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Q & A: removing mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT)

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Most recent answer: 12/01/2013
Hello, I am allergic to MBT (mercaptobenzothiazole), a rubber accelerator found in shoes. Most shoes seem to contain this chemical. It does not wash out of socks if the socks have been contaminated by the shoe (even by boiling the socks, or using vinegar). Is there a way to decontaminate socks from MBT with simple chemicals at home ? I have found this article via google scholar: How can I do the same at home? Would a mix of: - iron oxide (shall I use iron fillings ?) - oxalic acid (shall I use urine ?) - UVA light (shall I use sunlight ?) work? Thank you very much for your help. Regards, Jalal.
- Jalal (age 41)

According to  MBT is soluble in alkalies and in alcohols. So vinegar wasn't the right thing to try. You might see if plain rubbing alcohol (either ethanol of isopropanol) would work. Or you could try some alkali, such as lye. Or a somewhat alkaline alcohol solution.

If those don't work, then your catalysis plan might. Maybe ordinary rust would provide good enough iron oxides. Oxalic acid is in lots of vegetables, but it's cheapest just to buy a big bag of it. Urine would just be a diluted version of the high oxalate foods. Sunlight is a good source of UV.

Mike W.

(published on 12/01/2013)

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