Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Soot and odour removal after a fire

Soot and odour removal after a fire

From: Linda Roundhill <artsconservation>
Date: Tuesday, September 3, 2002
Reni Teygeler <rene.teygeler [at] wxs__nl> writes

>Does anyone have any experience in removing soot and the pungent
>odour from monographs after they have been recovered from a fire?

There have been numerous reports of odours removed with something
called zeolites which is a natural mineral with highly absorptive
qualities.  The theory is that when affected objects are enclosed in
a sealed space with this mineral, the odiferous particles given off
are actively absorbed.  I assume that a gradient is maintained which
helps speed up the natural outward migration of the odours (a sort
of  'purified air poultice'?). While some claim that after a few
months, no trace remains of the odour, I have not tried this myself
nor seen it first hand.  It seems unlikely that 100% of the odour is
removed, but supposedly it can be vastly improved by this method.

As I believe water can also be absorbed by zeolites, care should
probably be taken that objects do not become desiccated.  For more
information there is a company in Canada that produces zeolites for
many different industrial applications.  Their URL is

It can be obtained, apparently through many retail sources under
various names, especially in the pet odor elimination industries.

Linda S. Roundhill
Art and Antiquities Conservation
18121 157th Ave NE
Woodinville WA 98072

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:19
               Distributed: Thursday, September 12, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-19-006
Received on Tuesday, 3 September, 2002

[Search all CoOL documents]