful. Happy New Year.
posted by effluvia at 12:17 PM on December 27, 2019

I would tape a piece of plastic (cut up a trash bag if that's all you have) over the epoxy with blue masking tape. That should contain the fumes. Remove in a week, then air out the room.
posted by H21 at 1:15 PM on December 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

If your weather is humid, it will dry more slowly.

Epoxy resin does not dry, it cures. That is to say the two parts of the epoxy, the resin and the hardener, chemically react, which is causing outgassing. It is not an evaporative process.

Heat accelerates the process, and cold decelerates it, so depending on your weather, a fan blowing outside may be counterproductive. If you have total temperature control, I'd aim for the room to be around 80ºF-100ºF.

I would tape a piece of plastic (cut up a trash bag if that's all you have) over the epoxy with blue masking tape.
That is an excellent idea! Let the epoxy stink itself up, but why should anyone else have to deal with it! (Note that this would not work for a solvent based adhesive, which requires evaporation).
posted by aubilenon at 3:30 PM on December 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

I did tape a bag over it! It helped. It was also just a lot better in my main apartment by the time I returned home 5 hours later. I brought my cats back that night and by the next day, it was like 90% gone. Thanks everyone!

Later I took the bag off and put it in the trash can and now my trash can is still stinky like epoxy woops!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 6:41 AM on December 30, 2019

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