I've got a small pocket closet in a study right next to where I work that is actually a partition of a hall coset in an adjacent building entrance, and therefore not well isolated from it. Recently someone using the adjacent entrance piled some clothing for a few days in the hall closet that appears to have been exposed to mothballs, and the smell lingers. I don't really need my bit of the closet and would like to seal it off so that the mothball smell doesn't get through. I'm a renter (and not handy, and can't have a crew over under current circumstances) so I can't do anything permanent or complicated.

How do I seal off a small closet temporarily with so that the smells there don't leak into the adjacent space? Perhaps there's something I can tape around the opening (a few layers of some airtight material perhaps)?

  • Why not tape aluminum foil over the adjacent wall? It will still take a few days for the smell to completely dissipate, though. – DrMoishe Pippik Jun 5 '20 at 22:10
  • @DrMoishePippik: I only have access to the closet on my side, not the neighboring entry (and I'd like to be discreet: I think the person who caused the smell is a bit embarrassed by it all and want's to avoid the topic). – orome Jun 5 '20 at 22:45

I would get some painters plastic it is thin plastic and it will block smells, I use non bleeding (blue masking tape) to hold it in place so it can be removed without leaving the adhesive residue. Cheap and easy to install , easy to remove.

  • Are there choices of materials from which the painters plastic is made? I want to be sure to get one that's not going to also be off gassing into the confined space of the study. – orome Jun 6 '20 at 16:54
  • All plastics off gas’s to some extent, when purchasing open the bag it comes in and sniff if a strong Oder it’s probably not the right type for you. – Ed Beal Jun 7 '20 at 2:04
  • So are there products that don’t have a strong odor? – orome Jun 7 '20 at 2:12
  • To me they all are fine if anything the “new car smell” when you first open the bag but I have never noticed it later but that may be because the paint is drying. I did use some to seal up the hole in the wall when I removed a fireplace in my current house and I really did not notice any smell – Ed Beal Jun 7 '20 at 14:27
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    That would be a second question but they do make small “make up air” fans that are pressure based they keep a small positive pressure in your house to keep smelly neighbors odor with a common wall from invading your space. The problem is these are designed to be mounted in a wall with a hole cut to the outside the fan keeps the house at a slight pressure based on the setting except when doors or windows are opened They are quiet and some have options for filters to filter the outside air I don’t know of any a renter would use but one may be able to set something like this up in a window. – Ed Beal Jun 7 '20 at 15:20

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