Adhesive Fume Removal

Nathaniel Miller

Adhesive fumes can cause irreversible lung, brain and kidney damage, according to Will Weissert of the Associated Press. The potent chemicals found in the glue can destroy the nervous system and leave the lungs nearly useless.

Industrial adhesive fumes are the worst, being found in multiple products, including shoes, building products, and carpets. Proper ventilation and removal of these fumes during construction projects and following remodeling is essential to prevent long-term, irreversible damage to critical biological systems. There are several ways to remove adhesive fumes.

Cross Draft

One of the simplest ways to remove adhesive fumes in a room is to simply create a cross draft using windows and doors to draw the fumes out. Open east- and west-facing windows and doors and allow the natural breezes to create a draft and force the fumes outside. If you want to help the draft along, install fans at two separate doorways and set them on high. The draft should be sufficient to pull the fumes out of the room to within a safe level in 24 hours.

Negative Pressure

Opening doors and windows isn't an option if the room is in the middle of a building; however, you can produce negative air pressure within that room using the heating and air conditioning ventilation system. Close the room off and program the air conditioning unit to pull more air through this particular room than others. You also can do this manually by shutting off all of the air intakes in other rooms except for this one. This forces the ventilation system to draw all of its air through the fumigated room, creating a negative pressure inside the room, which forces the fumes outside. This particular technique works well only if you have an open-loop HVAC system, as you do not want to circulate the fumes throughout the rest of the building.


Settling is the process of allowing the tiny particles of adhesive that created the fumes to settle out of the air. This method is the slowest and least efficient, as it may take up to month for all of the particles to settle in a room with no ventilation. Close the room off and do not disturb it until the fumes have dissipated. Once the room has settled, use an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner to clean the floor and remove the particles. The vacuum should be equipped with several HEPA filters, as the fume particles can be quite small. It may take several days of vacuuming to completely rid the room of adhesive fumes.