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Q: Bathroom trivia ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Bathroom trivia
Category: Science > Chemistry
Asked by: nagmo-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 16 Mar 2005 14:21 PST
Expires: 15 Apr 2005 15:21 PDT
Question ID: 495783
Why does lighting a match after going number 2 make the stink go away?
 I've heard that the match preferentially burns methane, the carrier
of the stink.  Is methane heavier than air?  Should you keep the lit
match near the toilet or move it around the room?
Subject: Re: Bathroom trivia
Answered By: maniac-ga on 16 Mar 2005 17:35 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Nagmo,

Burning methane is certainly one of the possibilities, but the most
likely cause of smell removal is the sulfur effect.

For example:
describes the effect as "camoflage"
Go Ask Alice! at Columbia University indicates it is the sulfur smell
that covers up the other ones. Ventilation and air freshener are other
suggestions for removing that smell.
Frugal Living at also points out the sulfur effect; if you
want it to smell good, use "good smells".
the "Mad Sci" Library message that goes into four basic scientific
explanations. #1 (most likely) is basically a placebo effect and #2 is
the sulfur smell. Combustion or absorbtion are #3 and #4.

Search phrases:
  bathroom match smells
  bathroom match combustion
  bathroom match methane

Do not hesitate to ask for clarification if some part of the answer is
unclear or you need a more extensive response on some part of the

nagmo-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Of course I like to think that the match preferentially burns methane
and the stink, but I like the idea that sulfur dioxide covers the

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