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In I Am Legend (2007) we see Robert pouring a liquid all over his front stoop after returning home. We also see him pouring what looks like the same liquid on a jacket that he puts on before setting a trap to capture an infected person.

I assumed it was to eliminate his scent so he couldn't be tracked back to his house, but that didn't make sense to me since he only poured it on his stairs and he poured it on his jacket but he had little or no risk while setting the trap.

What was it?

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What it was was most likely vinegar, ammonia, gasoline or something else packing a stench to cover Neville's odor.

This seems logical for the "coming home" part, as it prevents the vampires from pinpointing his location. The confusion here stems from him not being "that much at risk" during the capturing part. True, but consider:

  1. Neville had to get inside the building to set the trap, even if only for a couple seconds (see this clip). That's still enough time for a vampire to have the jump on him if they detected him before that;
  2. Neville is a man of habit. This must be something he does a lot, is part of his routine, and might also give him an impression of security (by knowing he's partially hidden).
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    They weren't vampires though :/ – Bella Swan Oct 1 '19 at 4:55
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    @BellaSwan in the book that's what they're called, so I'll keep using the term – Jenayah Oct 1 '19 at 5:06
  • @Jenayah halfway term would be Undead (book and movie) – Vishwa Oct 1 '19 at 7:36
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Yes, it was to get rid of his scent and the most likely suspect would be bleach. He doesn't want the monsters to know where he lives, however he may very well want them to think he is near the trap. In an attempt to attack Robert, they would act hastily and thus be more likely to spring the trap.

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