get rid of mercaptant

I need an old 100# LP bottle for use in my shop. I took the valve off three
hours ago and have an air hose line inside the bottle blowing air in for
over an hour now. No sign of the smell abating. SWMBO will cause me serious
bodily harm if I make the house smell like that. Any good ideas to rid an
old bottle of propane smell? Don't say light a match.
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
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To quote "Neutralize by adding household bleach (Clorox, Purex) to the spill area."
Sounds like a quick rinse with dilute laundry bleach would help a bunch. Don't think I'd try it at full strength though, since there might be a reaction of some sort. Anyone know the chemistry?
Pete
Reply to
Pete Snell
You could blow air in there for a long long time and it wouldn't kill that smell, Karl. But if you dump in a cup of bleach and toss it around and then flush with hot water (it will probably be orange, don't worry) it won't stink anymore. See:
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Grant
Reply to
Grant Erwin
I think I read somewhere that mercaptan is chemically similar to skunk juice. A good remedy for that is easy to make with household chemicals. See
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Randal
Reply to
Randal O'Brian
Karl, years ago I made a welding table using old black gas pipe that had not been used in years. Never a hint of smell until I started welding the joints. Then the smell came out pretty strong. So, it was somehow in the little bit of rust in the pipes, or in the steel itself.
If you can get the tank pretty hot while blowing in the air, you may be able to clear 99% of the stuff. A 100 lb tank is pretty big to be putting in the oven. Can you direct some heat from a salamander or something like that onto the tank?
Paul
Reply to
co_farmer
The advice others are giving about bleach alone is ineffective. Typically the stinkum is bound up in greasy petroleum goo stuck inside the tank. You'll need a non-polar solvent to get that out with rinsing and, if you can get inside, mechanical scrubbing. Then you oxidize any residue, such as with heat/air or pH-lowered bulk dilute chlorine bleach. Tough to reach everywhere to get the last detectible odor out.
Reply to
Richard J Kinch
Chlorine bleach water rinse.
Reply to
clare at snyder.on.ca
I used detergent, bleach and hot water in my 100 pounder and the air has NO TRACE of mercapitan now. I use it as a compressor tank.
Reply to
clare at snyder.on.ca
t-butyl-mercaptan is the principle constituent of the smell of a skunk. It's almost all I remember from Organic Chemistry many years ago.
Fitch
Reply to
Fitch R. Williams
I'm glad to see you hangin' around RCM again. My "Fitch tuned" phase converters are still purring along. Hope things are settling in place on your new digs.
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
Like any good perfume, it's more complicated than that.
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Reply to
Richard J Kinch
As others have stated household bleach is an effective method of killing the smell. Although it might not be practical for you the best way to clean it out is to steam it with live steam, rinse with full strength household bleach, and then give it another steaming. Remove the valve, set it upside down and leave a steam lance in it for an hour or so. You could mess with solvents but then you have to get rid of them, I'd check into renting a steam generator, or if you know somebody in the tank truck cleaning business get them to do it.
At the day job dimethyl sulfide is used as a process additive (it is also used as a fuel gas oderant) and bleach is used to kill the stuff off. Steam is also used to clear lines and equipment, but there it's piped around like plant air. It's quite effective and leaves the pipe or tank in question hot enough that it dries very fast, avoiding rusting issues.
Regards Paul
Reply to
Paul
Ah yes, Richard, but you will notice that the page you cite says the deodorizing agent of choice is - household bleach!
I have destinked several propane bottles with bleach. You aren't going to get very far telling me it doesn't work, because it does. Maybe it doesn't get out every last molecule, but bleach/hot water makes it usable again.
Really.
Grant Erwin
Reply to
Grant Erwin
I have had good luck with odors using ozone. I bought a cheap one on E bay and bought one from a pool supply made by prozone. Anyway I originally used it to remove natural gas and other hydrocarbons from water. It oxidizes them out of the water. In your situation I would use ozone and strong surfactant to remove the smell and do just like you read on a shampoo bottle, lather rinse and repeat. Do a little homework on ozone it is good stuff and more powerful than chlorine as an oxidzer.
Scott in Texas
Reply to
jano
About ten purges with air only over a period of a couple weeks have cleared the smell from all five (5,3x20,30 pound) tanks I use. Gerry :-)} London, Canada
Reply to
Gerald Miller
It works on the odorant (I said to use it, pH adjusted etc) but *not* if the odorant is trapped in grease/goo/crud. You need something else to mechanically bust that up and out.
Reply to
Richard J Kinch
Looks like Richard has a point on this job. I soaked the tank in a strong shot of bleach full of water overnight. Its no better this A.M. Looks like my plans to use this tank in the house are off till spring. I'll leave it outside all winter. Maybe time is the cure.
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
It isn't bleach diluted by water, Karl. It's a strong shot of bleach by itself, swirled around to coat the whole inside (for a big tank like that maybe 3-4 cups) followed by a hot water rinse (not cold). Worked for me, anyway.
But I agree, Richard may have something there.
I've had an idea for a long time about the inside of propane cylinders. If you filled the cylinder with an ionic solution (e.g. water & washing soda or lye) and suspended a cylindrical electrode (sheet lead rolled around a dowel?) straight down from the valve opening so it didn't touch the cylinder anywhere, then put DC voltage between the tank and the electrode, I wonder if you could derust the inside. Or blow off most of that black crud anyway.
Worth a try, anyway. You'd need quite a bit of amperage, probably have to use a MIG welder for the power source. Tank would be negative, electrode positive.
Grant Erwin
Reply to
Grant Erwin
Holy mackrel! More information on Skunks than I ever thought of. :-) At least their smell (or is odor?) :-) ...lew...
Reply to
Lew Hartswick
Why not? Works for a pair of motocycle gastanks I did this summer. 3 amps for a couple of days, changed the solution whenever I remembered to.
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