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I work in an office that is in a strip mall. Two units away is a dry cleaner. Some days our office is saturated with the perfume smells from their cleaning agents. I don't know what weather conditions determine if the smell comes in or not, but is there any way to put a filter somewhere that prevents the smell from entering out space, it gives me a horrid headache as I am allergic to perfumes.

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    The only way a filter would work, is if the smell is coming from an air duct. If the smell is general(in the outside/inside air), would need sealing of the office and/or an exhaust fan to the outside(to try to keep the smell down).
    – crip659
    Commented May 12, 2022 at 21:30
  • An activated charcoal air filter can filter smells. You can get an air purifier, which is basically a charcoal/HEPA filter with a fan slapped on it. That will also filter covid. But it won't prevent the smell from getting in, which would be the proper solution...
    – bobflux
    Commented May 12, 2022 at 21:39
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    I’m voting to close this question because it is about commercial spaces, not home improvement
    – mmathis
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 13:48
  • I just logged in to see this question closed. I don't know if there is a rule that the structure in question -must- be a house or apartment, but the principle of the question is good. The same trouble could happen in a house with a next-door cleaner, or an apartment over a first-floor cleaner, and the answers can still apply the same. How does one vote to re-open (if I'm allowed, that is)? Commented May 13, 2022 at 17:22

2 Answers 2

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First thing to consider: does the law in your area require the cleaning company to restrict the fumes from their operation? If it does, and they aren't in compliance, the government may be able to get them to do better, and you might not have to do anything to get clean air.

If the above does not work, one way to keep a smell out of a room is with 'positive air pressure': to pump in cleaned air, such that the pressure from the clean 'pump' is greater than the air pressure coming in from the windows and doors. The air will then flow out the windows and doors instead of coming in, and you'd breathe/smell only the air that came in through the fan or blower.

One might be able to clean the fan/blower air by blowing it through an activated carbon filter. An industrial finishing room gas mask can remove very strong fumes. I don't know if such a filter can be scaled up to a blower-power size, but if so, the filter should be able to cover the fumes. You might be able to research the kind of filter that can handle the cleaning company's perfumes and cleaner fumes.

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    +1 for positive pressure solution; it was my first thought, although the legal aspects are also a good approach. The land owner/leasing company may have some say in the matter as well.
    – fred_dot_u
    Commented May 12, 2022 at 21:51
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is there any way to put a filter somewhere that prevents the smell from entering out space

Probably not.

If your definition of strip mall is the same as mine then my guess is that the perfumes are being legally released outdoors but are getting sucked into the building's fresh air intakes and distributed to all other tenants, not just you. Wind conditions likely affect how much smell makes it into your office.

You would have to convince your landlord to either kick out the drycleaning tenant or invest thousands into having an HVAC specialist engineer a solution; both of these options will cost the landlord money so good luck with that.

Sorry, but the realistic solution is for you to wear a personal respirator.


At my work there is a rear entrance where service vehicles park and unload. They are supposed to turn off their engines because it is directly next to an air intake for the building.

Quite often my entire office gets saturated with diesel engine exhaust and gives everyone a headache in short order. We have to go out there and remind them to turn off their engine.

As you can see, even something as dangerous as carbon monoxide gets a blind eye because HVAC is really, really expensive.

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