OMG Civet - Make it go away

    OMG Civet - Make it go away

    post #1 of 20
    Thread Starter 

    So I have spent this weekend experimenting with diluting my materials, learning their smells and trying my hand at combining some for a test cologne (coconut one I posted about earlier).

    Well, my fiance decided "help" (even though I know more about this than he does...which is barely anything at this point) and†thought a good addition might be civet. †Based on what I've read about civet I warned him about opening the bottle, but he did...without gloves even,†and then washed some down the sink, and now it is everywhere and I can't get the smell to go away. †It's even hovering around the closed bottle that I put back in my cupboard area because some got on the outside I guess.

    It smells TERRIBLE...so bad...it smells like how durian fruit tastes combined with mothballs.† †We have all doors and windows open, and its just not getting any less stinky, and this was hours ago. †If I store my civet bottle somewhere else...like a garage (even though it gets quite hot in there) would that be a problem?

    Any advice to get it off the skin, since he has it all over his fingers now?

    Are there any room sprays I might be able to make...or oils to put on a lightbulb that might help cancel out the civet smell?

    Thank you guys

    post #2 of 20

    You might try some oxidizing agents to get rid of it.† Chlorox solutions for hard, unbleachable surfaces or white fabric, and maybe household hydrogen peroxide solution for hands.

    Edit:

    I'm looking at what sorts of household chemicals, used safely, might provide suitable reactions for the sorts of chemicals which might be in DIY civet.† Your civet presumably contains a variety of musky things, probably mostly macrocyclics.† Macrocyclic esters (large-ring lactones) can by hydrolyzed by acid or base, but the worst-case scenario is going to be cycloalkanones and cycloalkenones like civetone.† Those are resistant to acid-base chemistry, not easy to wash out because they're oily (hydrophobic), and the main handle to do something is a secondary ketone, which is fairly resistant to further oxidation.† Doing something fancy like forming a hydrazide from the ketone and washing out with acid would be possible, but the whole thing becomes logistically messy for people who aren't chemists - you need household stuff used safely - not weird chemicals that are hard to get and could have nasty side-effects if you're not careful.

    Hypochlorite (Chlorox) is normally great stuff, but it is actually used to MAKE secondary ketones - not degrade them.† And the things that degrade secondary ketones are few.† HOWEVER, one of them is easy to get in several forms - peroxides.

    I suspect that you might have success with something similar to what is used to degrade skunk smell - a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.† In the case of skunk, you are oxidizing thiols to sulfonates.† Here is a link to an article for skunk deodorization:† https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Removal_of_Skunk_Odor/Removing_Odor

    For oxidizing civetone, you would be looking at what amounts to a Baeyer-Villiger oxidation (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baeyer-Villiger_oxidation) followed by hydrolysis.† Normally this takes place with acid, although not exactly strong acid.† A lot of different "peracids" can do the reaction, and that MAY include the ones that are used in bleaching detergents.

    SO - what I'm thinking are two possibilities.

    One would be a strong solution of a bleaching detergent that you could mix up from a bleaching laundry detergent and water.† You can test that pretty easily on a stinky surface to see if the combination of surfactant action and oxidation works.

    Another possibility is to try the OPPOSITE acid/base trick that is used for skunk.† So instead of baking soda (base), use an acid like vinegar.† That would mean a combination of hydrogen peroxide (weak 3% medicinal stuff only!!!) and vinegar.† You could base it on what is used for skunks, substituting vinegar for baking soda solution.† But don't mess around with a strong acid, please!!!† That will just cause trouble.† Stay away from anything except vinegar, IMO.

    Third possibility is that the skunk method (baking soda and peroxide) works.

    Fourth possibility!† Baking soda and peroxide toothpaste!

    I would test this out with Kouros, except I don't really smell civet very much.† I'd have to use my wife, and she smells it very easily.† Plus she's already asleep! :wink:

    post #3 of 20

    Since civet is a potent fixative, that'll be hard. Try RP's suggestions, but the smell will linger for a while. Apparently, civet was used on its own a lot in XVIII century London (when presumably the sidewalks smelled far worse than that), so you're experiencing a trip in the past.

    If the garage gets very hot, it'd be a waste to store your civet there. You should however store your civet bottle in a couple of ziploc bags, to minimize odors. (and wipe it clean, glass doesn't keep smells when cleaned)

    Civet does well with jasmine, so after you've done all the cleaning above, spray some jasmine and pretend ...

    cacio

    post #4 of 20
    Thread Starter 

    Thank you both! †Wow, I'm glad I don't live back in those ages!

    post #5 of 20
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WaywardspiritView Post

    Thank you both! †Wow, I'm glad I don't live back in those ages!

    You're welcome!† I updated my suggestion - I've been trying to research this a little.† Although I love cacio's suggestion of jasmine.† I am very fond of some musky jasmine scents.† Like they say, when you've got lemons, make lemonade! :wink:

    post #6 of 20

    Oh boy! I have no tricks but only bad news. This could last for a few months. I would not add jasmine because it has indole. Then you are adding to the funk, effectively amplifying it. Rose might be better. There might be some notes that can mask it, but I'm afraid that I do not know them. I would go for the fresh and clean, like sweet orange (a common masking agent) or lavender, maybe pine and so on. But your best bet is just to try to remove it. I sincerely hope for you there is something that works in Red's generous reaction. Good luck!

    post #7 of 20

    I can't even keep my bottle of civet in the house -- it's that strong!

    Best of luck!

    post #8 of 20
    Thank you SO much for your mention of durian fruit!!! smile.gif OK, I've never smelled or tasted it, but I've heard tell, and it's very interesting to hear it compared to civet. My partner thinks the civet base I have (which is pretty mild to me) smells like "bad breath" and cannot abide it. (I actually agree with the bad breath thing--I've always found civet bases to smell like rotting teeth.) He doesn't mind my para-cresol, though. But that's not quite as bad, I suppose.

    I'm assuming your civet is a reconstruction? I think Hermitage offers natural civet (on my wish list), and my experience with castoreum and even jasmine bases leads me to think that the natural civet would be even more ferocious than the reconstruction.

    Why not just douse everything in jasmine? Blend it into the civet! Of course, I guess you'd have to have the whole house smelling like a 20-story mutant migraine-and-nasuea-inducing jasmuberose flower, but hey.... YOLO, right? smile.gif
    post #9 of 20

    I doesn't sound like you got it everywhere, by your description it was only down the sink and some on the bottle, maybe a bit where you keep it in your cupboard. So I would think this is not as hard as as all that. Follow the many good suggestions above on the bottle and cupboard cleaning, then ziplock baggie it. I keep my raw paste in baggie in a baggie in a† jar in a a baggie, in the refrigerator, without any complaints from even my wife who has an extremely fine nose. The tincture stays in the lab.†

    On the sink again I think any number of cleaning products will get it out, and I would also suggest setting your hot water heater temporarily to a higher temperature and then running the very hot water down the sink for some minutes, as it is a fatty substance and might cling to the sides of the pipes. For your fianc√©'s hands, serve him a large dinner of greasy chicken with no utensils, the civet will dissolve in the fat/be eaten. Then send him to take a long hot bath (since you now have lots of very hot water). This works for car grease and tar too BTW :)† Finally, if you think it has somehow evaporated and clung to your houses textiles, walls etc., this will not be a huge amount and will go away with airing out, but you could also rent an ozone generator like they use in hotels and I imagine that will do the trick, redneck perfumisto's fascinating and educational comments on (non) oxidation of†cycloalkanones and cycloalkenones notwithstanding.

    post #10 of 20

    A lot of people here in the †U.K. use vinegary ketchup type stuff to remove the smell of foxes' droppings on their wayward, rolling†dogs.

    We use a special shampoo.

    post #11 of 20
    This is not meant in any way to offend but I laughed so hard reading this!! I can just imagine how horrid this thing must be stinking up the joint, especially the bit about it being down the sink... *tears streaming*

    Okay, my turn to help- I once had a drum of nasty stinkwater tip over in my car boot. This stuff was putrid, it was pretty much sewer water and it stank out the neighbourhood when it tipped over into my car and trickled down the driveway. The only thing that got rid of it was baking soda and white vinegar. It will froth up something chronic so do be prepared for that and add the vinegar a little at a time until you have yourself a runny sort of paste. Get your manbeast to coat his hands in it and rub, rub, rub. Then rinse it off and repeat if necessary. You can tip it down the sink too.
    I use baking soda and white vinegar to clean out my glass test tubes and funnels and it always works a treat.

    I also find once you open a bottle of something stinky, even if it didn't get outside the bottle, it will tend to stink. You have to isolate it pretty well. Im not sure if plastic baggies will work, I'd suggest a slightly bigger jar and pop the offender inside that.

    As for the smell lingering in the air- that's something that you will probably have to wait out and try and cover with other scents.
    post #12 of 20
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gecko214View Post

    I doesn't sound like you got it everywhere, by your description it was only down the sink and some on the bottle, maybe a bit where you keep it in your cupboard. So I would think this is not as hard as as all that. Follow the many good suggestions above on the bottle and cupboard cleaning, then ziplock baggie it. I keep my raw paste in baggie in a baggie in a† jar in a a baggie, in the refrigerator, without any complaints from even my wife who has an extremely fine nose. The tincture stays in the lab.†

    On the sink again I think any number of cleaning products will get it out, and I would also suggest setting your hot water heater temporarily to a higher temperature and then running the very hot water down the sink for some minutes, as it is a fatty substance and might cling to the sides of the pipes. For your fianc√©'s hands, serve him a large dinner of greasy chicken with no utensils, the civet will dissolve in the fat/be eaten. Then send him to take a long hot bath (since you now have lots of very hot water). This works for car grease and tar too BTW :)† Finally, if you think it has somehow evaporated and clung to your houses textiles, walls etc., this will not be a huge amount and will go away with airing out, but you could also rent an ozone generator like they use in hotels and I imagine that will do the trick, redneck perfumisto's fascinating and educational comments on (non) oxidation of†cycloalkanones and cycloalkenones notwithstanding.

    Those hotel ozone generators are amazing!† I never knew those existed!† Like a lot of things, potentially dangerous (ozone is not to be trifled with), but those are really useful.

    Ozone reacts with a lot of things, but its real virtue is reacting with C=C double bonds, which are otherwise fairly unreactive.† Real civetone has one, as do about half of the macrocyclic musks I'm seeing in compendiums.† Many of the other musks are esters and lactones, which are susceptible to acid and base hydrolysis, as should happen during laundering.† The only things left that would not be reactive might be muscone, cyclopentadecanone, and maybe a couple of other more obscure ones - these are all cycloalkanones.† They will wash out with good soaps.

    Ozone basically ends up reacting with double bonds to form peroxides that are a bit like the ones that ketones pass through then they are cleaved by hydrogen peroxide.† It presumably oxidizes thiols and other sulfur compounds - a huge source of stinkiness.

    Nice to see that chemistry is working out in the real world!!!

    post #13 of 20

    There are some fascinating suggestions here already, but to me the key to understanding what to do in these situations is to think about solubility.

    Civet isn't the only thing you can have a problem like this with, but it is one of the worst, like virtually all perfumery materials though it is oil soluble, so water based solutions are at best sub-optimal.

    I keep a lot of isopropyl alcohol on hand for cleaning glassware and spills: it's useful because it's miscible with water as well as most oil-soluble materials. †That's what I'd use to clean up the bottle (which should then go inside another container). †Plain ethanol is just as good, but isopropyl is cheaper.

    The greasy meal solution is by far the best for cleaning hands. †For a quicker version coat the hands in lots of cooking oil, clean it off with paper towels and repeat at least twice. †Finally wash with lots of hot soapy water.

    The sink is more difficult because you really shouldn't put a lot of oil down the sink (it clogs up sewers), so boiling water with plenty of surfactant (any good drain cleaner) is probably the best.

    As a covering scent, I'd really recommend something floral:†a synthetic like jasmine-cis is better than full-on jasmine, which is going to add indole and other heady materials to it. †If you have a synthetic rose recreation like rose givco, which isn't too expensive, that might be a good idea too.

    Good luck!

    post #14 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Chris BartlettView Post

    ...

    For a quicker version coat the hands in lots of cooking oil, clean it off with paper towels and repeat at least twice. †Finally wash with lots of hot soapy water.

    Forgot all about this one - I've used it to get off some really nasty adhesives.† Worked like a charm!

    post #15 of 20