I started teaching at a school in Indonesia and found some sort of arch-enemy of mine: Naphthalene.

People here use huge quantities at toilets to suppress the smell. Some tried to use it against cockroaches but have figured out it's not really helpful. Meanwhile I made the executives remove the Naphthalene-balls in the toilets but now the question comes up what to do to use against the smell (As you can imagine we have permanent temperatures of 30°C and higher).

Any ideas? Help is highly appreciated.

  • Are they drop toilets (otherwise known as pit toilets) or flushing toilets? Mar 19, 2016 at 14:21
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    Flushing toilets, regular western style, but people tend to use a water-spraying device for the whole room sometimes to clean
    – Qohelet
    Mar 19, 2016 at 15:38
  • The comment about lye was for drop toilets now that I know you have flush toilets I've deleted it. I know is a couple of oils you can drop into the toilet bowl before each use that work OK but I don't think that would work in your setting because each student should have to use it just before he used the toilet. Not only that but it would get pretty expensive at that scale. Mar 19, 2016 at 16:47
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    Incense works quite well for me, also smoke is probably just as bad for you as naphthalene.
    – Ⴖuі
    Mar 21, 2016 at 7:41
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    @Ⴖuі I wouldn't mind - but can you recommend a incense which I can purchase on Java? And as the children are still pretty young how to make sure they won't touch it or get bad ideas?
    – Qohelet
    Mar 22, 2016 at 8:31

1 Answer 1


As I understand the smell is the problem. The naphthelene masks the smell but it too is a problem. So the issue is "How to reduce the smell" One answer is to cover it up. Anotehr answer is to dilute it.

When I worked in a school we had a fly problem at some times of the year. We got a sprayer on a timer. It would put a 1 second mist of fly spray every 10 minutes. A cartridge would last for weeks.

Substitute a masking scent for the fly spray and the same mechanism could work.

Another way to work would be to speed up the airchange speed in the room. Calculate how many hours you could run a 300 cfm fan on the price of one puck. This is solving the problem with dilution.

If you have steady daytime breezes, there are wind powered ventilators you can mount on the roof. This saves power.

  • As said: The problem aren't insects. The issue is we just need something to cover the smell itself. A fan is not really what they need here also...
    – Qohelet
    Mar 23, 2016 at 9:19
  • And the answer wasn't insects. It was the application of the insect technological solution to the problem. I have edited the solution to try ot make this clearer. As to fan: If you bring up the air change to the normal levels of 8-12 changes per hour you won't have much of a smell. Mar 24, 2016 at 2:22

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