Chemical Scrubber

Hey ya’ll its good to see swaylocks back up. Ok what can you do to get rid of the smell through an exhaust system. im thinking of trying to make a charcoal filter and pump hte exhaust through that. any other ideas? better ways? Thanks Austin S

You know, that’s a good question… and other than maybe some of the stuff they use for getting the gas spills out of groundwater, I didn’t know much about it. Got me thinking and looking around some.

The only arrangement I saw other than carbon filters that looked like it might work for organic vapors in air was one that used refrigeration to chill the air so that the vapors condensed - basicly, it would rain or form a kind of chemical dew in this really cold area. You could, I suppose, put a freezer element or finely spaced grid between some absorbent material like cotton wool and then change that now and then, though you’d have water condensing too which might tend to be a real problem for the system… nah, that charcoal filtration would be the best. My suggestion would be to draw the air through the charcoal and recirculate it in the glassing room.

Just for laughs, I’ll bet that a reasonably good shop-vac with a plain old relatively inexpensive respirator filter taped to the end of the hose might accomplish something - those small vaccums are good for up to 300 cubic feet of air per minute and that means you’d run through all the air in a 10x10x8 room every three minutes. Even if it was a third of that, you’d be effectively filtering all the air every eight minutes or so - certainly be worth a try as an experiment. You’d use up a filter fairly quick and the noise would be annoying, but if it worked you could do something on a larger scale with a quieter blower, say a charcoal filter mounted on one side of a simple window fan or squirrel cage blower sucking air through it.

An outfit that specialises in activated charcoal for air filtration, made from coconut shells, believe it or not:

Hope that’s of some use, and keep us posted


Thanks for the answer doc. Anyone else tried anything?

I’ve used a homemade air scrubber and they work great. There are many ways to do it, but basically you just need to have a blower either sucking or pushing air through a filter containing activated carbon. Get a blower with enough cfm that when you attach the filter, it won’t slow down so much due to pressure that it won’t circulate enough air.

I have a simple, small box with a 500cfm blower in it. Real quiet. I take a 14" by 20" blue air filter and dump a quart of activated carbon on it (from the pet store – cheap) and spread it out. This reduces pressure buildup. I then take another filter and place it on top (like a sandwich) and tape the two together. You now have a disposable charcoal filter that fits on the open top of the box the blower is in. It will keep a small glassing room free of fumes for a couple boards. A quart of charcoal from the pet store runs about $5, which isn’t bad if clearing the fumes is critical. Not bad for a quick remedy.


The problem is moisture creating a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Like Doc said, use an adequate charchol filter, and change it as recommended.

Ironically, some of the worst odors are because of old, infested, clogged filters. Also, dehumidifiers/dessicant packs are often advised as a means of drying out the ventilation system.

I`ve been told by professionals that scrubbing out the ventilation system with a combination of soda bicarbonate (baking soda), vinegar and water is an inexpensive method of eliminating sources of odor, too.


Where might a find a 500cfm blower? Think a shop vac would work?

It’d be apretty good sized shop-vac. Depending on how tight a filter you have, you could use one of those window exhaust/ventilation fans - it doesn’t need to draw a high vaccum with a filter as described above, just needs to pull a lot of air. You might have to build a box to make the filter fit one side of the fan ( depending on the size of your fan and filters) , but that’d be a little plywood and some glue or leftover resin, or foam sheet plus glass and resin.

hope that’s of use


Most of our ventalation here, is run by filters behind whole house attic fans that run at about 1500 CFM Available at home depot and lowes for about 140.00, Works great.

Thanks to all for the tips. In an effort to save money, I tried using a 20" box fan ($10 @ Target), 2 cheap blue 20x20x1" air filters ($0.59 ea.@ Home Depot), small bag of activated carbon used in fish aquariums ($5.50 @ any pet store). I suspended the box fan from the ceiling approximately 3 feet above glassing racks with the fan roughly parallel to ceiling (to help keep carbon in-place on filters). I positioned the fans to draw airflow upward thru the filters. For the filters I simply placed one filter on the upper face of the fan, then spread the carbon over the filter, then placed the other filter on top of the carbon and taped around the edges. It’s fairly crude, but it works quite well in my 800ft^3 area. At $17 more than one could work in a larger area. I sealed the room off, so the fumes basically recirculate thru the system until clean. It works so well that my neighbor who was VERY unhappy with the polyester resin fumes has thanked me for stopping use of them after I had hot coated two boards a bit earlier.